Toyota Camry or Kia Optima - the sales leader in the business class segment or the new generation of the Korean sedan? Which would you choose?
For many years, the Japanese car from Toyota has been the market leader. And the majority of competitors do not like it. An amazing paradox! Every year there is a car that positions itself as a competitor to the Camry, but despite their advantages in design or functionality, they can not dislodge the "Japanese" from the pedestal.
Meanwhile, the Toyota Camry manages to remain the No. 1 sedan, although the car has been unchanged since 2014. - That's when the model was restyled. Let's make an objective comparison and see if the sales statistics point to the winner or the Optima is still better than the competitor.
The 2014-2015 restyling transformed the Camry. The previous generation XV40 had a sloping, rounded body and soft lines. The car looked impressive, but not aggressive. The Camry 50 got a more angular body, and the restyling further emphasized the sharpness of the elements.
The large LED headlights have become more relief, adding seriousness to the already formidable appearance. The geometry of the air intake on the front bumper has changed - it has become wider.
The rear part of the body has also been upgraded. Similar to the front optics, the rear headlights became more angular.
The profile of the car is almost unchanged after the restyling. The whole exterior looks noble, but restrained. Not a single superfluous line.
The fourth generation Kia Optima is very similar to itself in the 3rd generation. But at the same time, the new car does not have a single body part from the previous modification.
The wheelbase of the new Optima has increased by 10 cm, which visually made the car longer. The only noticeable change is on the side - there was added glass behind the rear door, which was not present in the 3rd generation.
We cannot say that the updated design has made the car more sporty or aggressive. There is no unnecessary sharpness of lines, but the exterior has become more modern.
The radiator grille, which is a continuation of the headlights, has become narrower, which visually "lowered" the car.
The panoramic roof, one of the main body enhancements in the Kia Optima, remains. And in the maximum versions, a sunroof is available, opening up a gorgeous view for the passengers in the second row.
Interior and options
Toyota Camry interior is simple and presentable. Nevertheless, it contains a lot of controversial points. It is trimmed with high-quality leather pleasant to look at. But already accustomed plastic inserts under wood look repulsive. A feeling of falseness is created.
The second controversial point is the inorganic combination of buttons. They are arranged ergonomically, but as if taken from different cars. There is no complete image, no harmony in the design of the central console.
However, all the keys are large and the inscriptions are clearly legible. This will allow you to hit the right button with your eyes closed.
The dashboard has a small on-board computer and well readable dials. At night, however, the car has a blue backlight, against which the white numbers become barely distinguishable.
The driver's seat is very comfortable and has many height and tilt settings. There is no clear lateral support, which allows large drivers to feel comfortable and sit back floppily in the seat.
Toyota Camry 2017 multimedia display is no longer up to date. It is functional and simple enough, but the reaction speed and graphics noticeably "lame".
If you do not cling to the details, in general, the interior design of the Camry corresponds to the status of the car. It looks solid and expensive. But there are plenty of 2018 competitors ready to offer a more modern and organic interior style. One of them is the 2017 Kia Optima.
The 4th generation Optima's interior looks more organic and modern. Its design is suspiciously reminiscent of the German interior. But this is not surprising, since German specialists worked on the car.
All the keys and controls are in harmony and combined with quality finishing materials. Therefore, when you get into the car and look at the interior trim, you don't get the feeling for a second that you have been cheated and taken more money than the car is worth.
In expensive configurations, in the center there is an 8-inch display with excellent color rendering and response. It is worth noting the convenient location - the display is in the upper sector of the central panel, and it is more convenient for the driver.
The dashboard has a 4-inch on-board computer and two round dials with clearly distinguishable signs.
The ergonomics of the driver's seat is as good as the Camry, and you can drive several hundred kilometers in the seat. The front seats are what make the Optima stand out from the competition. Both seats are electric, heated and ventilated.
Next to the gearshift lever there is a button of electric handbrake and a key that turns on the Drive Mode system.
