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Home » Green Car News » Kia Green Cars

Diesel only KIA Optima. 57.6 mpg and 128g/km CO2

10 January 2012

kia optima diesel

The Kia Optima, the all-new flagship saloon that is the latest model to be launched in Kia’s design-led product offensive, goes on sale in the UK from 1 February bringing fantastic design, high levels of standard specification and low running costs to the D-segment, from just £19,595 on-the-road.
    Unveiled back in 2010 at the New York Auto Show, Optima has proven to be a global success since day one.  It became Korea’s top-selling car within a month of going on sale – the first Kia ever to reach that exalted position – and is in such demand in the United States that Kia has had to build in Georgia just to keep pace.  Nearly 300,000 Optimas have been sold across the world to date and it is already accumulating international design awards.

The Optima’s looks alone ­will ensure it enjoys UK sales success previously unheard-of for a large Kia saloon.  Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer, likens the car’s clean, stylish and uncomplicated cut to that of a fine Italian suit. 

But the Optima has also been configured to appeal to the business community who make up the vast majority of D-segment customers in the UK.  It will be sold only with a diesel engine – a new 134bhp version of Kia’s smooth and efficient 1.7-litre CRDi ‘U2’ power unit – while all four specification options contain every essential for the business user.

The arrival of the Optima means that for the first time Kia has a seriously competitive car in all the key sectors for the UK’s fleet and leasing industry – Picanto, Rio, cee’d and now Optima. Three of those cars are all-new models introduced within the last eight months.

Even before the arrival of the Optima, Kia’s corporate sales were going through the roof – up by 145% between 2010 and 2011, for a market share which improved from 1.58% to 2.42%. With the introduction of the Optima, further progress is confidently expected. 

The Optima offers features never previously attainable on a Kia, including a high-end Infinity audio system.  It delivers 550W of high-fidelity sound through 12 speakers in eight different locations throughout the car, including a boot-mounted subwoofer.  Self-parking, heated and cool-ventilated seats, cornering lights, panoramic sunroof, reverse parking camera and an automatic cabin defogging system are also available, as is a six-speed automatic transmission that is among the most advanced currently produced by any car manufacturer.

In the UK, the Kia Optima has been configured to appeal to the business community who make up the vast majority of buyers of D-segment cars.  It goes on sale with just one engine – a new 134bhp version of Kia’s acclaimed 1.7-litre U2 turbodiesel – and a choice on the mid and top spec models of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.

All manual versions feature Kia’s EcoDynamics fuel-saving, CO2-reducing measures, including Intelligent Stop & Go and aerodynamic drag-reducing measures, while automatics have an Active ECO button which alters the operation of the engine’s electronic control unit and the compressor on the climate control system, bringing potential fuel savings of around 9%.

The U2 diesel, engineered at Kia’s European research and development centre in Germany, was first introduced on the Kia Sportage, but has been uprated for use in the Optima.  It features high-pressure common-rail fuel injection for maximum efficiency and a variable geometry turbocharger to enhance low-speed driveability while ensuring strong top-end power for the high motorway speeds common in Europe.  It develops its maximum power at 4,000rpm, but of greater significance is the peak torque of 325Nm (239lb ft) from 2,000-2,500rpm.

The U2 engine in the Optima develops similar power and torque to the 2.0-litre units in European and Japanese rivals, but from a smaller capacity.  Acceleration from 0-60mph takes 10.2 seconds in manual versions and 11.5 seconds with automatic transmission, while the respective top speeds are 125mph and 122mph.

The manual can achieve 57.6 miles per gallon, with CO2 emissions of 128g/km, while the figures for the automatic are 47.1mpg and 158g/km.  Both attract vastly lower company car taxation rates than any previous Kia D-segment model.  In fact, the new car with automatic transmission matches the CO2 emissions of the previous manual version.

With automatic transmission, Kia joins an elite group of just three automotive manufacturers to have designed, developed and built its own six-speed automatic gearbox.  It features innovative Neutral Control, which shifts the transmission from ‘D’ to ‘N’ when the car has been stopped for a few seconds, reducing the load on the engine and, therefore, fuel consumption.

