Review: 2006 Kia Optima

Go to MYRIDE.COM for more car videos.
After spending several days driving the new 2006.5 Kia Optima along beautiful country roads in California's Napa Valley region, on the crowded city streets of San Francisco, and on a six-hour run down Interstate 5 to Los Angeles, we think Kia's marketing department might want to focus more on the value equation and less on the Optima's roominess, quietness, and performance. The Optima is certainly accommodating; given the right tires, road surfaces, and cruising speed the Optima is quiet; the standard four-cylinder engine is class competitive if not as thrifty as it should be; and the optional 17-inch Michelin tires provide entertaining handling capability. However, the car isn't a standout in the midsize class. But the value story -- now that holds some water.