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snellemin
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11.16.2009, 11:48 PM

You will need to beat my nissan 720 pickup which had a mild engine rebuilt at 380K miles. I still have the truck, but don't drive it anymore. Waiting for Lutach massive brushless controller for a E-Nissan conversion.


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BrianG
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10.03.2011, 04:49 PM

Bringing up this old thread to post my new baby (finally): 2011 Kia Optima SX T-GDi

I know what you're saying "Really?? Kia?". If you would have told me last week that I was going to get a Kia, I would have laughed in your face. I remember the days doing car audio and remote starter installations swearing when working on a Kia/Hyundai. They were cheaply built crap heaps.

Judging by the age of this thread, you can see I've been looking around for quite a while waiting until my current car ('05 Mazda 3) was paid off since I had to take a loan off it to replace flood-damaged appliances items last year. I've looked at lots of vehicles from the Smart ForTwo to a full-size truck, but couldn't find anything that really did it for me.

Then, last Friday, I took my step-son to his football practice and had some time to kill. So, hearing a radio commercial for Kia saying they are liquidating 2011 stock, I decided to take a look. As soon as a I saw this car, I was hooked. Then, the test drive made it a slam-dunk.

This is the fully loaded turbo version, with all the bells and whistles (proximity ignition, NAV, rear camera, power everything, heated and cooled seats, panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, LED taillights, traction control, bluetooth connectivity for calls and streaming music from your cell, etc, etc). The tiny 2.0L 4 banger does surprisingly well power-wise while getting 26-28mpg combined city/HW while being quiet, but for passing, that turbo kicks it up to 275HP/270ft-lbs torque; no problem off the line or passing! There's no discernible turbo lag and it shifts very smoothly. Not a 'Vette to be sure, but does nicely as a family car that's fun to drive.

I did my usual "kick-the-tires" routine and it passed everything: I can lean on the flatter parts of the metal and nothing flexes/dents (try it sometime; you'd be surprised), the gaps for all the seams are consistent (not 1mm gap at one end and 4mm gap at the other), everything is secure (no slop on any of the interior parts like seats, center console, etc when moved by hand), doors have that nice solid "thud" without any rattle, etc.

It came with the "high-end" Infinity sound system. It's "ok", but not high-end by my standards. Still, it sounds decent. Since the radio doubles as the interface for the reversing camera and navigation, I don't see myself upgrading. Besides, I'm over the time where I "needed" 1,000w sound system to satisfy me.







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snellemin
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10.03.2011, 04:55 PM

Body style looks sporty/aggressive. Nothing like the old Hyundai crap.


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TexasSP
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10.03.2011, 07:31 PM

I have been giving it up to Kia/Hyundai for a while. They used to be junk, that has changed. Their quality and ratings are at the top of the charts now.

It's funny, I heard a saying that if Toyota and Honda stay up at night worrying about anything, it's Kia/Hyundai.

Good looking car their Brian! Congrats!


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Arct1k
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10.03.2011, 08:34 PM

Can I have your engine - Its just what I need
   
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brainanator
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10.03.2011, 11:49 PM

My work just bought me a brand new 2012 dodge ram 1500 to use for...work stuff, lol. I drove it from Houston to northern Louisiana, then back, and then up to central Montana, then over to north eastern Montana. I've put over 60 hours and 2800 miles on it in a week and a half, lol. Way nicer than anything I've driven, coming from a 95 mercury tracer that's falling apart...

Anyway, that kia looks way better than anything that comes to mind when I think of kia. Nice! :)


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E-Revonut
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10.04.2011, 12:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainanator View Post
My work just bought me a brand new 2012 dodge ram 1500 to use for...work stuff, lol. I drove it from Houston to northern Louisiana, then back, and then up to central Montana, then over to north eastern Montana. I've put over 60 hours and 2800 miles on it in a week and a half, lol. Way nicer than anything I've driven, coming from a 95 mercury tracer that's falling apart...