On the background of Toyota Camry with its "pseudo tree" and still mechanical "handbrake" Optima looks more modern and stylish. But interior design is not what Camry emphasizes, attracting buyers. Its strength lies in the second row.
Comfortable upholstered sofas with adjustable backrest angle are complemented by a huge capacity. No matter how hard the second-row passenger tries, he will never reach the front seat with his knees.
It's fair to say that in Kia there is no less space for legs, and the passenger can also sit back and relax.
But if you compare with Toyota, the Optima has a very low ceiling. For the sake of the exterior design, the engineers made a low sloping roof, sacrificing comfort in the cabin.
In addition to the air deflectors there are climate control and multimedia buttons on the back seat of the Camry. The keys are built into the armrest.
The set of options will please buyers in both models. In addition to the already standard light and rain sensors, heated windshield and blind spot monitoring system, which every self-respecting modern business sedan has, the cars have an all-around vision system. The Camry and Optima have four cameras around the perimeter of the car, projecting the image onto the screen. In addition, the cars are equipped with cruise control and lane-keeping systems. But there is something that makes the Optima stand out from the competition - a panoramic sunroof and an intelligent automatic parking system.
Kia has a power-operated automatic trunk opening system. True, the drive allows opening it only halfway. The rest is done manually.
The volume of the trunk is about the same. But technically the Toyota is inferior: 506 liters vs. 510 liters for the 2016 Kia Optima.
Driveability and dynamics
As for the suspension, the engineers of the Toyota Camry have done serious work. Camry 40, as well as the prestyled version of "fifties" differed by a rigid suspension, which is unacceptable for the business class. The new model has a soft and energy-efficient running gear, which smoothly and unnoticeably for the passengers absorbs all the bumps.
The Kia test showed that its suspension is also softer, but it has an interesting property. It softly and accurately reflects every bump, letting the passengers know about them. We are not speaking about any bumps. But the motion over the bumps is felt stronger, than in the competitor's cabin.
When determining what to buy, one cannot ignore the clarity of the steering wheel and the dynamics. The Toyota's steering wheel is cotton-picking. It is slow to react to the driver's movement, and the body is bogged down when turning. The car reminds a motor ship. It doesn't skid, the suspension keeps the car in the turn, but does it "sleepily".
In contrast to it Kia is friskier. But the steering wheel fails at the zero mark. It is not clear enough even in GT Line configuration. Only the GT complete set can change quality of steering. The mode "Drive Mode" influences only the work of the engine. The behavior of the suspension and steering remains the same.
Though Optima seems to be more vigorous, the comparative test showed that Toyota is more dynamic. The GT set is an exception.
Features and prices
The Optima or Magentis, as it is called in Europe, is available with 3 types of engines:
1. The two-liter 150-horsepower unit;
2. 2.4-liter motor with 188 hp;
3. 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 245 hp.
The six-speed "mechanics" is available only on the basic version with the 2-liter engine. The other versions are equipped with a six-speed gearbox.
Deciding what to choose, it is better to settle on the engine 2.4 liters or turbocharged 2.0 liters. The Optima is a heavy car that requires extra power.
Toyota Camry in the 2015 body is offered with engines of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 liters. The last type of V6 engine produces 249 hp. All configurations are equipped with a 6ACP.
Which is better: Kia or Toyota? The parameters of the cars are similar in many ways: optional equipment, trunk, power and solidity of the interior. But if you choose a car for the driver, the Optima is better. And the Toyota is more comfortable on the second row. Therefore, for a cab of the premium class more often choose the Camry. Besides the Japanese reliability does its job!
But in the opposition of Kia vs Toyota, the "Koreans" confidently win in price. Both base and final configuration of the "Japanese" are much more expensive than its competitor. Despite this, the Camry remains the sales leader in its segment. And what to buy - decide for yourself! Both cars are worthy of customers' attention.