Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Business

The Daily Drivers: 2013 Kia Optima SXL delivers on style

When Kia introduced the redesigned Optima as a 2011 model, its dramatic styling immediately set it apart in the uber-competitive midsize sedan category. Now, for 2013, Kia rolls out the new top-of-the-line Limited trim. After driving the SXL, we're not hesitant to say: This is one of the most stylish sedans on the road ­— at any price.

Appearance: The core design remains unchanged, but the Limited trim — that's the "L" in SXL — brings the bling. You get lots of chrome — bordering the black-gloss mesh grille, in trim pieces such as the rear-tip spoiler, in the dual chrome-tipped exhausts and in the 18-inch wheels. Add in LED daylight running lights, saucy red brake calibers and shimmering Snow White Pearl paint (one of only three SXL colors, along with Ebony Black and Titanium Silver) and it's quite the visual statement.

Performance: The 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder GDI with turbo pumps out 274 horsepower without a hint of turbo lag or torque steer in the front-wheel-drive Optima. It's enough to make you check under the hood to make sure it's not a bigger V-6 engine. The sport-tuned suspension and other SXL chassis tweaks produce a refined ride and taut handling. The 6-speed Sportmatic transmission shifts smoothly and also has paddle shifters.

Interior: It doesn't suffer from Bland Sedan Syndrome. In appearance, it seems lifted from a more expensive car, with an angled console and lots of leather and wood accents. The fit and finish are good, with soft-touch materials and, where there's plastic, still a quality surface. Our SXL came with comfortable white Nappa leather seats that are heated and cooled for the front and heated for the rear. There's also white leather in the door panels and center console. Is this really a Kia? The dual-pane panoramic sunroof, along with all that white leather, brightened the cabin. We liked the leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood accent at the top; a luxury touch, but some may find it too slick. The head- and legroom are generally good, although taller passengers will feel cramped in the rear seat because of the sloping roofline, which is part of the price you pay for styling and aerodynamics. Our tester came with the upgraded navigation with Sirius Traffic — which replaces the standard UVO infotainment system — and with it a rearview camera. The SXL also has a Smart Key remote with push-button start; keep your keys in your pocket or purse.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Paint: White used to be boring. No longer. Kia's pearl finish is one of the nicer whites.

Styling: A friend likened it to a Jaguar. It just looks expensive.

Cabin: Stylish inside, too, with details like a cooling glove box.

Lyra Solochek

Lights: LED running lights with bright HID auto-leveling headlights.

View: The rear panel of the sunroof tilts up.

Head-turner: One of the sharpest looking cars on the road.

The bottom line: In the SXL trim, the loaded-with-options Kia Optima is luxury within reach. How many family sedans are head-turners? We think even parking valets will be impressed.







     
Comments
Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Q: I have become very disillusioned with my telecommuting job. I accepted this position about a year ago because I liked the idea of working from home. However, I now have so many assignments that I can barely keep up. I was recently given a huge pro...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

DUNEDIN — The Pinellas County Commission pulled the final trigger Tuesday on dedicating $41.7 million in bed taxes for upgrades to the Toronto Blue Jays’ stadium and spring training facilities, a pledge that amounts to covering more than half of the ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida small business owners say their top concern is a lack of skilled workers, according to a recent survey by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Workforce quality has been a recurring issue for small businesses, according to previous surveys. In th...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

TAMPA — The world’s biggest hotel company already has 29 properties in the Tampa Bay area, but its CEO says a plan to put more than 1,400 rooms in three Marriott-branded hotels within a few blocks of each other says something about how Tampa is evolv...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

If you’ve ever complained about other motorists on the road, you may have been justified. The Sunshine State ranked No. 8 on GasBuddy.com’s list of states with the most aggressive drivers."Our findings indicate that states with densely populated citi...
Updated: 10 hours ago
First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

Amazon is taking the growing curb-side delivery trend a step further — now shoppers don’t even have to be inside their cars to get their items.The online retailer announced Tuesday it has begun delivering packages to newer cars with OnStar service in...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

WASHINGTON — The company formerly known as Yahoo is paying a $35 million fine to resolve federal regulators’ charges that the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history. The Securiti...
Published: 04/24/18
The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

"Stay thirsty, my friends," the most interesting man in the world is coming to Tampa to tend bar on Friday. Jonathan Goldsmith, the face that launched a thousand memes, will be slinging cocktails at Tampa’s trendy Hall on Franklin, the food hall anno...
Published: 04/24/18
So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

NEW PORT RICHEY – The typical tourist in Pasco County this year most likely is a Floridian.But there are lots of Canadians here as well. Nearly 80 percent drove, rather than flew, to the region. Forty percent stayed in hotels, but more than a quarter...
Published: 04/24/18
Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

NEW PORT RICHEY – Hockey pucks could replace lacrosse balls as the required sports equipment for the holiday tourism season in Wesley Chapel.The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, founded by Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, is seek...
Published: 04/24/18