Kia Optima 2011 midsize sedan debuts
Kia Motors, the rapidly-rising profit-making Korean carmaker, has unveiled their all-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan at the 2010 New York International Auto Show. Arriving in showrooms after this summer, the next-generation Optima continues Kia’s “design-led transformation while revealing a completely new and stunning design language” under the tutelage of ex-Audi designer Peter Schreyer.
Designed at Kia’s studios in Frankfurt and the United States, the all-new 2011 Optima is longer, wider and lower than the vehicle it replaces, and is based on an all-new midsize platform likely shared with the Hyundai Sonata.
The front-wheel-drive Optima uses independent MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link layout in the rear. It is available in three all-new “Theta II” engines, namely a 200 hp 2.4-litre 4-cylinder and a 274 hp 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder, both direct-injection engines, as well as a 209 hp 2.4-litre hybrid that will debut later. Among the class-leading engines, the hp 2.4-litre GDI engine is the base motor to compete with underpowered Japanese 4-cylinder midsizers, and the torquey 2.0-litre turbo betters all V6-powered Japanese competitors while offering lower fuel economy. All models get a 6-speed automatic featuring Sportmatic manual shifting. A single 6-speed manual transmission is available only with the base LX model.
Available in three trims, LX, EX and SX, the 2011 Optima offers numerous standard features for the U.S. market. The LX includes dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, outside mirror turn signal indicators and 16-inch steel wheels fitted with 205/65R16 tyres. Upgrading to the EX offers standard fog lights, heated outside mirrors, exterior chrome/body-colour door handles along with 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55/R17 tyres. Moving up to the athletic SX adds HID headlights with auto leveling, LED rear combination lights, unique front grille design, rear lip spoiler, sculpted side sills, aero wiper blades, red brake calipers and 18-inch black machined-finish alloy wheels furnished with 225/45R18 tyres.
Also standard on all trims are auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting with MP3 players and Bluetooth wireless technology connectivity with steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls to enable hands-free operation for compatible mobile phones. Additional standard interior features include a tilt/telescopic steering column, power door locks, power windows, sun visor extension and an air-conditioned glove box. Optima LX with automatic transmission features cruise control and an active EcoMinder indicator for optimal fuel efficient driving.
Optima EX comes with premium standard features, including the UVO powered by Microsoft infotainment system with rear-view camera, push button-start ignition with smart key, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with rear vents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink and compass, auto light control, driver and front passenger automatic window up/down and eight-way power driver’s seat, lighted glovebox, rear reading lamps, floor mats and chrome door handles.
For consumers looking for “sporty” appeal, the Optima SX adds black leather seats instead of cloth ones, black interior trim with carbon insert film and metal accent, “Supervision” gauge cluster with LCD display, centre fascia and meter housing, soft trim with French seams, steering wheel paddle shifters, metal pedals and lighted metal door scuff plates.
Available upgrades for the Optima EX and SX trims include a power panoramic sunroof, leather seat trim, memory driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. Further options include an Infinity 5.1 surround sound audio system with HD Radio, eight speakers delivering 500W of system power, and voice-activated navigation system with a seven-inch screen.
The 2011 Optima is also equipped with 6 airbags, front active headrests, side-impact door beams, tyre pressure monitor, ABS, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist system and hill assist control.
The 2011 Optima is offered with a 10-year/160,000 km limited powertrain warranty as well as a 5-year/96,000 km limited basic warranty with roadside assistance plan in the United States, where the brand is doing extremely well already.