Kia Optima on sale from February 1st

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Kia Optima
Kia has announced its latest D segment car, the Optima, will be available to order in the UK from the 1st of February.

It is hoped that the boldly styled saloon, which has won numerous international design awards, will win favour amongst business users in the UK, with its low emissions and impressive fuel economy.

There is every reason for Kia to be confident, as the Optima has already become the biggest selling car in Korea and has sold 300,000 units worldwide.

A lot of this success is down to Kia's current design strategy. The Optima is a sharply styled car, with Kia themselves likening it to a tailored Italian suit. That may be overstating things a tad, but we'd wager that this is the first Korean car in history likely to get an admiring backwards glance from its owner once parked up.

Costing £19,595 for the base model, the Optima will be available in the UK with only one engine: a 134bhp 1.7-litre turbo-diesel.

However, thanks to a variable geometry turbocharger – usually the preserve of more expensive (read more German) executive saloons – the torque curve is remarkably linear, with peak pulling power of 239lb ft available from 2,000-2,500rpm.

Choose the six-speed manual transmission and the Optima will achieve CO2 emissions of 128g/km and combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg – better than any previous Kia family saloon.

Four trim levels are available, with even the entry level version being well equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, cruise control and all-around electric windows.

Mid-level 'Luxe' and 'Tech' trims suit different tastes, with the former adding sporty styling addenda, larger alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof. 'Tech' increases the toy count with reversing cameras, an uprated Infinity audio system and satellite navigation.

Fully heated/air conditioned electric leather seats, keyless go and automatic parking assist are also available on the top of the range model.

Like all Kia cars, the Optima is covered by a seven year, 100,000 mile warranty.

It all adds up to an attractive, well specified and well priced package. The only question remains whether badge snobbery will affect its chances of success. For that, we will have to wait and see.