Anyway, that kia looks way better than anything that comes to mind when I think of kia. Nice! :)
Hope your not paying for the gas in that truck! Gets the worst gas mileage of all trucks, haven't seen or heard of one legitamitley getting over 14MPG around here. They are 4x4 versions but Ford and Chevy are getting in the 18MPG range for equivalent trucks.

By the way, nice car BrianG! Wish I could have opted for the turbo charged WRX when I bought my 2011 Impreza


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JThiessen
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10.04.2011, 09:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by brainanator View Post
My work just bought me a brand new 2012 dodge ram 1500 to use for...work stuff, lol. I drove it from Houston to northern Louisiana, then back, and then up to central Montana, then over to north eastern Montana. I've put over 60 hours and 2800 miles on it in a week and a half, lol. Way nicer than anything I've driven, coming from a 95 mercury tracer that's falling apart...

Anyway, that kia looks way better than anything that comes to mind when I think of kia. Nice! :)
Your in my neck of the woods up there. I grew up in Lambert. My folks and brother still have a ranch there. You must be gainfully employed on the Bakken?


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brainanator
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10.04.2011, 12:11 PM

The truck tells me that it got 17.7 MPG on the highway (1800 mile average). I do have a gas card for it, so I'm not out the hundreds it cost to get here, lol. 4x4 is a must for where I'm at, I would have refused the truck in Texas if it was not 4x4.
And yes, I'll be working on the Bakken, doing some electronics and software trouble shooting and installing on the rigs. No roughnecking for me!


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Last edited by brainanator; 10.04.2011 at 12:18 PM.
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gixxer
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10.12.2011, 07:05 AM

I never thought I would want a Hyundai or Kia but that has changed. Probably right when they released the Genesis coupe. For a family sedan I do like the looks of the Optima over the Sonata.

This one is a little different but I also want to drive the new Soul. With the updated motor now it might be able to work as a daily driver(dont need anything fast but it has to at least be able to get out of its own way).


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BrianG
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10.12.2011, 04:43 PM

Well, after a week and a half with the new car, here are some observations:
  • Steering is different than other cars I've had. It seems a little too assisted, if that makes any sense. I like a little more feedback when cornering; harder corners=more feedback, or resistance. After a little reading online, I found out this car uses electric assist. Apparently, the torque of the electric system simply masks any difference in steering feel as the driving gets more "spirited". Not an overall bad thing I guess, just different. This isn't exactly a sports car, but my Mazda 3 had a better (albeit rougher) feel.

  • As I suspected, the stereo is "ok". Sounds good, decent volume. But I bet the cost of this "premium" add-on was WAYY more expensive than a decent after-market headunit, decent speakers, and small sub/amp would provide.

  • The turbo kicks in at around 2200 rpm. It's not a lag thing, but an RPM thing. If the rpms are kept at around 2200+ and I goose the throttle, the turbo is there instantly. Not V8 power, but definitely equal or better than most normally-aspirated V6's.

  • The traction control really helps limit wheel spin, even on wet leaves. Kinda like a limited slip diff, but more actively controlled (using brakes on the free-spinning wheel and/or lowering engine output). With it off, the tires light up easily. This should help when it snows, but time will tell on that.

  • Tires. The stock Nexens are "adequate", but will need to be swapped for decent all-weathers before snow hits. Then again, I don't think I've ever gotten a car with a set of good all-weather tires on it. You'd think manufacturers would somewhat tailor their tire offerings based on geographical area (snow in the north, more summer in the south, etc), but whatever, I knew the tires would not be the best going in. However, the tires being 225/45R18 aren't going to be cheap. I'm looking at ~$900 for a mounted/balanced set of 4 good tires. Ugg. The local tire shop suggested Cooper Zeon RS3-A's, and while they review great for wet/dry and have a decent price, they are too new to know about snow performance. The only other popular choice are Continental DWS's (more $$$), but reviewers say there is excessive sidewall flex when driving aggressively. Both the Coopers and Continentals have roughly similar tread design, but any difference in tire compound can drastically change how they work when cold. It would suck to shell out that kind of cash for something only marginally better than what I have now.

