A bit of grime is usually par for the course when running a vehicle for a long time. I’m not saying we go out of our way to get them filthy, but particularly at this time of year it’s nigh-on impossible to keep a car clean if you plan to take or leave it anywhere other than your garage.

 That has certainly been the case with the Kia. I’ll freely admit that I’d let the cleaning side of things slide and it had become utterly filthy. What’s more, a few days of standing in unpleasant weather while another car briefly took its place meant the brake discs were wearing a solid coat of rust.

Cue a trip to the local car wash for a full-on inside and out rinse. I stopped to check all four corners en route, such was the grumbling noise from the brakes, but some liberal use was all that was required to quieten them down.

As it became cleaner, I sat gazing at the Optima and was reminded of the fact that it’s a seriously handsome car. I’m particularly fond of the fastback shape in between the back passenger window and the rear screen. Rarely do you see a flourish like that on a saloon, let alone a budget one, and it proves that Kia is stretching its legs on the styling front.