2017 Kia Optima GT gets LED headlights, racier seats and a growly exhaust note…sort of
When we sampled the then-new Kia Optima GT last year we wrote wax lyrical about how it was a wonderful blend of style, quality, dynamism, performance and value. We struggled to find any real faults, and we were truly enamoured by the whole package.
The only real fault we did find – and we were being truly cynical – was the exhaust note, or lack thereof. It just sounded a little flat, a little tinny and the noises floating out of the exhaust pipes didn’t match the sexy red leather or grunty 2.0 litre turbo petrol engine.
Kia was obviously aware of this problem, and as such fitted the 2017 Kia Optima GT with what it calls an Electronic Sound Generator or ESG. What this essentially means is that amplified engine noise is pumped into the cabin via the excellent Harmon/Kardon sound system and the end result is a little bittersweet.
The noise itself is great: it’s bassy, aggressive and serves as the final piece in the 2017 Kia Optima GT personality puzzle. The noise is adjustable too – pop the car in Eco mode to tone it down, or flick it into Sport for a full noise that reverberates through the cabin.
Moreover, the ESG does add that extra grin factor and does encourage the driver to hustle the Optima GT a little more enthusiastically and enjoy those excellent dynamics, the six-speed auto and that turbo engine.
However, look (or listen, if we’re more precise) the new noise and it’s all a bit too fake. You can hear the speakers crackle when you back off the throttle. There’s just simply no replacement for a quality exhaust system. Alas, this would’ve cost Kia more money, and therefore such costs would’ve been passed onto the customer, increasing the 2017 Kia Optima GT’s lucrative price tag of $44,490, which is unchanged from last year.
Other changes for the 2017 Kia Optima GT include razor sharp and ultra-clear LED headlamps that produce a crisp, white glow that greatly aids visibility at night.
The final change for the 2017 Kia Optima GT is revised front seating, which offers occupants greater support by way of more effective bolstering, which means that said people are less likely to flop about when cornering with gusto.
The chairs are still heated and cooled too, and have full electric adjustment.
Performance is also unchanged: the 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder still punches out 180kW @ 6000rpm and 350Nm @ 1400-4000rpm so it’ll romp along swiftly and weirdly, it feels much quicker than its twin under the skin, the Hyundai Sonata Turbo.