From £18,9456

Price, fuel economy and range, finance and depreciation

Kia has divided the Optima range into three levels (1, 2 and 3), but the real choice is between the identically priced 2 Tech and 2 Luxe. These are differentiated by their standard kit. The Luxe has 18in alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof and improved leather trim, while the Tech features a better stereo and touchscreen sat-nav.At £21,695, the 2 Tech on test puts the Optima on the front foot against class leaders from VW, Ford and Skoda, but more affordable rivals from Peugeot, Mazda and Hyundai are all in the Kia’s ballpark.

The current depreciation forecast expects the Optima to hold up slightly better than the Mondeo – a likely testament to its exemplary seven-year, 100,000-mile (and transferable) warranty.

The Optima’s 128g/km CO2 rating is broadly consistent with its output and the competition, but if this is one of your defining buying criteria, it is possible to do better.