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Kia gives Optima a stronger punch

When it hit the scene last year, we had little doubt that the Kia Optima was a decent and distinctive mid-sized sedan - it just needed some more ambition under the bonnet.

We were hoping Kia would insert its latest 2-litre turbopetrol, but Kia has at least brought in the next best option in the form of its latest direction injection motor.

The Optima gains a new direct injection motor with 148kW on command.

As before, it's a 2.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine mated to a six-speed autobox, but maximum power is up from 132kW at 6000rpm to 148kW at 6300rpm, while torque rises from 231Nm at 4000 to 250Nm at 4250.

The output hikes are made possible by 'GDi' direct fuel injection and dual continuously variable valve timing that improves engine breathing on both the intake and exhaust sides.

As before, the Optima is offered with only one specification level and it has everything that you're likely to long for.

The standard amenities list includes dual zone climate control, automatic de-fogging, cruise control, panoramic three-piece glass sunroof, leather seats (8-way power adjustable on driver's side) and an Infinity premium sound system.

It's all yours for R336 995, including a five-year/150 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan.

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