The new 2011 Kia Optima was first revealed at the New York Motor Show in April 2010. It will replace the Kia Magentis in the UK market and will be officially launched in Great Britain in July 2011. It has the same underpinning as the Hyundai 140/i45/Sonata and will be on a par with the Ford Mondeo and the Vauxhall Insignia so it will have strong competition. The new Optima is taking on a sporty mantle and it comes with the option of a 1.7litre VGT CRDi or 2.0 litre CV VL petrol.
With the Optima the Korean car company has delivered a compelling vehicle with a much-improved quality to their previous, often lack lustre, models. It has an impressive fuel economy, which is vital at a time when petrol prices are going through the roof.
The svelte-looking Optima is wider and longer than previous models to bring it into line with its main competitors and it has more space inside. There is good leg and headroom at the back, but not so much legroom at the front.
The increased dimension gives the Optimum a larger boot (or trunk) and it has 15.4 cubic feet space for luggage. The centre console is angled towards the driver making it easier to see.
Base Models are not as fancy internally but still come with
- Driver’s power lumber support
- Power windows and locks
- Tilt and telescope steering wheel
- Cooling glovebox
- USB and auxiliary jacks
- Bluetooth compatibility with steering wheel controls.
The standard items included on the EX model are
- Dual-control air conditioning with rear vents
- Power windows
- Leather interior trim, including the centre arm rests and door inserts
- Push-button ignition with a Smart Key
- Rear view camera
- SYNC-style UVO system for hands-free use of entertainment and communications system
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel.
If you decide to upgrade to the Premium version you will get
- Wood interior trim
- Heated rear seats
- Driver’s memory seat with 4-way adjustability
- Heated and Cooled front seats
- Heated steering wheel
- Panoramic sun roof.
On the Road
The addition of the automatic transmission adds cruise control, and an Eco mode that upshifts sooner and downshifts later improves fuel economy.
The Optima drives like the Hyundai Sonata. It is quiet and smooth to drive and feels substantial on the road, which is quite surprising as it is very light with a 3,200lb cubic weight. The lightness of the car is why it delivers some of the best acceleration in its class and the power is more than adequate. EX models have larger 17″ alloy wheels and wider 215 tyres.
The steering feels good and it gives the best fuel economy of its class with 24mpg in the City and 35mpg on motorways.
In the USA the 2011 Kia Optima retails at $18,995 to $25,995, depending on which dealer you go to. Kia has not announced its UK price yet but it is expected to sell in the region of £18,000-19,990