The Kia Optima facelift is now available in Europe, and in UK, where Kia is targeting company car buyers, the D-segment sedan is available with a sole engine choice of a 1.7 litre U2 diesel. The ‘Game Changer’ was launched here in January with a 165 PS/198 Nm 2.0 litre CVVL Nu petrol engine.
The U2 diesel, engineered at Kia’s European R&D centre in Germany, features high-pressure commonrail fuel injection for maximum efficiency, and a variable geometry turbocharger to enhance low-speed driveability while ensuring strong top-end power. It makes 134 bhp and 325 Nm from 2,000 to 2,500 rpm.
That’s similar to 2.0 litre units in European and Japanese rivals, but from a smaller capacity, Kia says. 0-96 km/h (60 mph) acceleration takes 10.2 seconds in the six-speed manual and 11.5 seconds with the six-speed automatic. The manual can achieve a claimed 20.2 km/l, or 16.7 km/l for the auto.
New to the facelift with automatic transmission is Drive Mode Select. This offers three programmes – Normal, Eco and Sport – which alter the shift timing, accelerator mapping and steering weighting.
It also features Neutral Control, which shifts the transmission from ‘D’ to ‘N’ when the car has been stopped for a few seconds, reducing fuel consumption. The manual gets Kia’s Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) system.
An economical, torque-rich small capacity diesel engine in an Optima; now that would be a real game changer, but alas, our low fuel quality doesn’t permit such a move.