Our overall rating:
The Kia Optima is a compact executive saloon that’s a rival to cars like the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb and VW Passat.
It’s a good-looking car that certainly has plenty going for it, not least its seven-year warranty, smart interior and generous standard specification. However, there are rivals that are better to drive and more refined, and the diesel Optima’s relatively high CO2 emissions also count against it.
There’s only one diesel engine: a 1.7-litre. It has enough low-end pull around town, but it becomes too vocal and coarse when you accelerate hard. Economy and emissions figures are nothing to write home about, either; a Skoda Superb 1.6 TDI Greenline is a much more efficient choice and will be cheaper to run as a company car.
Unlike rival manufacturers, though, Kia also offers the option of a PHEV plug-in hybrid model, which is capable of travelling up to 33 miles on electricity alone and officially emits just 37g/km CO2. That makes it easily the cheapest company car option of the range.
The PHEV is its own trim level, but of the diesels we’d recommend the base 2 trim with a manual gearbox, as it offers the best combination of equipment and value for money. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is optional on 3 trim, and comes as standard on the range-topping 4 version, but this increases the Optima’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Cheaper versions offer good value for money, but a similarly equipped Superb costs about the same and is a much better all-rounder.
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