Kia has a winner with its new Optima four-door sedan. It’s stylish and comfortable with a long list of amenities and technology features, and there are three all-new powertrains to choose from, including a turbo and Kia’s first-ever hybrid.
This next generation Optima has Kia’s new design language highlighted by a streamlined profile. Based on an all-new midsize platform, it’s longer, wider and lower than its predecessor and has a coupe-like profile with a sweeping chrome arc that flows from the A through C pillars.
It has a high and pronounced shoulder line that leads to sculpted flanks, while the front has a striking face with Kia’s signature tabbed grille surrounded by projector headlights.
Under the hood, there’s a choice of three new Theta II powerplants — a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter GDI turbo or a 2.4-liter hybrid engine. The 2.4-liter GDI engine produces 200 hp, while upgrading to the available 2.0-liter turbo GDI engine (EX Turbo and SX models) delivers V-6 power with a four-cylinder engine that produces 274 hp, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2011 Optima is available in the four trim levels — LX, EX, EX Turbo and SX:
LX — Includes dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, outside mirror turn signal indicators and 16-inch steel wheels fitted with 205/65R16 tires.
EX — Has standard fog lights, heated outside mirrors, exterior chrome/body-color door handles along with 17-inch alloy wheels with P215/55/R17 tires.
EX Turbo — Adds a unique front grille design.
SX — Is the performance model; adds HID headlights with auto leveling, LED rear combination lights, unique front grille design, rear lip spoiler, sculpted side sills, aero wiper blades, black front brake calipers and 18-inch black machined finish alloy wheels with P225/45R18 tires.
On the inside, the Optima cabin is spacious and comfortable, with many standard convenience features such as a six-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, illuminated vanity mirrors with a ticket holder and a trip computer. An available panoramic sunroof provides an open-air feeling, while the seats are ergonomically designed and there is plenty of storage space available.
At the same time, the Optima is designed as a driver’s car, with the instrument panel contoured toward the driver for a cockpit feel, with precision gauges and controls contributing to an overall sport performance environment. A high console with a short shifter adds to the cockpit feel and paddle shifters behind the steering wheel allow alternative gear changing.
Additional standard interior features include a tilt/telescopic steering column, power door locks, power windows, sun visor extension and a cooling glove box.
Base price on the 2011 Kia Optima EX is $22,495.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.