Road Tested: The Fuel Efficient Kia Optima EX a 2016 Best Pick

DigiDrive says the 2016 Kia Optima EX model is the the best pick for those who want performance, fuel efficiency and must stick to a petrol-powered car.

Kia Optima EX for 2016 - promotional image

LOS ANGELES, December 27, 2015 – For those who are seeking an affordable, powerful and fuel efficient mid-sized sedan, don’t miss road testing the award-winning 2016 Kia Optima EX. We decided to take this turborcharged Optima through its paces from LA’s storied Hollywood Hills to Orange County’s historic downtown Fullerton district. Would this luxurious near luxury ride really get its EPA-estimated 28 combined mpg on our almost 100-mile ride?

First, we raced down LA’s treacherous Hollywood Hills, through historic traffic-laden boulevards and then hopped on scarily-fast-moving freeways to arrive at our Fullerton condo destination. Through it all, the 2.4-liter, four-cylinder direct injection Optima EX engine handled every move with ease and grace.

2016 Optima SXL 2.0 turbo
2016 Kia Optima by Kia Motors USA

What did the electronic fuel monitoring system say when we arrived about 45 miles later? 25.4 mpg. Now, that’s certainly not 28 mpg, but it took less than two gallons to speed our way from LA to OC and in killer Kia style no less. In fact, we have road tested several Optima model versions recently, so we are not surprised Kia’s Optima has garnered some top awards in 2016 including International Car of the Year and Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Award.

The 2016 Optima is available in five trim levels with the EX coming in the middle with the LX and LX 1.6T below and the SX and SXL above. The EX’s claim to fame is a long list of standard “luxury” features along with a racing-tuned engine (185 hp and 178 lb. ft. of torque) to provide for a more powerful sedan.

The 2016 Optima EX starts at an base MSRP of just $24,890 and includes the following standard features:

2.4-liter engine, dual projection headlights with LED positioning lights, LED tail light, power folding heated outside mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome accented outside door handles outside.  Inside find dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, variable intermittent wipers, tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather heated steering wheel with thumb-based controls, satin chrome and wood grain center console and window trims, push-button start, integrated memory plus 12-way power driver and four-way lumbar support leather trimmed seats (10-way power and two-way lumbar for front passenger seat), six-way adjustable back passenger seats, 60/40-split folding adjustable rear seats, six advanced safety air bags.

Keeping your drive safe are anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, electronic brake distribution, hill start assist control and a tire pressure monitoring system.

2016 Optima
2016 Kia Optima Premium Audio by Kia Motors USA

Two upgrades are offered on the EX: the “premium package” and the “premium audio package.”

At $3,700, the “premium package” seems quite steep until you realize the benefits of having Hyundai’s excellent UVO eServices infotainment, which includes “voice command navigation,” SiriusXM traffic, panoramic sunroof, a rear camera display, Android Auto smartphone integration, a 10-way power adjustable front passenger seat with two-way lumbar support, heated and ventilated front seats, blind spot detection, rear parking assist system, rear cross traffic alert and overhead LED front and rear reading lamps.

Create a top-of-the-line EX by adding the $1,200 “premium audio package.” Built for audiophiles, this 630-Watt Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic premium surround sound system includes no less than 10 speakers as well as heated rear seats (with low and high settings) and discreet rear side sunshades.

This makes a fully-loaded 2016 Optima EX cost just under at $29,790. That’s one luxurious ride for just under $30K.

Read more about the 2016 Kia Optima EX – a DigiDrive Best Pick Auto for 2016 →

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