SOLID RIDE WITH POWER TO SPARE AND EXCELLENT FUEL ECONOMY

In terms of driving characteristics, the Optima is very much in keeping with the Hyundai Sonata, which shares the same platform. The cabin is quiet and the drive is smooth, with the Optima feeling substantial (though not big) out on the road.

Handling isn’t what we’d call sporty, but is good for the mid-size sedan crowd. EX models benefit from larger 17-inch alloy wheels and wider 215 tires, although the low-budget Nexen rubber doesn’t do much to aid in cornering. Steering feel is generally good and is weighted quite heavily, although, like the Sonata, the electric power steering system is initially vague, with a split-second delay (or about an inch of movement) where there’s very little response.

Power is more than adequate, with 200 ponies standard from the direct-injection 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Importantly, this isn’t some strung-out torqueless four-banger either with a total of 186 ft-lbs available at 4500 rpm. Combined with either a six-speed manual (base trim LX models only), or a 6-speed automatic the new powerplant is both efficient and capable, delivering some of the best acceleration in its class (thanks to having the most power of its competitors) while also delivering fuel economy numbers that tie its Sonata sibling with best-in-class fuel economy of 24/35-mpg (city/hwy). And better yet, those numbers are actually achievable in real-world driving.

Another big reason for the notable acceleration and fuel economy is how light the Optima is with a 3,200 lb cub weight. And yet what’s so surprising is how solid it feels on the road.

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