You can tell a manufacturer is confident in its product when it puts independent consumer reviews on its website.
Kia is the first vehicle manufacturer to publish such unfiltered, independently-verified owner reviews – making itself openly accountable to its customers in a partnership with Revoo, the independent third party review website.
More than 3,000 customer reviews of Kia cars have been posted to the company’s website, including 50 reviews of the Optima which we have on long-term test.
Overall, drivers score the Optima 9/10, with the lowest mark of 8.4 for fuel economy (and I have shown in previous tests that the Optima can hit its predicted economy figure, so shortfalls are down to the driver, not the car in my opinion).
Most comments are glowing, particularly when it comes to design, boot space and general value for money. Negative points, apart from the odd fuel economy remark, include the lack of a rear wiper, the fact that the satellite navigation doesn’t take full postcodes, the handbrake being too far to the left and the need for hooks in the boot to stop shopping rolling around.
It is a great initiative for two reasons. Firstly, it gives customers confidence in the product (you can even submit questions to other Kia drivers) and secondly, it’s a fantastic customer service and market research tool.
The comments can all go towards future product development and when there is a problem, Kia responds directly to the driver on the site offering advice and support, which also inspires confidence in other users.
It's an initiative that more drivers will be supporting in future, as Kia has just set a new record UK sale with 66,629 cars delivered to customers during 2012 – compared to 53,615 in 2011. This year, it is targeting 70,000.