Sunday, February 19, 2012

 

Pat's new Kia Optima EX car

Earlier this month Pat started talking about maybe trading "Baby", her beloved VW New Beetle in on a new car. It was a diesel powered model and got pretty good mileage, especially out on the road. It was also a 2001 model with 69,000 miles on it and while hasn't caused any problems, she was aware that in another 11,000 miles it would be due for an expensive service call. So that started the thinking process.

We looked at the current models of the New Beetle but they have changed the car a lot. It is now bigger, almost looks fat, and they didn't seem to be able to get any diesel models in. On February 1st, we stopped again at the VW dealer, got the same message, so went to the local Kia dealer. She had watched the Kia ads (everyone must love those hamsters with the Soul model) so we decided to look at that brand. Neither of us is fond of those square looking cars like the Soul and we both appreciate the convenience of having a 4-door car, so that was what we looked at.

Some of them, the small and mid-sized models, were too low getting into to be comfortable so we looked at the one whose lines she liked best on the TV ads, the Optima. It was a car that she liked and they had one in stock that had everything she wanted it to have and then some. So, she bought it.

By this time it was dark and she didn't want to drive it home in the dark, so we went back to pick it up the next day. I have some photos of it:

Pat's Kia Optima 1
Here Pat is about to get into the driver's seat for a "tour" of the dashboard, with our salesman, Mike explaining things. This car has almost everything that is available except a navigation system and we have a portable one so that isn't needed. It has the sun roof that will open just to vent or fully and there is even a sun roof for the back seat passengers. It has heated seats in both the front and rear and the front seats are even cooled. The radio system has something like eight speakers and a thing that we are really enjoying called the Jukebox where you can upload 700mb of MP3 music files for it to play. The cell phone connects through the Blue Tooth system that works like it does in the Prius for a voice call, but if she gets a text message it will ask her if she wants it to read the message. If she says "yes", it reads it in very clear English. The driver's seat is power operated and it has two memory positions. If Pat is driving, she presses #1 while if I get in to drive I press #2. The steering wheel is even heated if you want to turn it on.

Pat's Kia Optima 2
The car in a frontal view. I think the lines are beautiful. Mike, our salesman, is from Germany and he told us the chief engineer on this car was hired by Kia from Audi where he worked on designing some very expensive cars. Much of what the Audi cars had has been included in this model of the Kia but it is much less expensive.

Pat's Kia Optima 3
Here Pat and Mike are starting to connect her cell phone to the Blue Tooth system.Pat's Kia Optima 4
A closer view of the dash where the radio system is located as they are working with the cell phone connection. It works well and the text message reader is really amazing.

So far we both like the car. We have been driving it most of the time although the Prius does get better mileage so as gas prices are pushing up towards the $4 a gallon level, we will probably start to drive my car a bit more. But this one is very nice. Oh, and her beloved Baby is now being driven by Pat's daughter, so it is still in the family!

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Comments:
That looks like fun. I cam amazed at what autos can offer today. We think now and then of replacing the Silverado as it has a lot of heavy hauling it does and is way up there in mileage but so far haven't begun serious looking (tractor is coming first), but I will remember those perks when we do look.
 
Sounds like a great little car! Nice to know her Baby is still in the family too. :-)
 
Hyundai and Kia have experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years, even as the rest of the auto industry was embroiled in an ugly downturn. In fact, 2011 was a terrific year for the Korean automaker, as sales jumped by double digits globally. But while Hyundai/Kia has been on fire of late, Reuters reports that company officials feel that 2012 isn't likely to return the same gains.



KIA MA
 
Looks like Kia is offering lots of very upscale amenities at an affordable price. You're right; the design does remind me of Audi. Never knew the designer also worked on Audi; that's cool...
 
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