2015 Kia Rio

What's new for 2015? For 2015, the Kia Optima gets some updates to its optional Uvo telematics system and a few minor changes to trim levels. The SX Limited trim level is now called the SXL.

Shoppers looking for a family sedan have a myriad of options these days, and just about all of these cars hit the mark for being comfortable, economical and safe. Kia's entry into this market is the 2015 Optima, and it stands out from the crowd with striking styling and an appealing mix of features.

At its base trim level, the Optima is competitively priced and relatively well equipped with standard features. On the upper trim levels, the Optima gets fairly luxurious thanks to features like an easy-to-use touchscreen interface and heated and ventilated front seats. Also important to note are Kia's warranty (one of the best in the industry), reliability and top-notch crash test scores.

The 2015 Kia Optima rides comfortably without isolating you from the environment. Overall, though, driving the Optima is certainly pleasant. SX and SXL models come with a sport suspension that provides slightly sportier handling.

Exterior Highlights
Midsize sedan available in LX, EX, SX and SXL trim levels

The 2015 Kia Optima is a midsize sedan that comes in LX, EX, SX and SXL trim levels.

The LX comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a power height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The LX's optional Convenience Plus package adds an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), laminated (i.e., quieter) front door windows, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera and Kia's Uvo telematics system.

With the EX, the upgraded windows, power driver seat and auto-dimming mirror come standard. You also get 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air-conditioning vents and leather upholstery.

Opting for the EX's Premium package further equips the EX with a panoramic sunroof, the rearview camera, power-folding mirrors, an upgraded version of Uvo, a four-way power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, driver memory settings and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system with HD radio. To this you can add the Technology package, which adds rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, an 8-inch touchscreen display and a navigation system.

The Optima's SX trim level is equipped similarly to the EX, but also has 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED taillights, upgraded gauges with an integrated display screen and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SX is also available with the turbocharged engine which comes with xenon headlights, a sport steering wheel and selectable drive modes. For the non-turbo SX, a Premium Technology package bundles the contents of the

EX's Premium and Technology packages. For the turbocharged SX, the Premium and Technology packages are again separate. If you want your Optima fully decked out, there's the top-of-the-line SXL that gets the complete contents of the turbocharged EX's optional packages as standard. You also get unique 18-inch wheels, unique interior and exterior trim, LED foglights, an electronic parking brake and premium leather upholstery.

Modern design, abundance of soft-touch materials, Uvo electronics interface system, spacious cabin, rearview camera

Inside the 2015 Kia Optima, you'll find a distinctly modern, European-influenced design, as well as good overall interior quality and an abundance of soft-touch materials. Things get even better in the SXL trim level with its luxury car level of standard equipment and premium leather upholstery.

Kia's Uvo (pronounced "yoo-voh") electronics interface system is similar to Ford's Sync system (both are powered by Microsoft). Uvo provides voice control of cell phones and MP3 players as well as other services, such as POIs and turn-by-turn navigation. We've found that Uvo works quite well. The touchscreen interface in navigation-equipped Optimas is also easy to use for navigation purposes and operating the stereo.

The Optima has a fairly spacious cabin, with comfortable seats and a useful amount of legroom front and rear. The Optima's 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space is about average for its class.

Standard safety features on the 2015 Kia Optima include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is available, as are rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitoring system. The optional upgraded Uvo telematics system (on the EX and above) includes roadside assistance, collision notification and driver restrictions and tracking for secondary drivers.

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