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2013 Kia Optima SXL Long-Term Update 3

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/30/2014 Motor Trend Staff, Emiliana Sandoval

If you're reading this, you're probably a guy, because 90-plus percent of MT's readership is male. And you probably don't wear nail polish. (Yes, this is relevant to the Optima. Refrain from vitriol for a few seconds.) It takes a steady hand and a bump-free environment to apply polish without spilling it or smearing your nails. During a recent trip to Las Vegas, my friend Heather gave herself a full mani -- that's a base coat, two coats of polish, and top coat -- while sitting pretty in the passenger seat. The sedan's ride quality on Interstate 15 was smooth and controlled enough that Heather made no mistakes, and I was grateful that glittery purple polish didn't end up all over the heated, leather-wrapped seat. Speaking of seats, our last long-term Optima was the target of several complaints about flat, hard seats, but I find the seats in this long-termer very comfortable and highly customizable. I had no complaints on the five-hour drive. The rear heated passenger seats are a nice touch, too.

2013 Kia Optima SXL Long-Term Update 3

2013 Kia Optima SXL© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Kia Optima SXL The trip was also the perfect opportunity to use the navigation system. The system oddly allows you to punch in a destination from the driver's seat while moving. (Many systems don't, because obviously typing while driving is unsafe, and of course we at MT do not advocate it.) Heather typed in our destination without needing instructions, as the touch-screen system is super-intuitive, and up popped our route, with a little checkered flag at the Mandalay Bay Hotel signifying the end of our road.

I like the split screen setting, which shows your current road on the left half of the screen and a list of the upcoming exits or your next steps on the right, depending how close you are to your next move. A line at the top left tells you how far you have to go down to tenths of a mile, and how long it'll take you to get there in hours and minutes. I dislike the arrival time guesstimate, because in the real world you're never driving at ideal speeds in traffic-free conditions. If you're slowed to a halt the estimate doesn't change, and the number just sits there, mocking you. Another nit: It takes a few minutes for the traffic to link up to the satellite and show on the screen. If you're turning directly onto a freeway, as I do when leaving my apartment, you can drive right into a jam before the screen shows you it's there.

© Provided by MotorTrend The voice guidance is given in a tinny, electronic woman's voice, decidedly downmarket for an otherwise upmarket nav system. The driver's side speaker half-mutes itself when she's talking so can hear better, which creates a weird temporary sound effect when I'm blasting the 1st Wave on XM Satellite radio, but it's helpful. There's no missing out on what she's saying or fiddling with the volume knob or volume steering buttons to turn down the music. If you wander off-course the system quickly reorients you, and it didn't once lead us astray during our trip. The system is quick to point out when there's congestion ahead by warning you in a monotone, with a pop-up screen asking if you want to preview or go immediately to an alternate route. I usually hit the NO tab and hope I'm done with it, but nope. Sometimes in as few as 10 seconds the system flatly warns again of "Congestion ahead." It seems to have no rhyme or reason for how often it warns you. I counted 9 warnings in two minutes once -- with Heather and I yelling at the voice to STFU by the eighth one - then nothing for another two minutes, even though the congestion stayed the same. Though the setting may be tweakable, it would be nice if the system weren't so aggressive when in use.

In my last update, I complained about Kia not including as standard the cable needed to sync music from my iPhone4 to the stereo. Rather than shell out $30 at a dealership, I went rogue and ordered a compatible $8.11 cable from Amazon. Now the interface works like a charm, immediately syncing my music. But the cable won't accommodate my husband's iPhone5. 2013 Kia Optima SXL© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Kia Optima SXL

Our Car
Service life9 mo/12,160 mi
EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ22/34/26 mpg
CO2 emissions0.86 lb/mi
Energy consumption150 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problemsNone
Maintenance cost$53.55 (oil change, inspection)
Normal-wear cost$0

2013 Kia Optima SXL© Provided by MotorTrend 2013 Kia Optima SXL

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