Kia Optima: Wedding trip goes as planned

  • Kia faultless during 700-mile round-trip
  • Optima's ride quality prompts snore-fest
  • 650-mile range thank to 47mpg fuel economy

Until the weekend I hadn't taken the Optima on a long trip yet, so when Parkers road test editor Simon McBride announced that he was getting married in Northern Ireland it seemed the perfect opportunity to give this hardy four-door a decent long-distance run.

McBride was due to get married at a small village church in Enniskillen. That would require a trip across the Irish Sea, regardless of the chosen route, in a Stena Line ferry.

After a quick assessment of the Stena timetable we chose to drive up from London on Friday, catch the overnight ferry from Birkenhead near Liverpool, arrive early in the morning in Belfast and then make a two-hour drive to Enniskillen where the wedding was taking place.

The ferry crossing was an eight-hour journey, which meant an overnight sleep in a four-berth cabin. Three of us travelled including Parkers Consumer Journalist Lewis Kingston who had been recruited as chauffeur for the bride prior to the wedding ceremony.

The wedding went without hitch: the only breakdowns concerned the wedding car – a 1930s Skoda that refused to run properly. Considerable mechanical knowledge was applied in order to rectify the problem but the yellow 422 wasn't keen on cooperating.

After another breakdown an Audi A6 was drafted in as back-up to ferry the bride to the church. Eventually the old Skoda did manage to last the distance from the church to the reception, which meant the happy couple could at least experience 1930s travel briefly.

The Optima was faultless however. Our return journey consisted of a 100-mile jaunt to Dublin where we picked up the Stena ferry for a two-hour passage to Holyhead. Then it was a long, laborious 270-mile drive back to London.

A total of around 700 miles were covered and the Kia’s comfortable cruising abilities were never more strongly demonstrated on the return journey home when tired occupants were regularly caught snoring. The ride quality then, it’s fair to say, is so good that it can send you to sleep.

Special mention must also go to the quality of the Stena Line service. On the eight-hour crossing the cabin proved comfortable and clean and on the return journey the lunchtime food offering was of good quality and value. The Stena Line staff were extremely efficient and reassuringly polite.

So it was a fine wedding weekend. Most importantly the new Mr and Mrs McBride had a great day and for us the Kia Optima proved the perfect mode of transport for what was a marathon trip.

In terms of fuel consumption the Kia almost managed the whole trip on one full tank. The only fill-up took place at the Toddington services on the M1 on the way there and that meant the 650-mile range predicted by the on-board computer was pretty much bang-on.

That meant that the average fuel economy was around 47mpg, which wasn't bad at all. It was also one of the best economy results for the Kia so far in this long-term test.

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The bright yellow Skoda 422 eventually got going. Not bad for an old timer

Current mileage: 15,580 miles

Average mpg: 47.3mpg