The Kia Optima has been around since 2001. It is a 5 passenger, midsize sedan that has been placed to be comparable with the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, and the Honda Accord. Good value, with a large list of standard features at a relatively low price has been a hallmark of the Optima since its inception. The design is now much more of a stand out on the road than its somewhat bland predecessor.
For 2011, the Optima follows the general trend of midsize sedans and has been redesigned as a larger overall vehicle, which sits lower to the ground. Kia offers it in 3 available trim levels. The base model is the LX, a sportier SX, and the upscale EX with three available drive train options available.
Engines for the optima are 2.4 liter, four cylinders. They can be selected in either a naturally aspirated 200HP model, a turbocharged variant making 274 horsepower, and early next year, a hybrid version will be available. All engines are available with either a 6 speed manual or 6 speed automatic transmission. The transmission for the hybrid will be tuned specifically for hybrid duty.
Body styles: Sedan
Engines: 2.0L I-4, 2.4L I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Models: LX, SX, EX
For the first time since it first went on sale, the Optima gets a dramatic restyle. The larger 2011 Optima now looks more luxurious and more youthful. Power comes from three new sources — two direct injection four-cylinders and the upcoming hybrid. The Optima’s new the base engine, with an estimated 200 horses, has more power than the outgoing V-6 does (194 hp).
The 2011 Optima sports an all-new exterior on a three-inch-longer wheelbase. The new design is smooth and sporty, and is a radical departure from the Optima it is replacing. This isn’t a bad thing considering the last Optima didn’t stand out much at all.
Plenty of standard features inside, including tilt/telescoping wheel, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, AMFM/CD with three months of free satellite radio, and an auxiliary jack. Panoramic sunroof, leather seats, and heated/cooled seats are optional.
The biggest news here is the SX model, said to be the sportiest of the trio. It comes with the 274-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo four and, while it doesn’t come with a manual transmission, it does come with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The Optima has a new suspension as well, which should improve ride both on the highway in addition to when the going gets twisty.
Six airbags are standard for the Optima: dual front, front-seat-mounted side, and full-length side curtains. Four-wheel ABS, brake assist system, stability control, traction control, hill assist control, and tire-pressure monitoring are standard as well.
NOT YET RATED
- Great styling
- Powerful engines
- Sporty SX model
- Upscale interior
- No manual on SX model
Finally stands out
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Camry
- Nissan Altima
- Ford Fusion