2016 Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima

Episode 3525
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

There’s no doubt the 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan was a head turning, milestone vehicle. It proclaimed that Kia was no longer an up-and-coming brand, but rather one that had fully arrived as a new force to be reckoned with.  Well it’s time for a new gen Optima, and for us to find out if that trend is still up. 

 The 2016 Kia Optima is the 4th generation of Kia’s bestselling model, and to say it has a lot on its shoulders is probably an understatement. As the Optima, along with the help of the Sorento and Soul, has been primarily responsible for elevating Kia to its place as the 8th largest automotive brand in the U.S.

The Optima’s mission to propel the brand ever forward will be powered by 3 available powertrains.

Base models get a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated I4, with 185-horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque accompanied by a 6-speed automatic transmission. 

A 1.6-liter turbo-4 is the most fuel efficient offering for now, at 178-horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque, aided by a new 7-speed DCT of Kia’s own design.

That makes the 2.0-liter I4 turbo, the hot rod of the group at 245-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. It’s an updated version, and that works with a 6-speed automatic. 

The exterior design has been modernized, and smoothed, but not changed dramatically; as Kia wanted it to still be recognizable as the car that really put them on the map design-wise.

The tiger shark nose gets a flatter treatment compared to the Sorento and Sedona, while a chrome roof spear carries that flair rearward.  

In size, it is 0.4-inches longer in both length and wheelbase, and 1-inch wider. More importantly, additional use of high strength steel means a much stiffer structure.

Correspondingly, interior space goes up slightly, as has material quality. Most surfaces appear much nicer, and if you see stitching, it’s real stitching, not molded. Top trim SXL features luxury car worthy diamond stitched seats that proved very comfortable.

The overall result is maybe not quite as impressive as the Sorento, but perhaps our expectations have gotten too high.

Back seat room is very good, though seats are a little on the hard side and flat.

Safety systems take a step up, including autonomous braking, which worked flawlessly Volvo-like in our barrier test; and the available Harmon Kardon audio with 630-watts will turn your commute into a concert. 

Trunk finish is a tad nicer than before, but could be improved upon even more. Stowage space sees a slight increase to 15.9 cubic-ft. 

Driving impressions really come down to trim level. While all models benefit greatly from the stiffer structure, revamped suspension, selectable drive modes, and a smoother ride; only up-level SX and SXL trims get upgraded EPS with a rack-mounted steering box that has a much more dialed in feel. 

Much like its Hyundai Sonata chassis-mate, things are very quiet inside. Wind noise has been virtually eliminated and engine noise only sneaks in when going heavy on the throttle, leaving just some minor road noise to tune out. 

Of note, while virtually all Optimas are built here in the U.S., Kia does have the ability to import some should demand overwhelm their Georgia plant’s capacity.

As for sprints to 60, a 2.0 turbo Optima gets things done in 7.1-seconds. With an eager motor and sharp automatic shifts, the 1/4-mile ends in 15.4-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour. 

The Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 32-Highway, and 25-Combined.  We averaged a decent 24.2 miles-per-gallon of Regular. The Energy Impact Score is likewise middle of the road at 13.2-barrels of oil burned and 5.9-tons of CO2 emitted yearly. 

Reasonable pricing has always been a Kia draw, and while base pricing of $22,840 means it not’s the bargain that it may have been in years past, it still delivers a heck of a lot of car for the money. 

It’s hard to think that the 2016 Kia Optima could possibly have the impact that its predecessor did, but as the brand has rocketed up the automotive pyramid, things narrow and it gets harder and harder to impress. But the Optima still has enough steam to do just that.


  • Engine: 2.4-liter / 1.6-liter turbo-4 / 2.0-liter I4 turbo
  • Horsepower: 185 / 178 / 245
  • Torque: 178 lb-ft. / 195 lb-ft. / 260 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 15.4 seconds @ 91 mph
  • EPA: 22 mpg city/ 32 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 13.2 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.9 tons/yr

Long Term Updates

Mileage: 2,500

Just 1-month and 2,500-miles into our time with this 2016 Kia Optima midsize sedan and it has already revealed itself to be a really nice, comfortable, high speed cruising machine.

Extended seat time is a breeze in this cozy car, with only a little more than expected wind noise at highway speeds to dampen our enthusiasm.

And speaking of noises, there’s an odd one coming from our car’s dash that’s clearly linked to the HVAC system. It comes and goes sporadically, so hopefully it will reveal itself when we make a trip to the dealer to get it checked out. 

Auditory oddities aside, we’re currently averaging a great 28.9 miles-per-gallon from the 2.0-liter turbo-4, and have no complaints about the power that it delivers. 

The interior of this SX Limited example is quite posh, and though some initially thought it a bit showy; it gets compliments from most who see it.

Mileage: 7,500

There’s no denying the Kia Optima has come a long way. We’ve had this 4th generation 2016 SX-Limited in our fleet for 3–months now, and we’re beginning to believe that this is Optima’s biggest leap yet.

We’ve travelled just over 7,500 miles thus far, including a recent trip to Coastal Carolina.

