Kia New Zealand launched the all-new Optima in Auckland this week to the motoring media just as the sedan went on sale to the public nationwide.
The new car, packed with features ranging from safety to entertainment is a welcome addition to the medium sedan segment.
Its $45,790 entry price puts it up against cars such as the Toyota Camry, Mazda6, and Ford Mondeo in a segment where versatility counts.
Kia NZ hopes to sell around 250 units a year, with an even split between fleet and private buyers — a big hope of Kia NZ managing director, Todd McDonald.
“We need to increase brand awareness to make the car successful,” said McDonald.
“It’s a compelling offer with its value for money and we have the ability to actually grow [with Optima]”.
The Optima platform also comes in the form of the recently unveiled Sportwagon, but whether or not that will make it to New Zealand shores will likely be reliant on whether Kia Australia opts in to the model.
“The wagon will likely be reliant on whether Kia Australia take is up and whether there is market demand for it here,” said McDonald.
“[Sportwagon is] a more premium product in line with the Skoda Octavia wagon.”
We’ll have to wait and see how we fare on the wagon front, but when it comes to the sedan, Kia NZ have brought us a brilliant product.
Visually both cars are almost identical, the only major external differences between the $45,790 EX and the $48,990 Limited being the optional sunroof on the Limited.
Both come with 18 inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, HID headlights, and lane departure warning; while autonomous emergency brakes, satellite navigation, and a smart key are shared with just a handful of direct competitors within the medium sedan segment.
Internally is where the differences between the two become more clear. While the EX is no barren wasteland in terms of technology, the Limited steps things up with a bigger eight inch touchscreen and 10 speaker Harmon/Kardon entertainment system over the EX’s factory fitted 6 speaker system with seven inch screen.
Though Kia hopes the EX model will be a hit with fleet buyers due to a Euro Ncap five star safety rating and 8.3 L/100km combined fuel economy rating, it also ships with a wide range of standard features compared to the rest of the medium sedan segment.
The Limited is more family oriented, with fully electric leather seats, equipped with heating and cooling functions.
Kia has retained the same 138kw Theta 2.4-litre engine across both models. When asked why the 2.0-litre turbo engine was not an option, McDonald said it was a matter of ease of ownership, with the 2-litre requiring a much higher level of servicing than the 2.4-litre.
Both models received a Euro Ncap 5 Star safety rating, with local ANCAP testing yet to take place.