The new Kia Optima saloon is now on sale in the UK, from £21,495.
Four versions are available, all powered by an upgraded Euro 6 version of Kia's efficient 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine, now paired with either a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed (7DCT) dual-clutch auto transmission.
The vehicle has a strong technology offering, with a wireless charger for mobile devices located in the base of the centre console, and an optional 360-degree Around View Monitor which, through four strategically mounted cameras, gives the driver a bird's-eye view when manoeuvring, while a Smart Park Assist System automatically steers the car in and out of parallel or perpendicular parking slots.
There is the option of Autonomous Emergency Braking and Bi-Xenon Dynamic Bending Headlights, which sweep the road in line with steering wheel movements, plus High Beam Assist to switch the lamps between full and dipped beam automatically.
Lane Keep Assist, Speed Limit Information Function, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which warns drivers about to pull out of a perpendicular parking space into the path of a vehicle approaching from the side, are also available.
The Optima's 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel engine now develops an improved 139bhp.
With the Idle Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop/start system as standard, CO2 emissions of manual models are 14% lower than before at 110g/km, while fuel economy improves to 67.3mpg. The new 7DCT dual-clutch auto gearbox, which replaces the previous six-speed torque converter unit., sees emissions drop 25%, to 116g/km, while fuel economy is now 64.2mpg.
As a result, benefit-in-kind taxation in manuals falls by three tax bands, while for the 7DCT the reduction is 42g/km and eight tax bands.
A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Optima, offering a commuter-friendly all-electric drive range with even lower emissions and greater taxation advantages, will be added later in 2016.