A gate-type shift pattern offers the driver a choice of two operating modes – fully automatic for town use, or drive for a more involving driving style.  In drive, the driver can perform clutch-less sequential manual changes – up or down – via steering column-mounted paddles.

The Optima’s ride and handling have been optimised to provide the perfect combination of stability and agility with refinement and comfort on the long motorway drives that are a fact of life for many business drivers.  Kia’s motor-driven power steering (MDPS), which delivers assistance only when needed to reduce the load on the engine and save fuel, offers just the right degree of help and weighting in all circumstances.

Extensive noise-reduction measures ensure minimal transmission of engine and road sound, while the  low co-efficient of drag – down to 0.29 from the 0.32 of Kia’s previous D-segment saloon – not only helps fuel economy but also minimises wind turbulence.       

Specification and range

The Optima is available with an extensive list of features.  Sold in the UK with Kia’s familiar 1, 2 and 3 trim grades, but the mid-range 2 versions offer buyers the options of ‘Luxe’ or ‘Tech’ variants.  Standard features include alloy wheels, air conditioning, LED daytime running lamps, leather steering wheel, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, all-round electric windows and electric folding mirrors as well as cruise control and a speed limiter.

Move up to the mid-grade 2 specifications and you can expect to have solar glass with auto defogging, automatically activated wipers, an eight-way adjustable powered driver’s seat with memory setting, heated front seats, dual zone auto air conditioning in place of air conditioning, reverse parking camera, iPod connectivity and a premium Supervision instrument cluster and paddle shifts on automatic models.

The Optima ‘2 Luxe’ version has grey leather seats with a grey cloth trim, panoramic sunroof with electric blinds, 18-inch alloy wheels, black front calipers, black and chrome radiator grille surround, sculptured side sill mouldings and front and rear valances and a reversing camera in the rear-view mirror. 

The Optima ‘2 Tech’ is equipped with black leather and cloth upholstery, a 12-speaker premium Infinity audio system – including a centre speaker, an external 11-channel amplifier and an eight inch subwoofer – 17-inch alloy wheels and a 7-inch touch-screen satellite navigation system with European mapping and an integrated reversing camera.

Optima 3 is a combination of the mid-grade 2 models with additional features.  It includes a panoramic sunroof, auto light control, Infinity audio system and touch-screen satellite navigation with integrated reversing camera.  Xenon headlamps with automatic levelling, full black leather upholstery, a cool-ventilated driver’s front seat, heated rear seats and an automatic parallel parking assist system are unique to the 3.  Smart key with start/stop ignition button, stainless steel door scuff plates with front illumination, mood lighting and alloy pedals complete the top-of-the-range version’s high specification count.

As with all Kias, the Optima comes with Kia’s unique seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, subject to conditions covering wear and tear items.  The warranty is fully transferable to subsequent owners.

Care-3, Kia’s servicing package for retail customers, is available for Optima and offers a fixed cost and inflation proof servicing for three or five years. All work will be carried out by trained product technicians, using genuine Kia replacement parts and specified oils.

The Care-3 package is just £299 including VAT, which covers the first three services - either 36 months or 30,000 miles, or the Care-3 Plus package is £549 including VAT which covers the first five services - either 60 months or 50,000 miles. 

The UK model line-up and pricing

Version Power (bhp) Torque (Nm) 0-60
Optima ‘1’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ auto 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 11.5 122 47.1
Optima ‘2 Tech’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘2 Tech’ auto 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 11.5 122 47.1
Optima ‘3’ 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 10.2 125 57.6
Optima ‘3’ auto 134 @ 4,000 rpm 325 @ 2-2,500 rpm 11.5 122 47.1


Version CO2
Optima ‘1’ 128 18% 16 £19,595
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ 128 18% 17 £21,695
Optima ‘2 Luxe’ auto 158 24% 17 £23,195
Optima ‘2 Tech’ 128 18% 17 £21,695
Optima ‘2 Tech’ auto 158 24% 17 £23,195
Optima ‘3’ 128 18% 17 £24,495
Optima ‘3’ auto 158 24% 17 £25,995

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