Kia Optima diesel

 

 

By Tim Saunders

 

Britain will only emerge from the grips of the double dip recession if businesses succeed. And these firms will only survive and conquer by making wise decisions.

You can guarantee balance sheets are being scrutinised like never before and businesses with company cars will be looking for the very best deals.

Enter the Kia Optima saloon. Designed especially for these challenging economic times there is just one engine, a 1.7-litre 134bhp diesel available.

“This is a car aimed at company car drivers sick of Ford and Vauxhalls,” says Parkers, the car experts. “It’s not unreasonable to expect that they might choose to defect to the Optima because it looks nice.”

The striking purposeful design has hints of the Jaguar XF about it if in no part due to the angled front end and air vents on the side of the front wings. It certainly makes heads regularly turn.

Once behind the wheel there’s a good driving position and it’s enjoyable to drive. The six-speed box is precise and the engine is particularly responsive in second and third gears with only a slight power delay.

Business users are sure to rely on the cruise control function and this is one of the better ones I have used because it can be engaged even in second gear at speeds as low as 20mph making it useful for town driving and obeying speed cameras.

One minor qualm is that the handbrake is a little near the gearbox, so much so that I caught my finger when changing gear but this only happened once. Another issue is the rear window, which is angled in such a way that the rain sits on it. This can be partly removed by engaging the heated screen but I can’t help feeling that a wiper would be a welcome addition.

Equipment levels include all round electric windows and air conditioning.

In all the Optima, which returns up to 60mpg or easily 600 miles on a tank thanks to auto stop start and a six speed box, makes a very sensible business case.

 

Kia Optima Eco Dynamics

 

New price range: £19,595 - £25,830

 

Engine: 1.7-litre diesel

Top speed: 121mph

0-60mph: 9.2secs

Power: 134bhp

Economy: around 60mpg

Road tax: £0

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