Newer balance

Newer balance

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
04 Apr 2016
What we like:
pros
Generous cabin space
pros
quality materials
What we dislike:
cons
Keeps the old Achilles’ heel in the form of the engine and gearbox

Let me first make mention that the ride quality of the Optima is excellent if a little on the firmer side of things. But this suggests it handles well, and it certainly does.

It’s not going to outclass a 5 Series obviously but it certainly feels more composed than its closest rivals and has a rather well balanced chassis that sees very controlled body roll and minimal understeer. If anything the Optima’s rear end is a little bit looser than you’d imagine; and it will go around corners quite nicely.

Sat in the driver’s seat at highway speeds you’ll barely hear wind or tyre noises, which is more than I can say for even some cars from premium brands. And so one of the things going for the Optima is that it’s a very comfortable cruiser that will be a joy to ride nonstop to Kuala Lumpur and beyond.

But where there are good points there will always be negative aspects to balance them out. Unfortunately in this case the Optima’s longstanding Achilles’ heel has not been resolved. The previous Optima was criticised for being underpowered with its 2.0l engine that made 163 bhp and 198 Nm. What they’ve done is put the same engine back in this car, and so you see the problem immediately.

The gearbox has six speeds and is neither what you’d call fast nor efficient by today’s standards. Yet frugality is not impossible to achieve if you drive it with patience where I managed a respectable 11 km/l.

But priced at $118,999 (at 11 Mar 2016) with a Euro NCAP safety rating of five stars, you can see why this car is more a controlled balance of everything rather than a specialist in any one area.

Credits: Story and Photos by Alvan Sio

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