PAS S ING LANE I CHARL E S DONALDSON 2016 KIA OPTIMA Super Bowl Proud! There were a lot of quality players showing what they were made of on the field at this year’s Super Bowl and just as many in the TV commercials that aired in between the passes and catches. Not to be out-done by the competition, Kia paid the big bucks to showcase its new 2016 Optima sedan. We were sitting at my parents’ house wondering if the Panthers had it in them to make a comeback when the Optima commercial flashed on the screen. I pointed out that was the vehicle I was test driving when my seven-year-old son confirmed my comment; however, adding that it was a different color. He is as observant as Payton was looking for an open wide receiver. The 2016 Kia Optima has become a serious contender in the mid-size sedan market. Once dominated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, Kia has found success in the Optima which is now becoming the benchmark for style and value. It is truly one of the better looking sedans on the market and packed with upgraded features found on more expensive vehicles. For 2016, Kia has redesigned the Optima in a way that refines the model. From the outside you might not notice some of the exterior, subtle changes. The 2016 Optima is somewhat longer, taller and wider than the 2015 version, which in turn manifests a more comfortable and roomier cabin with surprisingly larger trunk space. The front and rear styling is softened and better detailed, 24 A L I V E E A S T B A Y a p r i l 2 0 1 6 displaying the maturity of its design. Kia incorporates key experiences of the Optima’s up-scaled siblings and delivers a more spacious interior, a quieter engine, reduced road noise, enhanced ride quality and refined interior trim features. The Optima is available in five trim levels: LX, LX Turbo, EX, SX Turbo, and SXL. There are three engine options which include a 2.4- liter four-cylinder (24 mpg city/35 hwy), 2.0-liter turbocharged (22 mpg city/32 hwy), and the new 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (28 mpg city/39 hwy). The 2.4 GDI engine produces 185 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The 2.0-liter turbo generates 247 horses also at 6,000 rpm. The 1.6-lier turbo available on the LX trim delivers 178 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that operates like an automatic. The Hybrid version will be reintroduced in 2017. Besides liberating the mid-size category with its beautiful couplike curves, the 2016 Optima continues its value benefit with a starting sticker price of only $21,990 (LX 2.4L). The LX 1.6L sells for $23,990, EX 2.4L $24,990, SX 2.0T $29,790, and the SXL 2.0T $35,890. All trim variations include: alloy wheels, rear camera system, sixway power seat, remote keyless entry, satellite radio compatibility, air conditioning, cruise control and you can order ventilated front seats and heated rear seats across the trim levels.
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