It’s the kind of car I really want to love. It looks like nothing else on our roads and begs for attention. The large 18-inch wheels complement the car beautifully and its elegant design profile causes me to salivate instantly. But the last time I tested the Optima, the engine was a dismal let-down. The car had so much athletic prowess, only to be disappointed by a weak heart that felt more suitable in a small runaround.
But any shortcomings with the previous motor have been rectified with the new 2.4 GDi engine. So we thought. Enter round two.
Equipped with 148kW of power (a 16kW increase) and 250Nm of torque, one would think that the new motor propels the Optima to the status it deserves. But alas, it’s not meant to be.
Our test vehicle, after a week spent driving it at various speeds, was averaging 11.8 litres/100km. It was like a varsity student at an open bar when it came to guzzling fuel. But unlike a varsity student, the Optima didn’t become more fun and entertaining the more it drank. A hard stomp on the loud pedal would send the car revving and screaming and make a getaway as quick as a stubborn donkey.
But if you can live with the naturally aspirated Theta II 2.4 GDi engine, then you’ll quite enjoy life behind the wheel of the Optima. It’s comfortable and well-specced at a competitive price.