If you're looking for seating space for five, the 2014 Kia Optima is actually one of the roomier sedans in its class. And while its interior accommodations have gotten even better this year, there are still a few packaging issues that keep it from being at the top in this category.
In the past, we've found the Optima's front perches to be too short and flat for even average-sized men, with a lack of support in the lower cushions for longer trips. For 2014, the seats have been improved, with new contouring. In EX versions you do get power controls and greater adjustability. And at the top of the line, in the EX-L model, you get plush Nappa leather upholstery.
In back, there's actually enough width in back for three across, provided your passengers aren't too tall or wide, and there's plenty of legroom as well as just enough headroom for taller adults. The only caution we've noted is that you might need to duck your head around the doorline's cut for the long-sloping roofline.
On EX and SX models, you can get heated and cooled front seats—as well as heated back seats. They're all pleasant-surprise features not typically found in this sort of affordable mid-size car.
In past model years, we've appreciated the way the Optima rides--firmly, but with just enough damping to filter out most bumps and caorse surfaces.
The trims and materials in the 2014 Optima can be a bit drab at the base model, but that's the case in this entire class. Move up even to EX models and you get leather trim and wood interior accents.SX-T models get brushed metal trim and metal pedals, while top SX-L (Limited) models get more supple Nappa leather that's truly a class above.
Although the Optima's instrument panel, which is canted slightly toward the driver, gets a new TFT instrument panel display and eight-inch navigation system in some models, there's still a lot to like about its simplicity--as it doesn't resort to a complicated controller or system of menus.