wheels Car of the Year 2016: Best Saloon - Kia Optima GT

It’s loaded with kit, rides better than almost anything in its class and the refinement is almost on a par with the Teuton trio
By Dejan Jovanovic, Features Writer
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November 07, 2016
Source: Malek Fayoumi

There is an (unpopular, as yet) opinion within wheels’ ranks that the saloon as a category of car is becoming endangered. Depending on which experts you ask, the cynicism varies but it’s cynicism all the same — some say the advent of the crossover and SUV have halved the saloon’s stature over the years, but of course this decline goes back even further than the RAV4 or some such thing, back to the Seventies’ oil crisis when small cars started making more and more sense.

Overpopulation and crowded emerging markets with rubbish roads are, to boot, like giant red carpets laid out especially for the crossovers of the world. And still we have three rather nice saloons here today, near Al Qudra lake. The first order of amazement? The rear room in our Best Saloon, the Optima — all we can wonder about is, if the Kia has as much space in the back as the Best Luxury Saloon, the BMW 7 Series, then what in the world did the Koreans compromise on? You can’t get something for nothing, especially this much something…

A huge cachet like that, instead of merely impressing you, makes you wonder about the drawback, but couldn’t find much wrong with the Optima. Particularly when you consider this top-spec model is Dh99,900, which is where the Kia’s Japanese competition only starts kicking things off. It’s loaded with kit, rides better than almost anything in its class and the refinement is almost on a par with the Teuton trio. Importantly, Kia hasn’t skimped on safety features with our tester packing seven airbags — hugely impressive for the price.

Specs

Model:Optima GT

Engine:2.4-litre four-cyl

Transmission:Six-speed auto, FWD

Max power:180bhp @ 6,000rpm

Max torque:231Nm @ 4,000rpm

Top speed:NA

0-100kph:NA

Length:4,855mm

Width:1,860mm

Height:1,465mm

Wheelbase:2,805mm

Weight:1,525kg