Drove one yesterday. I'd been meaning to for a while, but the final straw was a $25 gift card offer I saw. Maybe here.
Local dealer moves them as fast as they come in. He had five on the lot, one already sold and the others LX or EX.
He hasn't seen a turbo yet.
The sold one was a beautiful dark cherry.
Inside, the 3-gauge pod was clear and logical. The EX and above have a proximity key (unavailable on LX) and pushbutton start. I can see how this could easily become addictive and a "need," like cell phones, remote starts, and other modern conveniences unimagined 30 years ago.
The radio and temp controls are reasonably simple and straightforward. Dual zone automatic-temp is standard on EX and above, available in a $2000 package including nav and rear cam in LX.
EX has power leather seats, LX has fabric with manual controls. Seats are comfy with no funny spots (unlike like the 98 Intrigue had, standard ridge in the small of the back). Like a good seat, you don't notice them. Adjustment controls, as they say in the car mags, fall easily to hand.
Car starts right up with the ease of pushing a button! Big mirrors, the gunslit back window is...well, it's small. Big side mirrors compensate to a degree.
The ride is bumpy, a tad stiffer than our GP GXP which is on the high-performance side. This didn't bother me on our short test drive. I'd have to see how it works out over the course of 400-mile days.
Steering and braking feel right. Firm, direct. Of note to the left-foot-brakers in the studio audience, the brake pedal is very nicely positioned for Mr. Lefty. Not all are.
The powerplant is smooth and unobtrusive, as is the 6-speed trannie. Shifter is a simple PRND with manual control alongside.
I don't like the parking brake, it's a floor unit ala` US-American big car. I much prefer a hand brake next to the shifter. Whatever.
Power feels even and more than adequate upon flooring it in 2nd gear. It shifts out at 60 @WFO, and though not of GXP-class, I'm sure it's comfortably under 8 in the 0-60 run.
This is a nice car that seems to do everything well. An 18.5 gallon fuel tank and 34 highway ranking give you a tactical range approaching 600 miles.
Given a likelihood of 35 or more possible highway MPG, that's comparable to my 1999 VW Golf TDi which ran about 42-45 on the road.
Standard 16" LX wheels carry 205.65.16 rubber; EX 17" 215.55.17; and the SX turbo run 245.45.18.
This EX with no options stickered about $23,300 including delivery.
An LX with the tech [2Gs] package (dual zone, me want; nav, me no want) runs about $24,300. I usually prefer cloth upholstery, and LX is the only one here with cloth. I can live without heated or power seats.
An EX turbo is $25,300 option-free. You can go up from there, to approach 30 grand if you like.
Per KIA's website, all the non-turbo models weigh about 3223 lb. and the turbos weigh 3385.
Again per the KIA site, there are three $500-off gigs.
a. Competitor. That means if you own something non-KIA, you should qualifty for 500 bux off.
b. KIA-owner. If you own a KIA, you should qualify for 500 bux off.
c. Military. Active duty only. Well if that ain't discrimination I don't know what is. With both of us retired mil, they should fudge this a bit, yes? That means that if I negotiated a grand off the no-options $23,300 EX sticker, and another $1500 from "offers," $20,800 should be a reasonable target price.
Since I doubt they will, let's say in my situation (negotiate $1000 off sticker, plus two $500 March-only offers) and the cars I'd choose:
$21,300 for no-options EX.
$22,300 for LX with dual zone and other toys.
$23,300 for a no-options EX turbo.
Don't forget the 5/60 B-B and 10/100 powertrain warranties. Me like.
The trunk is 15+ cu. ft., it has a real (donut) spare, not a $5 can of goop, and the doors and trunk close with solid thunks that my Grand Prix would blush at, if cars could hear and feel.
Suppose I'll have to drive a Malibu now. Oh yes, and a Sonata, again.
I like the way the Optimas are packaged better than the Sonatas. It's easier to option out a less-costly Optima than a Sonata.
Let's see how the 'bu stacks up.
KIA really should use the theme and pay royalties from "The Jeffersons" theme song in one of their excellent ads. They really are moovin on up.
Very well done, KIA. The salesman said, in talking with one of the managers, 10 years ago a KIA franchise was about the last thing he wanted. Today, it's the first thing.