Test Drive: 2013 Kia Optima Limited

2013 Kia Optima Limited - front viewBy Barbara & Bill Schaffer

Williamsburg, Va. — ??When Alaska Airlines started flying to Regan National Airport in the Summer of 2012, they celebrated by having a fare sale, and so we celebrated by booking flights to Washington and taking the opportunity to explore the historic Williamsburg, Virginia area.? It was also a good time for us to spend some quality time in the latest Kia Optima offering, the Limited.

At the time we made the reservations, we didn?t realize that Hurricane Sandy had similar plans.? As we watched weather news the first couple of days in Virginia, it appeared we might get to experience our first hurricane, but as the storm came closer, it turned north and you know the rest of the story.? We only had to deal with five or six inches of rain during the last few days of our vacation.

Before the storm arrived, we had a good chance to explore some of the beautiful Virginia countryside and shoreline and experience the luxury and refinement of this newest Optima.

2013 Kia Optima LimitedThe 2013 Kia Optima Limited is the latest addition to the Optima lineup and builds on the previous top model, the SX or SLX when equipped with the Limited package.? The Limited upgrades are mostly cosmetic? and for comfort adding features like Nappa leather seats and trim, wood accents, electronic parking brake, LED daytime running lights, black cloth headliner, unique design 18-inch chrome wheels, red brake calipers and several chrome accents.? None of the features make the 2013 model Optima any faster or handle any better, but they made it look even better.? Our test car was painted Snow White Pearl, which is one of the three colors available on the 2013 Kia Optima Limited — the other colors are Ebony Black and Titanium Metallic.? The Limited even received several compliments in parking lots and we saw a few heads turn on the streets.

Since it debuted in 2011, the front-wheel drive Optima has garnered rave reviews from customers and critics alike for the unique styling.? From the Kia family tabbed grille with projector beam headlights to the coupe-like roofline, the Optima look is sleek and distinctive.

2013 Kia Optima Limited - dashboard? The interior of the 2013 Kia Optima Limited model wears a tailored look with French seams on the seats, dash and door panels are a cockpit style layout where the controls encircle the driver.? The well-bolstered seats are covered with soft leather with perforated inserts.? The perforated fabric is also used on the door panels to complete the upscale look.

The controls on the console, center stack and steering wheel make up one of the best arrangements we?ve used.? Large well-marked controls are well grouped in a logical fashion.? We especially appreciated the easy to use navigation system that could be controlled by the passenger while the car was moving, so it wasn?t necessary to stop every time we needed to input a new destination.? This is especially helpful when you are in an unfamiliar area.

2013 Kia Optima Limited - navigationThe Premium Package on our car added some useful features that are usually found on cars that are more expensive: heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof, driver seat memory, heated and cooled seats, heated rear seats and even power folding mirrors.

Because the Limited is an offshoot of the SX model, it gets the impressive Theta II 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.? Rated at 274 horsepower, this little four-cylinder engine accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and still gets and EPA rating of 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.? We were impressed that even with this power, there was virtually no torque steer under hard acceleration. ?Our fuel economy averaged 32.2 mpg in a mixture of freeway driving and cruising around the historic locations.? The acceleration was especially helpful for getting up to speed on freeway onramps.

2013 Kia Optima LimitedSafety features are always important to us, and the Optima comes well equipped with extras like active headrests, seatbelt pretensioners, stability control, ?traction control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start assist and many others.?? As a Kia owner, the great warranty could be considered an investment safety feature, with its 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty in addition to the five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and roadside assistance program.

The Optima is available in three trim levels, LX, EX and SX with LX pricing starting at $21,975, including the destination charge.? The top model, the SX, which is the only one with the turbocharged engine is $27,575.? The SX is available with the Technology Package ($1,400) which includes the navigation, rear camera and XM Traffic for the LX version and the Premium Touring Package ($2,950).? The Limited model is created by adding the Limited Package ($3,350) to the SX model.? Our test Optima Limited had a sticker price of $35,275.? While that seems like a lot of money for an Optima, the level of equipment was befitting cars costing $5,000 to $10,000 more.

The 2013 Kia Optima Limited turned out to be one of the best travel cars we?ve had.? It?s comfortable for long sightseeing excursions and was especially toasty with the heated seats and steering wheel during the cool rainy days we experienced. ??With the great fuel economy, It was a long way between gas stations, and when we did need gas, we were surprised to see gas prices as low as $3.03 per gallon.2013 Kia Optima Limited

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