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Kia Optima Saloon verdict

2016 - 2019 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 53.5

Written by Richard Kilpatrick Published: 15 September 2022 Updated: 15 September 2022

Kia Optima rear

Should you buy a Kia Optima Saloon?

If you’re looking for value for money, absolutely. This is a big, comfortable car that apart from a relatively small boot has a lot going for it. Not least of which is Kia’s seven-year transferable warranty. The typical diesel engine is reasonably economical and reliable, so there are no unexpected costs lurking and if you can find one the plug-in hybrid is a bit of a bargain for electrified trips to the shops or short runs. There are 2.0-litre GT models out there if you want a petrol model, but they’re immensely rare.

It has few logical downsides, but it’s not likely to stir the emotions or get much of a reaction on the road. If you like to feel your car becomes part of your lifestyle and personality this won’t ignite your enthusiasm.

But with so much car for so little money, and the reassurance of the remainder of that long warranty, that’s plenty of money saved for other experiences. Unlike many cost-saving exercises with cars, this one delivers technology, build quality and comfort that competes with cars twice the price.

What we like

Bargain plug-in hybrid, plenty around with the right mileage and age to have lots of warranty, excellent reputation for quality, traditional comfort as you would expect of a big saloon car, loads of cabin space. A proper relaxed motorway cruiser ideal for long trips.

What we don’t like

The ride can be unsettled at lower speeds, and the 2.0-litre petrol is coarse when working hard. The boot on the plug-in is laughably small for the size of car, as well, limited appeal for Uber or minicab use.

You may have driven past one in the last 24 hours, but can you remember when you last saw a Kia Optima?

The styling is classy, yet anonymous, the shape, rather forgettable. Which is a shame when the car underneath is really quite good. This is a car that epitomises common sense, and that seems very on-trend at the moment. If people choose cars to make a statement about themselves, the Optima is the equivalent of going down the Winchester, having a pint, and waiting for all this to blow over; buy one now and it could last until car manufacturers have got affordable electric cars and the infrastructure to support them – and it won’t cost a fortune in the process.