In the 2016 Kia Optima, the company’s 2.0 liter turbocharged direct-injected four-cylinder engine is somewhat de-tuned from previous versions, this one offering up 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
This is down 29 horsepower from the 2015 model. Torque is only down 9 pounds of twist, but available much lower in the rev range. The key upshots here are that it now runs happier on regular unleaded fuel and it gets an extra 1-2 mpg. In the Kia Optima this engine is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The engine has most of the modern tools to crank out the power from variable dual-overhead cam timing to direct fuel injection. The turbocharger unit itself is easy to see here with the engine cover off, mounted up top at the rear.
Also seen up here is a pretty thick insulating cap that sits on top of its fuel-pressure regulator for the direct-injection. The insulator isn’t seen with the engine cover on, and is mostly there to keep fuel cool from the nearby turbocharger in addition to sound attenuation.
Airflow starts up front behind the grille and routed to the air filter box. From there it heads back into the turbocharger, then up and back forward through an insulated aluminum pipe. Seen here, boost is managed with a bypass valve on its way to the inter-cooler, but there’s also exhaust side waste gate.
The Kia Optima still uses an old school air-to-air inter-cooler you can see mounted next to, not in front of, the radiator just ahead of the battery. From there, air heads up to the drive-by-wire throttle-body and into the engine through a composite plastic intake manifold.
Looking around the engine bay, this is a pretty clean installation with service items easily recognized and located. On the passenger side are radiator cap, oil dipstick, coolant and washer reservoirs all in the same zone.
On the driver side up front are the air filter box, battery and terminals, the ECU as well as the brake master cylinder all with easy reach and access. One of the things I think very cool is how easy it is to remove and change the air filter.
You simply snap the cover door off, flip a couple levers and the filter slides right out like a drawer. No scraping knuckles or punching fingers on retainer clips buried back where ya can see them and having to wrestle half the air box away to get to it. Nice.
So we’ve established that do it yourself servicing is a snap here. Now while it’s unlikely this car will see a big draw for aftermarket tuners and modifications, the good news here is that the hardware is still pretty basic and old-school in its design.
This means changing out turbochargers, intake plumbing, and an inter-cooler is still a pretty straight forward thing unlike a lot of the latest turbocharged vehicles coming to market.