You know, extraordinary things happening to us are rare, right? Hence the term EXTRAordinary. You’re going through life as normal, doing your own thing, and *poof* – something completely unexpected shows up at your doorstep. (and this is Ryan, not Rachel – very important clarification, as you will see)
This has happened on a grand scale at least two times in my life now. The first time: 1998, Texas A&M (whoop!) – a ridiculously beautiful girl named Rachel literally showed up on my doorstep, accompanied by her friend that was the girlfriend of my good friend and roommate. That was like really awesome. She totally dug me, as I did her, but I had ZERO clue… but that’s an interesting case-study exploring the truly frightening levels of romantic cluelessness in some men for another time.
Fast forward 14 years (that was quick) and it happens again. Okay, so, this extraordinary event does not quite match the scale of importance as that first extraordinary event – but… as my jaw dropped at the beauty before me in 1998 (and still does) my jaw hit the pavement one Friday morning when two of my now favorite people showed up on my doorstep to deliver something, well, extraordinary…
A new car!! (Fade in Price is Right Music…)
I open the door up to the two wonderful people who delivered the first car for us to review here for Surviving The Stores. That car was great and all (it really was) but, uh, when I walked onto my driveway and saw this…..
…. this 34 year-old just about experienced heart failure.
No, sadly, it was not mine to keep. But it was mine and Rachel’s to test – for one week – one glorious, amazing, splendiferous week. In fact, it took me a week to finally believe that this was actually happening and my brain was not attached to a machine creating this memory for me.
Even more astonishing than it appearing on my doorstep…. was that it was a Kia!!
I’m not sure what happened, but my hypothesis is that Kia fired someone who needed to go and hired someone else who actually wanted to make awesome cars. What perception did you have of Kia in your mind 10, 5, 2 years ago… 10 minutes ago? Was it this? Probably not. Nor was it mine.
But things have changed, and I was about to experience that change for 1 glorious week test driving the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid.
Now, it’s going to sound like we were given the car for 1-week with the agreement I was going to say a bunch of great things about it. Not true – Kia gave us this car with the expectation we would say how we really felt, and would point out the good things and anything we would like improved. Plus, we were not paid for this review – we only received the car and a full tank of gas.
Ok, ok, enough doting over this absurdly glorious random act of Kia kindness. Let’s talk about the car.
First, the Exterior.
There really isn’t much in the form of sentences to describe this beautiful beast – but there are a lot of adjectives (it looks a lot better in real life than the pic above). Let me see how many I can think of on my own before hitting thesaurus.com: slick, cool, awesome, rad (sorry for the 80s flash back), hot. It was so awesome I even fooled myself into thinking I was cool, even though I am clearly the opposite.
Ok, now with the help of the online Thesuarus for “cool”: 1. Air Conditioned (well, that’s true) 2. hawkish – nice – gotta remember that one. 3. refreshing – oh, was it ever refreshing, especially considering my regular drive was a 2000 Honda Accord with serious body damage! 4. hunky dory – definitely better than that, but, sure. 5. sensational – yep. 6. boss – it may not be the boss of bosses, but it’s definitely a boss.
For a 4-door mid-size sedan you really can’t ask for better. And there is not one negative thing I can say about the exterior.
Next, the interior.
With black leather interior, perfectly placed internal lights, Infinity AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM Radio Audio System with 8 speakers, heated/cooling seats, Bluetooth Wireless Technology, Sun/Moon roof, and more, it had everything you would want and more, all in an extremely comfortable, posh, visually appealing environment.
Plus, it had the UVO Microsoft Infotainment System, which includes a rear-view camera when backing up, in-car connectivity based on the capability of your personal devices with voice activated commands, and more.
Needless to say, the interior of this car proved to be first rate with the latest technology. Who doesn’t love that??
The only one negative was that on the SiriusXM system it would be nice to be able to actually scan through each station individually using the controls on the steering wheel. With the model I drove you could only use the controls on the steering wheel to go the through presets; it would be nice to be able to do that with stations that are not in the presets as well (first-world problems, huh?)
How it drove:
Driving it was remarkable. It was smooth, the steering wheel was, in my opinion, at just the right amount of sensitivity that you really felt in control of your driving experience. You owned the road, but much more important than that, you felt safe. It was easy to tell you were driving a very well built, durable vehicle. (just don’t take it to the dunes – it’s not quite that durable!)
There are a lot of great safety features such as anti-lock brakes, tire-pressure monitoring system, dual front air-bags, and more that I could go into as well to highlight the security/safety features. But that’s just boring – you can read that stuff yourself if you care about that sort of thing.
So, negatives… Ok, ok, I know what you’re going to say: “R-diddy [that's what my peeps call me] they obviously gave you money to do this. You haven’t said anything negative about this car, you just made that nit-picky comment above to make it look like a real review.” No, seriously, it was just a freaking awesome car and drove like I was in REM dream sleep. Sorry.
To Sum up:
I think you get the idea. I highly recommend this car for those looking for a mid-size 4-door Sedan that looks great inside and out, drives beautifully, and is loaded with tons of great features. The only caveat would be looking further into if the hybrid is the right choice for you. You can save a good amount of money going with the non-hybrid version, and the gas mileage is a combined 36 mpg for the hybrid vs 28 mpg for the non hybrid.
But, I will say, the gas mileage on the hybrid is unbelievably awesome. We drove that thing for a week and could not get the tank below half full. (see, I’m an optimist!) If gas mileage is a concern of yours, as it is for most, then definitely take a look at this car when you’re in the market for one. Seriously, we drove this thing FOREVER and it was almost annoying how little gas we used.
Do any of you guys have a Kia Optima or another Kia? Feel free to leave a comment and let us know how you liked it.