The Kia Optima is among the most popular models in its segment in the U.S. as evidenced by its impressive sales. To protect its turf, Kia has refreshed the model for 2019. The new 2019 Kia Optima features new exterior and interior improvements but the automaker has made no changes under the hood. The new model also get new technologies as standard. The automaker’s telematics system, known as UVO has also been enhanced and is offered on all trim levels. The new UVO system is offered in three tiers…more of this in a moment. The mid-size sedan is offered in five grades which are the base LX and S trims, the mid EX and SX and the range-topping SXL trim.
2019 Kia Optima Exterior and Interior
For 2019, the base Optima LX trim now features a matte gray grille and LED DRLs as standard (the units look similar to those on the Kia Stinger). The model rides on 16-inch alloy wheels. The S trim on the other hand features LED taillights, gloss black grille, sport side sills in a glossy black finish, and projection beam fog lamps. The model rides on 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the S trim features a smart key, push-button start, power front windows and a smart trunk.
Things even get better with the EX trim which now comes with leather seats including heating on front seats. The model rides on new 17-inch wheels. The EX also features Smart Cruise Control system which offers Stop-and-Go functionality. Heating on the steering wheel and new ambient lighting are standard.
The SX and SXL models ride on 18-inch wheels; they also feature ambient interior lighting, a sports steering wheel, LED fog lights as well as Smart Cruise control system as standard. The SX also offers 2-tone (red and black) sport leather seats (this styling is European-inspired). Other features include Harman Kardon audio system, heated steering wheel, gloss black side moldings and door pillars, a sports bumper and LED fog lamps. To set it apart as the most exclusive, the SXL trim features a 2-tone (bronze and black) interior styling with Nappa leather upholstery.
Back on the UVO system; the UVO equipment is offered in three tiers. The first tier is known as the UVO Play. The tier which is offered on the base LX trim feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which enables users to control the vehicle’s smartphone-mirroring software using voice control. The second tier which is known as UVO Link is offered on the S and EX trims. This tier adds various features including vehicle diagnostics as well as maintenance alerts. Also, it supports remote starting of the car, activating the lights and horn as well as locking and unlocking doors. The top tier is known as “UVO Link with Navigation”; as the name implies it adds a built-in navigation system. This tier is only standard on SXL and SX trims and optional on the EX trim with Premium Package.
Ford has made several safety features that were previously optional standard for the 2019 model year; they include forward collision avoidance system that automatically applies brakes in case of an imminent collision. The system works together with the forward collision warning, a system that sends out alerts if it senses an imminent collision. A driver attention warning system is also standard, the system monitors the behavior of the driver and if it senses that the driver is not attentive it gives out alerts using audible and visual cues. The model also features lane departure warning, a system that works together with lane keep assist to alert the driver when the car veers of its lane and also automatically steers the car back to its lane.
Engine and performance
The lineup of Kia Optima engines remains unchanged for 2019; the base LX and S trims are still motivated by a 2.4 L, inline-4 that’s good for 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. Going up, the EX uses a turbocharged 1.6 L, inline-4 good for 178 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The SX, as well as the SXL on the other hand, retain the turbocharged 2.0 L, inline-4 that’s good for 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of toque. The base 2.4-liter mill is paired to a 6-speed automatic gearbox while the turbocharged mills feature a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission system.
Price and release date
Production of the 2019 Kia Optima starts this June and sales will likely commence in September. Considering the 2019 Kia Optima does not feature many changes, prices will not stray much from the current model’s range. The current model has a base price of $23,495 for the LX trim and $31,495 for the range-topping SXL.