By Michael Andre Adams
If you’ve ever visited Dallas, Texas, then I’m sure you’ve heard locals refer to other locals as “A $30,000 millionaire.”
The reference makes note of someone with champagne taste and Heineken purchasing power. Instead of purchasing the premium beer, he or she reaches for the low end champagne, as in Andre, Frexinet, etc.. Hearing it said for the first time was more than humorous. Nevertheless, being from Los Angeles, I understand.
Recently, I tested the $22,495 Kia Optima at the EX trim level. Delivered in metal bronze, with sand colored leather trimmed interior, it bares a striking resemblance to a car that could easily sell for one and half to double its price! In fact, Optima’s angular lines are very reminiscent of Jaguar’s 2011 XF, at $52,500 to $79,600. Sound too good to be true? Well then see for yourself when you click on the links above and compare. Although priced worlds apart, each brings to mind the words sexy and sleek Harlem style.
In a further comparison, Optima with its 17-inch rims, six speed transmissions and standard with a 2.4 liter gas direct inject four cylinder engine, yields an EPA rating of 24 miles per gallon in the city, with 34 on the highway. Sitting on a set of 18′s, the big, bodacious Jag–with its 5.0 liter V8, yields16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway. With gas being what it is, will that be a six pack of Heinekin for you from the deli on 122nd Street, or a bottle of Perrier Jouet from Best Market on 119th Street?
Of particular note, you do get 195.3 exterior inches in the Jag, versus 190.7 in the Optima. Optima shoots back with 39.9 inches of front passenger headroom and 57.2 inches of front passenger shoulder room, versus Jag’s 37.1 inches of headroom and 56.9 inches of shoulder room for its front seat passengers. As it relates to efficiency, Jag’s XF weighs in between 4,067 and 5,071 while Optima shows up at a light and lean 3,223 pounds. And just as the XF offers a Supercharged version with a more powerful 510 horsepower engine, Optima takes it up a notch from 200 horses under the hood to 274 horses at the EX Turbo and SX trim levels. I guess that boils down to size or purse strings—I’m just saying.
Aside from Optima’s cut and trim exterior lines, its stylish, clean interior design, I really appreciated the turning radius. I have a really tight driveway, which in many less than performing vehicles, I find myself having to swing around, back up and reposition the vehicle in order to enter the garage. Not in the Optima!
As for the ride, it’s smooth and comfortable. Even with a 200 horsepower engine, never once did I feel a lack of power from the four cylinder, fuel efficient engine.
To the $22,495 base price of the Optima EX, add $2,000 for the Technology Package to include navigation, back-up camera, Sirrius Traffic and an 8-speaker audio system with iPod integration. Another $2,250 will get you a really cool panoramic sunroof that provides air and sun to the front passengers and plenty of light from all angles to rear seat passenger. Altogether with the sand interior, the natural lighting makes it feel as though you’re totally outdoors. Your $2,250 also gets a power seat for the front passenger, heated and cooled seats for driver and passenger, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel.
No disrespect to Kia at all, but can you see why for a total of $27,440, I couldn’t help but make reference to “The $30,000 millionaire?” In the words of some rapper, “How ya living?”