  • I am curious why they put in wheel-mounted paddle shifters? This isn't a race car. The console shifter already has the pseudo-manual mode ability, so the paddle shifters are redundant. I would rather have the heated steering, but apparently, the paddles replace the heater control. It's sort of fun to play with the paddles from time to time (reminds me of playing PC driving games with a racing wheel equipped with paddle shifters) but I can see myself not using them at all once the novelty wears off.

  • Speaking of shifting, I have to say the automatic transmission is probably the next best thing to a CVT. Shifts, even under heavy acceleration, are silky smooth. Even my wife's Volvo isn't as refined. The 6-speed transmission keeps RPMs down to around 2k at 65mph.

  • Supposedly, the car has a governed top speed of 154mph (IIRC). I got it to ~125mph before letting off. Pretty smooth at that speed, but I won't be doing that often. I don't really understand such a high setting TBH; there isn't a place in the USA (that I know of) where the legal speed exceeds 75-80mph. Why not cap it at 90 then (for a little passing headroom)? If they are gonna cap it at 154mph, why not cap it at 500mph, or 1,000mph? Seems rather silly.

  • PLENTY of leg room, especially compared to the old Mazda. With the front seats comfortably extended, there is plenty of room in the back for adults. My 3 year old girl's feet can't reach the backs of the front seat (which is a good thing!). However, since it has the panoramic sunroof, which subtracts a good 2-3" of headroom, I can imagine headroom could be tight for taller people (over 6'). Both driver and passenger seats do lower though, so it's hard to say. Fine for me or anyone in my family though.

  • The air conditioned seats feel WEIRD! They take about 30 seconds to kick in, and when they do, it kinda feels like water is running down your back and butt.

  • There is a "hill-assist" mode for red-light stops. Most automatics I've seen tend to want to "push" too much when stopped (rougher idling as it works the torque converter more), which requires steady pressure on the brakes to keep from bumping the guy in front. Either that, or they push too little (smoother idling) and can roll back on steep hills when the brake is released. This has very little push when stopped, but won't roll back either. From what I can tell, there must be rotation sensors somewhere that triggers the engine to rev up a little more on idle if it detects any roll back. Probably more of a benefit for standard transmissions, which is not available in the SX trim, but somewhat neat I suppose.

So really, the only "negatives" are tire quality (which I expected) and steering feel. Everything else is SWEET! Rides quiet/smooth, plenty of power when needed, decent gas mileage (~26mpg combined city/hw with bouts of spirited driving), and lots of bells and whistles. I have gotten a bunch of compliments on the car already. Kinda surprising really; after all, it's "just" a Kia, not a BMW or something.
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  (#87)
snellemin
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10.12.2011, 05:19 PM

Great review mang...

So steering is too assisted heh. Looks like it's made for comfort.
Good tires cost money, which would up the price of the car a bit.
That cooled seats would freak out my wife all the time.

The hill assist on my Expedition is really good. When stopped on a really steap hill, I can let go of the brakes and it will just stand there. But when I want to go, it takes a second to react. Took some getting use too.

The front of the Kia just looks so mean.

How fast do the paddle shifters react to input?


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GTP-Pletty Big Maxximum+RX8. GTP-C50-6L Hacker+RX8. CRT.5-Pro4+ZTW esc.
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BrianG
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10.12.2011, 05:25 PM

Thanks!

I can take or leave the cooled seats. My wife thinks they're cool (pun intended) though.

The paddles react just as fast as the console shifter from what I can tell. They're both spring-loaded "momentary" switches, and so are probably simply wired in parallel. I've never tried gearing "up" on the paddle while gearing "down" on the console at the same exact time. Probably open a black hole or something. Anyway, if you don't touch the paddle or console shifters for a certain length of time, it reverts back to "drive". Although, it seems to depend on circumstance, which I haven't quite figured out yet.
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brainanator
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10.12.2011, 07:52 PM

Nice!
I agree it's weird on the speed limiter, back in the day Montana didn't have a set speed limit, just an advisory "reasonable and prudent", lol. But those days are passed, my dad blames it on the out-of-staters coming to MT to go really fast then killing themselves.


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