The Road Ahead : December 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 60 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2014/JAN 2015 MOTORING | USED CAR REVIEW USED CARS NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905). MAZDA6 2011-2014 Deservedly popular. Well finished. Sedan, wagon or hatch bodies. Choice of 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2 turbo-diesel engines. Current shape introduced December 2012. HYUNDAI I45 2011-2013 Spacious Korean sedan. 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre petrol engine, model/ year dependent. Let down on road by uninspiring steering and handling. HONDA ACCORD EURO 2011-2014 As models go, it's getting long in the tooth, but still a quality offering. Sedan and 2.4-litre petrol only. Good dynamics. COMPETITORS IS THIS ONE FOR YOU? The things that made the Optima attractive when new hold true for those considering a pre-loved example. It's easy on the eye, good value, well equipped, five-star ANCAP crash rated, most drivers will find it pleasant to drive, and inside it's spacious enough for a family. Even early-build cars should have the balance of their five-year new car warranty to add peace of mind. Affordability is enhanced, too, as Kia has recently extended the original five-year capped-price service plan to seven years from new. REVIEW JOHN EWING kia optima 2011-2014 IN YEARS PAST, Korean car maker Kia produced models that are probably best forgotten. But their more recent offerings show they are a company that's made rapid progress, with a range deserving of serious buyer attention. The Optima, released in January 2011, is a perfect example of the value and quality the brand now delivers. Initially, this affordably priced mid-size sedan was only available in one specification, the Platinum. A full suite of safety features, including curtain airbags and daytime running lights, was included. Xenon headlamps, reversing camera, leather trim, 18" alloys (five), an Infinity audio system, heated front seats, cooled driver's seat, keyless entry/start, and a sunroof are among the Platinum's accoutrements. Its truck-load of standard equipment puts many higher priced prestige brands to shame. A notable omission until early 2012 was a sat-nav system. In late 2012 two new models, the Si and SLi, were added to the range. With lower prices than the Platinum, equipment levels were also slimmer, but still healthy. Optima's Theta II 2.4-litre direct- injection petrol engine mated to the standard six-speed auto is a capable and smooth performer under most conditions. Thanks to local suspension development and re-tuning, Optima handling is eager and certainly superior to the Hyundai i45 with which it shares underpinnings. The lively steering needs a little more 'feel' and occasionally is corrupted by road shock. Ride is quite firm, though Si models on their smaller standard 17" wheels offer slightly improved ride quality. The boot and cabin are spacious, although rear headroom is compromised by the sweeping roofline. The interior is both stylish and user-friendly in layout and thus a pleasant space to occupy. We didn't unearth any common problems, with most owners seemingly happy with their purchase. Watch for kerb damage to the alloy wheels, especially on Platinums, as their machined-face design is quite vulnerable. The low nose skirt can also suffer gravel-rash from driveways and the like. Look for well serviced examples and a professional pre-purchase inspection is advisable. FUEL FOR THOUGHT The Optima will use between 6.2 litres and 11.2 litres of fuel per 100km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE From $21,700 to $36,400, depending on year and model.
February March 2015