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Car Review

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid: Routine Maintenance

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author photo by Jesse Rhodes

Two cars in one week--first the Mini, and now our long-term 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid needed an oil change. It was a Thursday afternoon when I went online to request a service appointment for the following Tuesday at Ed Voyles Kia in metro Atlanta. I received email confirmation from the Internet Manager almost immediately, and a friendly phone call confirming the Tuesday appointment from the Service Manager within 24 hours. I appreciated that I wasn't left to wonder whether my request had been received.

When I first pulled onto the property a few days later, I was a bit confounded about where to check in. As a first-timer, I was hoping a big sign would point the way to the service entrance. There was no one around to ask, so I drove around to the rear of the building and tentatively pulled into what I thought was the correct set of doors. (I found out later that I had entered backwards, but I was given a pass because a uniform delivery truck was blocking the entrance from the front.)

So, once inside the garage, I was greeted by a gregarious young man with an infectious smile. He took my information, and then led me to the waiting room. He offered me coffee and water, and then left me to set up my computer at one of the three available workstations (and yes, there's free Wi-Fi). Moments later, the Service Manager came in to the waiting area to introduce himself to me and to let me know I would be finished up in about an hour.

I was not overly impressed by the general appearance of the dealership; it seemed outdated and in need of a branding infusion to synch up with the modern Kia image. However, it turns out that this Kia dealer is temporarily occupying what used to be a dealership for another brand. The Ed Voyles team will only be in this facility until a larger one can be located or built.

Where this dealership really won me over was in the sphere of customer service. I'm so accustomed to being told my car will be finished in an hour, only to have the work drag on well beyond that. When the service manager came in almost exactly at the hour mark to tell me the car was ready, I'm pretty sure the delighted surprise registered on my face.

We went to his office, where he proceeded to walk me through all the checkpoints that the technician had covered. It should be noted: I had initially asked for an oil change and tire rotation. I gave a good deal of latitude by adding, "...and any other things that are needed." It wasn't intentionally a test, but at a lot of service centers I've gone to, it often resulted in pushy upselling of parts and services that really weren't needed.

Anyway, no monkey business here. Oil change, check. Tire rotation, check. Tire pressure, a.o.k. All other systems - go. That was it. Nothing else recommended, nothing else sold. (Well done, guys.)

I expected to make the trek across the intake bays to the cashier next. That's how it's typically done, right? Not so at Ed Voyles Kia. I was happily surprised to learn that the service manager could accept payment right at his computer. Easy breezy, and at only $54.42, it was pretty cheap, too. When I commented about how nice that was, he said, "We find it saves time, and also it's more convenient in case the customer has any questions before they leave the dealership."

I have to say, I'm a fan of the concept.

So, no points deducted for the building, since it's a temporary situation (although a directional sign for the service entrance would really help). Major points awarded for attention to details and for truly great customer service. I heartily recommend this dealer for Kia service in the Atlanta area.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.