New 2018 Kia Optima facelift: UK prices and specs revealed

Kia's Volkswagen Passat rival gets a new look, new tech and a new diesel engine, and it's on sale now

Kia’s refreshed Optima is now on sale in Britain, and full prices and specifications for its Ford Mondeo rival have been revealed. 

Prices kick off at £22,260 for the new car, which is the ‘2’ grade saloon equipped with a new 1.6-litre diesel four-cylinder powertrain and a six-speed manual gearbox. The new 1.6-litre is the only engine available right now if you count the Optima Sportswagon GT as a separate entity. It develops 132bhp and replaces the older 1.7-litre unit. 

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Regular Sportswagon cars are on sale too, with the estate bodied Optima priced from £23,100.

The Optima saloon is offered in either ‘2’ or ‘3’ grade. Basic cars are equipped with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, plus a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, a leather multifunction steering wheel, cruise control and power folding mirrors. Style wise it rides on 17-inch alloy wheels and also gets LED daytime running lights, but gets a black cloth interior rather than any leather. Standard assistance and safety features include hill start assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Step up to ‘3’ grade and the infotainment system increases in size to eight-inches. The driver gets an eight-way power adjustable heated seat, and the steering wheel has a heating control too. The instrument panel is upgraded with a 4.3-inch driver information display, and the seats are trimmed partially in leather around the cabin. 18-inch wheels are equipped, and the number of standard driver assistance features are expanded to include a driver attention warning system and lane keep assist. These cars begin from £24,260.

The GT-Line S trim exclusive to the Sportswagon steps up with sportier styling, LED headlights and a full leather interior with ventilated front seats. Standard tech includes that found on the ‘3’ model, but is enhanced with the addition of a 360-degree top down style camera system, parking assist, blind spot warning indicators and rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam and forward collision warning and assistance. It’s priced from £31,400 with a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox standard.

The Optima Sportswagon GT is the flagship model and gets an exclusive engine – a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol developing 238bhp. It’s capable of 0-60mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 144mph, and is priced from £33,350. 30.7mpg is claimed with CO2 emissions of 211g/km.

The car’s front bumper has been modified with larger side air intakes and new horizontal fog lamps, while the trademark ‘tiger-nose’ grille now features a new bright chrome finish. A slight rethink with the headlights, introducing a new lighting signature, rounds off the refreshed face, while the taillights are new LED units, too. A new paint colour – Runaway Red – has been added to the Optima’s palette, and new alloy wheel designs are available in 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes. 

GT Line cars and the Optima GT receive similar tweaks and also get new LED fog lamps, plus 18-inch alloy wheels, gloss black mirror caps, side sills and grilles, plus new dual twin exhaust exits. 

In the cabin, the most obvious additions are a new steering wheel and satin chrome trim on the centre console. The dashboard itself is surrounded by new ambient lighting, which flows down into the doors and can be customised with six different colours. Brown cloth or leather upholstery is now available on standard cars, with GT models gaining the option of two-tone black and red leather, or black leather with red contrast stitching. 

Kia’s latest CRDi diesel engine – coded U3 – finds its way under the bonnet, and replaces the old 1.7-litre unit. It’s slightly smaller at 1.6-litres in size, and produces 134bhp and 320Nm of torque. Kia claims it’s cleaner than before with reduced emissions ranging from 117g/km CO2 to 122g/km depending on specification. Kia claims 62.8mpg for saloon models and 61.4mpg for the Sportswagon estate.

The 1.6-litre diesel isn’t alone as the only newcomer powering the updated Optima, however. A new petrol engine arrives too – Kia’s 178bhp turbocharged 1.6-litre T-GDi arrives, mated to a seven-speed double-clutch transmission. However, confirmation of this engine’s availability in the UK has not yet arrived.

A Drive Mode Selector switch allows the driver to flick between Eco, Comfort, Sport and Smart modes – Smart automatically switching to and from the other three depending on how the car is driven. The new interior ambient lighting changes colour depending on the mode toggled. 

On the technology front, the addition of a Driver Attention Warning system monitors the driver for drowsiness, and sounds a warning chime and displays a warning graphic if it detects slipping concentration levels. It joins other safety available features such as a forward collision warning system with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and automatic high beam assist.

In the cabin, a seven or eight inch infotainment screen is available, and the optional Around View Monitor 360-degree top down camera system linked up to them has been altered in a bid to make the picture clearer.

Relive all the news from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show…

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