2014 Kia Optima SXL Turbo Review
– by James Hamel
When you think of a family sedan do you think of a car with sexy, svelte lines, tire smoking turbocharged performance, luxurious elegance or is it something more along the lines of your father’s Oldsmobile? Admittedly, the state of the affordably priced family sedan has improved a lot in recent years with models like the Mazda6 proving agile and fun to drive, the Accord continues to be an excellent all-around choice and even the Nissan Altima. Well, we are still trying to find something nice to say there except that it rides smoothly so long as you don’t try to corner too aggressively in it. See MaryAnne from Why This Ride pushing the limits in the video review.
But none of them exude the raw animal sex appeal that we found so apparent every time we looked at our test 2014 Kia Optima SXL Turbo—this $35,000 fully loaded model looked so good that it would not have seemed out of place on an Audi sales lot. The interior too, what with its stylish and solidly laid out dashboard and elegant quilted Nappa leather seats felt like the cabin from a car three price classes above it. We especially love the chunky, flat bottomed sport steering wheel all Optima owners get when they specify the 2.0 liter 274 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine option. We recommend you get the turbo even if it is just in lower spec SX Turbo trim which starts at a more reasonable $27,500.
Now if driving fun is your number one requirement from a new car, do remember that if you are taking your 2014 Kia Optima SXL on a winding back road that you switch off the overly intrusive traction control system which cuts engine power at inopportune moments during aggressive corners that the car’s suspension can easily handle. That’s our one qualm with the Optima Turbo—the fact that Kia didn’t trust the excellent suspension and steering calibration enough to let it do the work of driving the car instead of an electronic traction control system which acts like an overprotective nanny from hell. Definitely not any fun like a Mrs. Doubtfire or Mary Poppins, that’s for sure.
Why This Ride?
– The 2014 Kia Optima SXL turbocharged engine turns this stylish if sedate family sedan into a howling beast
– It’s terrific fun to drive especially with the traction control switched off
– The exterior is style personified
– Interior feels like an Audi but the sticker price says otherwise
– It’s sexy, fast and fits the whole family and their stuff