I was provided with a Kia Optima SXL to test drive to facilitate this review. The opinions in this post are 100% mine. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
My current car is a family-size SUV which I really do love. But I have to admit that I sometimes miss the days of having something more stylish to cruise around in. Recently I took a trip to an out-of-state conference and had the opportunity to test out the Kia Optima SXL for a few days while I was away. I totally fell in love with this car! Is it a great family car? Well, it’s not a bad family car. It’s definitely roomy enough for all 4 of us and had features that we’d all love. But it has more of a feel of a young professional that is really into their car. I’m thinking this is the life-after-car-seats car for me!
The Kia Optima SXL is a sweet ride!
Let me tell you some of the features that stood out to me.
Vroom, vroom! That’s some serious pick up! When I got the car I was immediately given the heads up to watch my speed. I was traveling in Georgia where apparently there’s no shortage of cops with radar and the Optima is such a smooth ride with such fast pick up, you can be going 70 in a flash and not realize it. Fortunately that was the speed limit where I was but I am pretty careful about not doing more than 5mph over the limit so I paid close attention to how fast I was going. They were right! This car is totally smooth sailing. I didn’t feel like I was flying down the highway when I was keeping up with traffic. It’s a very quiet ride and it’s got a turbo engine which means it can accelerate FAST! I love that, actually. When I want to pass someone I don’t like to dilly dally. And if you’re concerned about not realizing how fast you’re going because of that smooth ride, use the cruise control to maintain a steady pace.
Open that sunroof and let your hair go wild! Now this feature is just flat out FUN! The Kia Optima SXL has two sunroofs in the ceiling. They both have a cover that slides open with the push of a button. Push that button once more and the roof closest to the front seats opens to the outside. I love that you don’t have to hold the button down but can just tap it to operate the open/close functions and driving down the highway with some cool tunes playing and your hair blowing all over the place takes me back to about 1995. Showing my age here a bit, but those were the good ‘ole days and it’s just a seriously good time to have a sunroof in a car this cool!
Sirius Satellite Radio: Because I’m a 90’s Girl. The car that I drive now doesn’t have Satellite Radio and I’m constantly flipping channels to find something I can tolerate. (What is with the music these days?) The Optima SXL comes with Sirius and I love it. Yes, I was still doing some flipping around. There are tons of channels to choose from, literally something for everyone. But I found my favorite Pop and 90s stations (flashing my age again) and knew right where the reliable music was for my ride. I didn’t have to worry about ‘that new music the kids listen to these days’ suddenly blaring through the speakers. Alright, I’m not actually *that* old and love a lot of new music but you know what I mean. It’s awesome to be able to just turn it on and roll and not have to flip stations the whole time you’re in the car. And if you carry your own tunes on your phone or MP3 player, plug it into the ports in the dash and listen to your own music through the car speakers. Incidentally, these ports also serve as a charger for your device which kept my phone from dying. Bonus!
Bluetooth Keeps You Hands Free & Connected. The Bluetooth connectivity was near the top of my list of favorite features on this car. I was traveling away from my family so I called home…A LOT. Hey, I missed those guys! And I hate fumbling with a phone when I’m driving, even if I have it on speakerphone so I don’t have to hold it to my ear. It really is distracting and I avoid it when I can. But when you hook up your phone to the Kia, all those problems go out the window (or maybe the sunroof!). Answer and make calls at the touch of a button. There’s a speaker in the ceiling right above the driver’s seat that you talk toward so there’s no need to have your phone in your hand at all. This made it so easy to catch up with my husband and the kids while I was away while I stayed safe with both hands on the wheel.
Everything about this car is cool. Even the seats. When I tested out the Kia Sorento over the holidays I was in love (like, deeply in love) with the heated seats. Now that it’s hotter than you-know-what around here, I’m not really into heated seats at the moment, but guess what? Kia is waaaay ahead of us and actually has COOLED seats! With the push of a button your seat will actually cool down! This feels a bit like you’re wearing wet clothes but that’s kind of a mental thing and once you get over it and remind yourself that you’re not actually wet, it feels awesome. I can tell you, it was HOT in Georgia in July and the cooled seats were amazing. They cool quickly, so while you’re waiting for the AC to start pumping out some cold air you’re already feeling the relief. Another really cool, innovative feature that I fell in love with!
Features, features, and More Features. I could probably write until no one wanted to read anymore about the features of the Kia Optima SXL. Really, this is one awesome car and I’m not one of those people that’s what you’d call a ‘car person.’ But I know a fun ride when I see one, and I know one that has features that make it more comfortable, safe, and enjoyable to drive. The highlights above are some of the biggest stand-outs to me. There are others worth noting, too:
- Wheel Bling: The chrome wheels also come with red brake calipers that really stand out! I wouldn’t know a brake caliper if it landed in my lap, but these wheels are stylin’! Talk about a sporty looking car. I love them!
- Keyless Entry: All of the Kias that I’ve tested include this feature and I absolutely love it. The car starts with the push of a button. There’s no key to insert. You have a smart key, which is just like a key fob and as long as that’s in close proximity to the car you can start it. If it’s not, no go. The Optima SXL also has a button on the door handle that you can push to lock and unlock the car. So say you’re coming out of Target with a load of groceries and you don’t want to dig around in your purse to find your keys, you don’t have to! As long as they’re on you, you can just touch that button on the handle and the car will unlock.
- Light Me Up: There’s an Auto setting on the headlights that makes sure you have your lights on when it starts to get dark. I really like that because although I think I’m good at remembering to get my lights on when I need them, how many times do you scream at your windshield, “Turn your lights on, buddy!” Oh stop. I know that’s not just me. There are also really cool LED lights that run along the front and rear lights for added visibility and a cool look.
- Plenty of Storage: This car is a great size, big enough for a family to use and the trunk has adequate space for a load of groceries, or my suitcase and carry on, as it were. It’s a mid-size car so not too big that you can’t get a feel for whether or not you’re on the road, and not so small you feel like an ant driving down the highway. You can also fold the back seats down and create even more space for trunk storage.
- Don’t Run Out of Gas: There’s a display on the dash that tells you how many miles you have left until your next fill-up. That’s great for planning ahead and not getting stranded if you’re one of those people who likes to guess how many miles you have left before you’re truly empty. We’ve all done it, haven’t we?
The Kia Optima starts at $21,350 and the model I tested was the SX Limited model, fully loaded and in the price range of $34,500. You can design your own Optima to get an idea what your dream car would love like! I really did love this car and was more than a little sad to give it back.
One day, Optima. You, me, and the open road baby!