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.
I prefer the turbo Optima to the turbocharged Sonata. It just seems more in the character of this car than its Hyundai platform mate. On the road, the Optima feels stable, solid, and tossable. It's not overpoweringly quick, and the transmission won't hold gears even when you shift with the paddles, but this is still a fun car.
However, I must admit that I was pretty shocked to see its $31K price. It's not that this Kia doesn't have the features to command that kind of money; it's just a lot of money for a m
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
What a pleasant surprise the Optima Turbo is! It's a huge improvement over the previous Optima and is evidence that the Koreans are on a major upswing. We all loved the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, even naming it an All-Star this year, but I'd argue that the Optima Turbo is better. I was impressed by everything from the stylish exterior to the well-laid-out interior and quality materials, to the powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. My only complaint is the poor tires. These Nexen all-seasons do not compliment the car's character at all; and if there's any trace of snow on the ground, forget it.
Maybe this is the Kia that finally will get America's attention. Clearly, Kia is trying to reach out. This year Kia took out a Superbowl ad featuring the Optima, and the Forte coupe is racing in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series.
Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator