Kia Optima: The wheel deal

  • Steering wheel alignment warning amuses
  • Owner's manual covers all the bases
  • The Kia Optima continues to impress

I’m not afraid of the Nanny State and I don’t get uppity when it comes to visit.

People mock the Nanny State because they think they can look after themselves but the reality is most people, like me, are fundamentally stupid.

That’s why I like the Kia Optima. It tells you when you are about to run out of fuel, when your tyre pressures are low, when you are going too fast and myriad other things that stop you from being a total idiot.

Still, I always laugh when I switch on the engine and am confronted by the Optima's 'Align Steering Wheel' warning. What this is telling me is that the steering wheel is at a funny angle and that if I don’t sort that out pretty sharpish an insurance claim is in the offing.

What’s interesting about this is that the warning sign indicator is in the straight-ahead view and the steering wheel, let’s face it, is right in front of me. With that in mind one might reasonably assume that I’d notice the steering wheel’s poor alignment before noticing the warning sign.

This amuses me a lot. Not because it’s there or that it is unnecessary, it’s that somebody actually thought about this. They thought it would be a good idea because they reasoned that, in the worst-case scenario, some pleb would simply ignore the fact that the steering wheel is wonky, start up the car, plant their foot on the accelerator and drive into a wall.

I’m not being pernickety, I just like this. It’s like a reading a nice Gary Larson cartoon while you are having your Corn Flakes in the morning. It’s harmless and it makes you smirk… just a little.

In a bid to find out exactly what the point of the 'Align Steering Wheel' warning is I scoured the Optima’s handbook. On page 73 of the book no explanation is given but it does tell you what course of action you should take if you find yourself in this situation: it even covers both bases if the wheel is too far right or too far left.

I find it endearing that only the words ‘left’ and ‘right’ have been changed for each perfectly punctuated, 50-word instruction just in case you didn’t know what to do when the wheel was too far right, when previously you consulted the handbook in the event when the wheel was too far left.

Of course, there’s nothing to complain about with the Kia Optima and that’s why I’m choosing these fine little details to focus on. It’s achieving about 47mpg regardless of how I am driving it and it’s winning plenty of fans here at Parkers, particularly when a long journey is being undertaken.

The Optima eats up miles without fuss, it’s comfortable, relatively frugal, spacious, easy to drive and it looks nice too. It really is the perfect company car and as we pointed out in our previous report, it’s more than a match for the Ford Mondeo.

It’s even got a sense of humour.

What do you think of the Kia Optima? Get your opinions published in our Owners' Reviews section here

Current mileage: 12,070 miles

Average mpg: 47.1mpg