With its spunky 2.0-liter turbo providing plenty of power, our mpg average is up to 29.2. Though more than one driver has noted some harsh downshifting on deceleration. That aside, the Optima is both smooth and capable in Euro-grand touring style.

As for our interior noise issue, the humming noise thought to be from the HVAC system, actually seems to be air escaping through the sunroof. Stay tuned for further updates. 

Mileage: 8,000

We’re at 4-months and 8,000-miles with our long term 2016 Kia Optima, and nothing has dimmed our enthusiasm for midsize sedan yet.

Well, maybe nothing except the mysterious sunroof flutter noise. Our local dealer suggested the sunroof was out of alignment, but after an adjustment the noise is still there. 

Performing mostly commuting duty this term, has seen mileage slip to a still good 28.8 miles-per-gallon. And all of that seat time has us appreciating the luxurious interior even more, with one staffer noting, “cannot see why you’d want to pay more for any other midsize car from any brand.” Throughout the summer and fall, the Optima has been both a great long-and- short distance cruiser. But now we’re all looking forward to seeing how it will survive our Mid-Atlantic winter. Stay tuned.

Mileage: 9,000

We’ve quickly travelled over 9,000-miles in our 2016 Kia Optima sedan. And during its first 5-months with us, a couple minor annoyances did not diminish our affinity for it.

But we are getting a little tired of them. The fluttering sunroof noise is still there, despite a trip to the dealer. 

And the harsh transmission downshifting on deceleration seems to be getting worse.

On the plus side, mileage from the 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 is back up to 29.0 miles-per-gallon, and we continue to hear nothing but praise about our SX Limited’s interior. 

So balancing the good with the not so; we still have plenty of time to see which side will ultimately prevail. 

Mileage: 15,000

Miles continue to rack up in our 2016 Kia Optima, having eclipsed 15,000 after 6 months. 

No major revisions since our last report. Our SX Limited is very posh inside, so you really notice that the front seats could use a little more padding for long trips.

Otherwise, we’re still dealing with the same sunroof noise and harsh downshifting on deceleration that we’ve noted since the beginning of our test. 

Our Optima’s Turbo-4 fuel economy is holding steady at 28.9 miles per gallon. We rate that very fine for a larger sedan.

Mileage: 16,000

As for our 2016 Kia Optima mid-size family sedan, well we really do love driving it, and looking around the interior any chance we get. But there continues to be little things that keep us from loving it as much as we could.

The latest is the locking up of the UVO infotainment system. It’s intermittent and thus hard to diagnose.    

Still, it is popular for comfortable commutes and couple’s weekends. We’ve added 1,500–miles to our tally this segment; which stands at 16,000-miles after only 7-months. 

Mileage from the 2.0-liter turbo-4 took a slight hit from so many short trips, but still stands at a good-for-its-size 28.4 miles-per-gallon. 

Mileage: 18,000

Summer may be just getting under way, but our 2016 Kia Optima has been out enjoying the warmer weather quite a lot already. We added close to 2,000 miles this go-around, to bring our 10-month total to just under 18,000-miles. 

Praises continue to mount up for its acceleration and handling, simple to master media interface, and the Optima’s overall ease of use. Not to mention interior refinement that’s closer to luxury cars than it is to your typical family sedan. 

Its 2.0-liter turbo mileage is down slightly from last report to a still good 28.0 miles-per-gallon.

However, complaints about our car’s clunky downshifts from the 6-speed automatic on deceleration are piling up as well.   

Our time with the Kia Optima may be winding down, but we’ve still got some summer drive-time miles to tack on before we wrap up our time with this Optima SX Limited. 

Mileage: 26,000

After 11-months, the odometer in this handsome midsize sedan sits just past 26,000 miles. 

Some of that from a recent Florida road trip where the Optima’s seats, both front and rear, provided great comfort; the trunk easily holding a week’s worth of family luggage and beach gear. 

The A/C had no problem keeping up with the Florida heat; though we also went the windows down route, combined with the Optima’s huge sunroof to soak up as many rays as possible. 

Fuel economy has stayed pretty consistent, with the 2.0-liter turbo’s average now sitting at 28.1 miles-per-gallon. 

But here’s the best news of all, our mysterious sunroof fluttering noise seems to have gone away; bringing our list of gripes down to one, the transmission’s sometimes clunky downshifts.

Mileage: 27,000

Properly wrapping up a year’s worth of time with our 2016 Kia Optima sedan in only 1-minute is impossible.  But, we’ll attempt to sum it up by simple stating the Optima is a fantastic midsize four-door; one that delivers all the family practicality we’d hoped it would, along with the style and performance of a well-appointed sport sedan.  With our SX Limited’s odometer at 27,000-miles, we averaged a very good 28.4 miles-per-gallon from its turbo 2.0-liter and 6-speed auto powertrain. The exterior still looks fabulously modern, and the gorgeous interior not only provided great comfort, but held up very well. Issues have been minor…the fluttering noise from the sunroof that cured itself, and an occasional clunky transmission downshift on deceleration. Clearly we loved our year with the Optima, a sedan that in a world awash with crossovers, stands apart even more. 

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined