2011 Kia Optima

LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

2011 kia optima Reviews and News

2011 Kia Optima SX Hp
In an alternate universe, we're tearing through the blissfully serpentine asphalt twisting through Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles; a pull of the steering wheel paddle shifter drops the transmission into second before we enter a sweeping corner. Hard on the brakes, and then back into throttle to power out; we're now three-up in the new turbocharged 2011 Kia Optima SX, and quickly bearing down upon a BMW 5 Series. Sound like a dream? Hardly: the Optima SX hungrily devours challenging corners, and its turbocharged engine backs up its good looks with plenty of bite.
2011 Kia Optima SX Front Three Quarter 2
The 2011 Optima SX is part of an ongoing paradigm shift for Kia. Until very recently, the Korean automaker was content in building the blandest of transportation devices, designed neither to offend nor excite, and priced at bargain-basement levels. Now they're done with that. Over the past year, Kia has introduced disturbingly appealing vehicles at market-beating prices, and doing its best to shake its previously dodgy image. With the Optima SX, Kia has built a car that can legitimately vie for the title of best midsize family sedan on the market.
Let's not pretend about what we're looking at here. Since Hyundai and Kia are corporate bosom buddies, nearly all the hard parts and mechanical bits beneath the skin are shared with the also-new Hyundai Sonata Turbo. As is the case with the base Optima, the chassis features a McPherson strut front suspension, a multi-link setup in back, and a complete alphabet soup of stability aids. The top-of-the-line SX model receives upgraded 12.6-inch front discs, more aggressive damper tuning, and -- most importantly -- the all-new Theta Turbo GDI.
The 2.0-liter direct-injection, DOHC four-cylinder is blessed with both a 9.5:1 compression ratio and and forced induction, the latter provided by a clever new turbocharger package. The design integrates the exhaust manifold and turbo housing into one cast stainless steel piece, which feeds a ducted intercooler, and helps bring power up to 274 horsepower at 6000 rpm, and 269 lb-ft of torque starting at 1750 rpm. That's 74 horsepower and a hulking 86 lb-ft of torque over the base engine, but it's also the kind of power that justifies Hyundai/Kia's decision to ditch a V6 option. Paired only with a six-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel, the turbocharged Optima SX is expected to peg the 22/34 mpg (city/highway) mark, giving buyers the best of both worlds in terms of fuel economy and power.
With two mechanically similar cars, what is Kia's value proposition? A European air in terms of chassis tuning, appearance, and feel. In place of the Sonata's swoopy, highly-styled sheet metal, the Optima's exterior is slab-sided, smooth and sleek. It wears Kia's corporate grille nicely, and the SX trim throws in a lowered front fascia and side skirts. Nineteen-inch machined face aluminum wheels add an upscale look to the car without overwhelming its proportions. There are neat details sprinkled around -- note, for instance, the top of the windshield, which mirrors both the shape of the grille and the slick LED taillights. The result is an honestly handsome sedan some could easily mistake as the latest Saab or Audi offering from afar.
2011 Kia Optima SX Front End 2
Fittingly, the interior is less flamboyant more strapped down than its platform-mate and presents a refined, European aesthetic. Exceptionally high-quality materials run throughout, with soft touch plastics fitted in all the right places. The interior forms are more geometric in comparison to the Sonata's organic lines, but French-stitched seams around the instrument cluster and center stack, well-designed switchgear, and nicely finished seating surfaces delight. A navigation screen placed at the top of an angled center stack controls multimedia and phone integration, while buttons sorted beneath are tied to audio and climate control systems.
Owners may enjoy having these widgets present in the car, but they'll likely be more surprised by how good the Optima SX is to drive. Power comes on strong with no hint of turbo lag, and the transmission quickly finds the proper gear for rapid acceleration when you goose the throttle. In comparison to some of its V-6-powered competitors, the Optima's turbo-four feels slightly harsh, but that's the price paid for less weight and better fuel economy. Still, it's able to keep pace with six-cylinder cars in terms of acceleration. The Optima SX is downright quick, and we were floated an unofficial 0-60 mph time of roughly 6.5 seconds.
You'd expect a chassis in this segment to protest the least bit of spirited driving, but that isn't the case. The Optima is quite composed, even when its suspension is unloaded in a tight corner. Ride quality is typical of the new Kia -- tuned for a more sporting feel and borderline stiff -- but aside from harsh impacts on nasty potholes, the car is quite comfortable. On-center feel is commendable and the electric power steering is tuned for just the right amount of feedback. Understeer only pops up at the limit of adhesion, but it appears in a predictable manner that inspires confidence.
2011 Kia Optima SX Front Three Quarters
As is often the case with front-wheel-drive cars packing big portions of power, putting all that grunt to the ground can be an issue. Kia has tuned the traction control software to carefully modulate torque during wheelslip, allowing the car to launch gracefully without the stereotypical wild wheel spin and awkward ignition cuts. Turn it off, however, and tire smoke and mild torque steer are entirely possible.
Perhaps most telling is our mindset after driving the Optima SX for an entire day. This is a 3,385-pound, four-door, five-passenger family sedan that stickers at $25,950, not a compact hot hatch designed to witness endless autocross abuse. Even so, it's as much fun to toss about as a smaller offering, and it's easy to forget just what Kia's true intentions are. We often found ourselves mulling quicker gearchanges or slightly more aggressive exhaust notes and suspension tuning, but this is by far one of the most engaging midsize sedans presently on the market.
The Optima SX isn't born from the Kia oft placed at the butt of automotive jokes for the last decade or so. Its mixture of speed, style, and sophistication is a quantum leap for the brand. If Kia covered this car's emblems, owners of upscale brands wouldn't hesitate to take a second look. If cars like this become the norm for the automaker, however, they won't have to hide that badge for much longer.
2011 Kia Optima Promo
After decades of watching value-conscious automakers fail to transition their show cars' looks to the showroom floor, we've been brainwashed into thinking that high style must cost a fortune.
2011 Kia Optima Front Three Quarters
Kia begs to differ. The 2011 Optima is a cleanly designed, elegant sedan that's missing not a pinch of visual appeal due to cost-cutting. Its roofline is worthy of a Jaguar, and its proportions are phenomenal. In fact, aside from its me-too fender vents, it looks unlike any other car on the road, and it's easily the best-looking car in its class.
Going up against the Stay Puft Marshmallow Honda Accord and the frumpy Toyota Camry, that isn't saying much. But remember, the sleek Mazda 6, the edgy Ford Fusion, the slick Nissan Altima, and the swoopy Hyundai Sonata also play in this league. And visually, this Kia eats them all for lunch.
Then again, the mid-size-sedan segment is the home of the overachiever -- styling is but one data point. The best cars in this category get tremendous fuel economy (the aforementioned models range from 31 to 35 mpg on the highway), offer roomy back seats, and provide the creamy ride of a Lexus. It's a tall order, especially for a big car starting at about $20,000.
That's where the Optima lags a little behind its peers. Its seats are hard and unsupportive, road noise is abundant over rough surfaces, and some of the lower trim plastics are hard and scratchy. On the other hand, the optional Infinity stereo system sounds great, a touch-screen navigation system is available on all trim levels, and Bluetooth is standard. So Kia isn't forcing buyers into more expensive models just to get the toys they want. That's smart.
Like its Hyundai Sonata sibling, the Optima will eventually be available in both turbo and hybrid models. For now, the only choice is whether you'd like a manual or an automatic transmission strapped to your direct-injected 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. We drove a loaded EX model with Kia's superbly smooth six-speed automatic. The powertrain gets the job done without being obtrusive, body control is impressive, and although it's no Mazda 6 in terms of road feel, the Optima's steering is reasonably well weighted, accurate, and mostly devoid of torque steer.
Add to that a very good driving position and excellent outward visibility, and this new Kia makes a great alternative to the established set. In short, the Optima is now a fully competitive car in a very competitive segment. Each new model from Kia shows that this ambitious car company is quickly catching up to the best. In terms of styling, though, it's safe to say that Kia is now clearly out front. The power to surprise? We'll say.
The Specs
ON SALE: Now
PRICE: $20,500 (est.)
ENGINE: 2.4L I-4, 200 hp, 186 lb-ft
DRIVE: Front-wheel
2011 KIA Optima
2011 KIA Optima
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.
2012 Hyundai Veloster Profile
Consumers are gravitating toward Korean cars, and both Hyundai and Kia benefited from the trend in September of 2011. Kia reported its 13th consecutive month of record sales, while the sales of the new Hyundai Veloster started off reasonably strong. Hyundai: Up 12 Percent – 52,051 Units Sold The new Veloster has only been on sale since mid-September, but Hyundai reports that 838 examples of the three-door car have already been sold in less than two weeks. The Santa Fe and Tucson crossovers also performed strongly this month, selling 6213 and 3724 units, accounting for 67- and 36-percent increases, respectively. The Sonata and Elantra continue to be Hyundai’s top-sellers: 18,181 Sonatas were sold, while 14,386 Elantras were sold for the month of September, and the luxurious Equus exceeded its first full-year sales target, selling 292 units this month, and 2,283 for the year. Kia: Up 18.4 Percent – 35,609 Units Sold In the winner’s circle, the U.S.-built Sorento SUV came out on top once again, selling 11,112 units compared to 10,115 over the same period last year. The Soul shuffled 6666 units off the lot compared to 5,346 sold in September 2011. But most valuable player of the bunch is the Optima: 6191 units in September, tripling the 2,204 units sold in the same period last year. Year-to-date sales for the stylish midsize sedan increased 162 percent, selling 55,737 compared to last year’s 21,222. It comes as no surprise that numbers for the discontinued Borrego continue to dwindle. Only 10 units were sold compared to the 1107 purchased in the same span last year.  Year-to-date sales total 375 vehicles – a 95-percent decrease over the 8,313 units sold last year. The Rio sold 1,638 last year in September, but only 190 units of the all-new 2012 model were sold in September. However, we expect sales numbers to increase in the upcoming months as production is ramped up to full capacity. Forte sales stayed steady, increasing six percent to 5458 units. Source: Kia, Hyundai    
2011 Kia Soul 1024x640
Consumers are jumping on the Seoul train, with both Korean companies continuing to announce all-time record sales, thanks in part to the 2011 Hyundai Elantra, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, and the 2011 Kia Optima. Hyundai sold  59,214 units in May 2011 compared to Kia’s 48,212  vehicles sold.
2011 Bmw 5 Series Crash Test
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed to Ward’s Auto that fatalities on U.S. highways have declined by more than 1,000 people in the last year, validating their earlier estimate of 2010 being a record year for safety.
2011 Kia Optima Front Three Quarter
Nissan isn’t the only automaker planning to build more cars on American soil. Kia has announced that it will build the Optima sedan at its Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia plant in West Point, Georgia. Production of the Optima will begin there this fall.
2011 Kia Optima Sx Left Side View
Another Kia Optima, another car crippled by wretched tires. As with the less powerful Kia Optima EX that we tested in late 2010, this Optima Turbo was shod with Nexen Class Premiere tires. Just as you'd expect, delivering an extra 74 hp to the front wheels does little good when the tires have all the grip of a greased pan. It's a shame that Kia pinched pennies when choosing the tires, because they take away so much from an otherwise excellent car.
2011 Kia Optima Sx Front Left View
As much as we rightfully celebrate cars that offer a good value, it's arguably more impressive to drive something that succeeds purely on its own merits, with no help from the window sticker. That's why I was somewhat glad to see that this attractive car from Kia -- long America's bargain king -- has a big-boy price of $30,840. For that money, you get tons of goodies, including heated and cooled front seats, passive keyless entry, navigation, a backup camera, and a sunroof wide enough to toss a basketball through. Beyond the options list, though, the Optima has evolved into a car that can charge full price.
2011 Kia Optima Sx Left Side Rear View
The new Optima is a very good car. Its exterior styling is starting to grow on me, and I think I'm the only person in our office who did not love its looks from the get-go. And that interior -- wow. It's very attractive and it impressed me from the moment I first sat in a new Optima a couple months ago. Like Joe, I could definitely do without the car's greeting messages, though. It's reminiscent of AOL's famous "you've got mail" greeting from a hundred years ago.
2011 Kia Optima Sx Rear View
I was blown away by a few things about this Optima Turbo.
2011 Kia Optima Sx Left Side View
Nearly a full year has passed since I first saw the 2011 Kia Optima at the 2010 New York auto show and I am still pleasantly surprised by how good it looks inside and out. Perhaps there wasn't more praise piled onto the Optima when it debuted because everyone had already seen the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata and realized the Korean automakers had finally hit their stride, but it's a shame so few people seemed to notice Kia's incredible new sedan.
2011 Kia Optima Sx Front Left View
2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo
2011 Kia Optima Sx Front View

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Suggested Retail Price
$19,200

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2011 Kia Optima
2011 Kia Optima
LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
24 MPG City | 34 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
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1
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2
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3
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4
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5
2011 Ford Fiesta
S FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
28 MPG City | 37 MPG Hwy
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2011 Kia Optima
2011 Kia Optima
LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
$19,200
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
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6
2011 Kia Optima
2011 Kia Optima
LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
200hp
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2011 Kia Optima Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
2.4L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
24 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
35 MPG
Horsepower:
200 hp @ 6300rpm
Torque:
186 ft lb of torque @ 4250rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
60,000 miles / 60 months
Powertrain
100,000 miles / 120 months
Corrosion
100,000 miles / 60 months
Roadside
60,000 miles / 60 months
Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:SWITCHES:BRAKE LIGHT
Summary
Kia Motors Corporation (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2007-2010 Rondo, model year 2007-2011 Sedona, Sorento and Sportage, model year 2010-2011 Soul, model year 2008-2011 Optima, model year 2010 Forte, model year 2007-2009 Amanti, and model year 2009 Borrego vehicles. Originally, in April 2013, Kia recalled 623,658 model year 2007-2010 Rondo and Sportage, model year 2007-2011 Sorento, model year 2007 Sedona, model year 2010-2011 Soul, and model year 2011 Optima vehicles. In September 2013, Kia informed the agency that it was adding an additional 356,719 vehicles to this campaign. The total number of vehicles being recalled is now 980,377. In the affected vehicles, the stop lamp switch may malfunction. A malfunctioning stop lamp switch may cause the brake lights to not illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed or may cause an inability to deactivate the cruise control by depressing the brake pedal. Additionally, a malfunctioning stop lamp switch may also result in intermittent operation of the push-button start feature, affect the operation of the brake-transmission shift interlock feature preventing the shifter from being moved out of the PARK position and cause the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) malfunction light to illuminate.
Consequences
Failure to illuminate the stop lamps during braking or inability to disengage the cruise control could increase the risk of a crash. Additionally, when the ignition is in the 'ON' position, the transmission shifter may be able to be moved out of PARK without first applying the brake. This may lead to unintentional movement of the car which may increase the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Kia will send an interim notification to owners in May 2013. When parts are available, owners will receive a second notification and dealers will replace the stop lamp switch, free of charge. Owners may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's recall campaign number is SC098.
Potential Units Affected
980,377
Notes
Kia Motors Corporation


Recall Date
12-31-1969:21:35:30
Component
EXTERIOR LIGHTING:BRAKE LIGHTS:SWITCH
Summary
Kia Motors Corporation (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2007-2010 Rondo, model year 2007-2011 Sedona, Sorento and Sportage, model year 2010-2011 Soul, model year 2008-2011 Optima, model year 2010 Forte, model year 2007-2009 Amanti, and model year 2009 Borrego vehicles. Originally, in April 2013, Kia recalled 623,658 model year 2007-2010 Rondo and Sportage, model year 2007-2011 Sorento, model year 2007 Sedona, model year 2010-2011 Soul, and model year 2011 Optima vehicles. In September 2013, Kia informed the agency that it was adding an additional 356,719 vehicles to this campaign. The total number of vehicles being recalled is now 980,377. In the affected vehicles, the stop lamp switch may malfunction. A malfunctioning stop lamp switch may cause the brake lights to not illuminate when the brake pedal is depressed or may cause an inability to deactivate the cruise control by depressing the brake pedal. Additionally, a malfunctioning stop lamp switch may also result in intermittent operation of the push-button start feature, affect the operation of the brake-transmission shift interlock feature preventing the shifter from being moved out of the PARK position and cause the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) malfunction light to illuminate.
Consequences
Failure to illuminate the stop lamps during braking or inability to disengage the cruise control could increase the risk of a crash. Additionally, when the ignition is in the 'ON' position, the transmission shifter may be able to be moved out of PARK without first applying the brake. This may lead to unintentional movement of the car which may increase the risk of a crash.
Remedy
Kia will send an interim notification to owners in May 2013. When parts are available, owners will receive a second notification and dealers will replace the stop lamp switch, free of charge. Owners may contact Kia at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's recall campaign number is SC098.
Potential Units Affected
980,377
Notes
Kia Motors Corporation


NHTSA Rating Front Driver
5
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
5
NHTSA Rating Front Side
3
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rollover
5
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
N/R
IIHS Overall Side Crash
N/R
IIHS Best Pick
N/R
IIHS Rear Crash
N/R
NHTSA Rating Overall
5
IIHS Roof Strength
N/R

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