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2011 Kia Optima – Click above for high-res image gallery

Thanks to designer Peter Schreyer, Kia has been cranking out some really impressive-looking vehicles recently. In fact, the Soul hatchback was a contender for the World Design of the Year award. And while we've seen hot new designs for both the Sorento and Sportage, the most significant addition to the Kia portfolio is the revamped 2011 Optima sedan.

The Optima shares its platform and powertrains with the recently introduced 2011 Sonata, but the design is wholly unique. It features a bold new front fascia, swoopy side lines and a sleek rear end, and with its impressive fuel economy and choice of naturally aspirated or turbocharged power, the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry indeed have some stiff competition coming in the near future. Click through our gallery of live shots below to see high-res photos of the Optima.

Live photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
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  • Midsize Sedan Offers a New Level of Style and Performance Features from Kia
  • Three all-new powertrains, including turbo and Kia's first-ever hybrid offer class- leading power and fuel economy
  • Segment-leading premium amenities and technology features

NEW YORK, April 1, 2010 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today globally unveiled the all-new 2011 Optima midsize sedan at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in showrooms in early fall, the next generation Optima continues Kia's design-led transformation while revealing a completely new and stunning design language for Kia, highlighted by a dynamic and streamlined profile that conveys elegance and athletic confidence from every angle. Optima's groundbreaking spirit continues under the hood and inside the cabin with the introduction of three new powertrains – including the brand's first-ever hybrid in the U.S. (available in 2011) – which deliver class-leading power1 and fuel economy while the latest technology features and luxury amenities are available at the touch of a button or a simple voice command.

Designed at Kia's studios in Frankfurt and Irvine, Calif., the all-new Optima is longer, wider and lower than the vehicle it replaces and is based on an all-new midsize platform that allowed for distinctive dimensions and proportions in the segment1 while also providing a unique canvas for Kia's global design team to pen a vehicle that stands apart from everything else in the segment.

"The all-new Optima is a new strand in Kia's growing design DNA with a blend of simple and fluid lines and elegant but uncomplicated shapes that draw the attention of the eye in much the same fashion as a perfectly-tailored fine Italian suit," said Peter Schreyer, chief design officer, Kia Motors Corporation. "From the distinctive sweeping chrome accent that stretches through the C pillars to the sleek greenhouse and flared wheel arches, every inch of the Optima projects a distinguished and refined style and extreme attention to detail."

The all-new Optima also employs engine management systems like direct injection and turbocharging to help bring performance to the brand without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Its smooth-flowing lines speak of grace and style and offer a strong hint of European luxury.

Sleek and Streamlined Exterior

The 2011 Optima projects a high-performance yet elegant image with its unique silhouette and sleek stance that builds upon Kia Motors' philosophy of creating high quality and dynamic vehicles that evoke passion. The striking face of Optima features Kia's signature bold tabbed grille that is surrounded by projector headlamps. Longer, wider and lower than before, Optima's coupe-like profile is enhanced by a sweeping chrome arc that flows from the A through C pillars, a distinctive design motif that visually lowers the car further and enhances its proportions. Optima's roofline connects with its high and pronounced shoulder line that leads to its sculpted flanks and extended wheelbase. Boldly flared wheel arches and a raked cabin create a sedan with a graceful muscular stance.

Available in three trims, LX, EX and SX, the 2011 Optima offers numerous standard features. The LX includes dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, outside mirror turn signal indicators and 16-inch steel wheels fitted with 205/65R16 tires. Upgrading to the EX offers standard fog lights, heated outside mirrors, exterior chrome/body-color door handles along with 17-inch alloy wheels with P215/55/R17 tires. 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 P225/45R18 tires, achieving a true performance look.

Luxuriously Equipped Interior

From the moment the door opens, Optima presents an immediate sense of a driver's car. The instrument panel is contoured toward the driver to suggest a cockpit feel with precise gauges and controls for an overall sport performance experience without sacrificing comfort or roominess. Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel convey that Optima is built for people who are passionate about cars. A high console with a short shifter adds to the cockpit perception while an available panoramic sunroof provides an open-air feeling. Offering occupants both space and comfort with a number of standard convenience features, the sedan's chic cabin unifies with the exterior design by welcoming its passengers with lean and ergonomic seat design and effective storage throughout. Modern standard features such as six-way adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, illuminated vanity mirrors and a trip computer further expand the cabin's luxurious qualities.

In addition to offering a comfortable cabin, impressive technology features also come standard throughout, including an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service. 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. Stylishly appointed cloth seats provide comfortable seating while a 60/40 split-folding rear seat offers multiple seating and cargo arrangements depending on driver and passenger needs. Optima LX with automatic transmission features cruise control and an active EcoMinder® indicator for optimal fuel efficient driving.

Optima EX comes well-equipped and offers 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 even more sporty appeal, the Optima SX adds unique black leather woven seat trim, black interior trim with carbon insert film and metal accent, Supervision™ meter cluster with LCD display, center 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 for additional interior refinement. Luxuriously appointed features, including an Infinity® 5.1 surround sound audio system with HD Radio®, and eight speakers delivering in excess of 500-watts of system power and voice-activated navigation system with a seven-inch screen enhance the cabin for audiophiles or those who seek the latest superior quality technology for a modern driving experience.

All-New Advanced Platform

The 2011 Optima is distinctive, right down to its all-new platform. Optima's low, lean and powerful stance is assisted through its overall length of 190.7 inches, an increase of 1.7 inches over the previous model. Optima is built on a platform with an overall width of 72 inches and wheelbase of 110 inches, an increase of 2.9 inches, and has a low ground clearance of 5.3 inches for enhanced aerodynamics. Optima's lightweight design uses high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength while also achieving high torsional stiffness, benefiting handling, ride quality and refinement. Additional measures to help ensure good noise vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities are fitted throughout the Optima.

Built on a unibody frame, the front-wheel-drive Optima utilizes independent front and rear suspension systems. MacPherson struts are used in the front with a multi-link layout in the rear and are both joined with coil springs and front anti-roll bars to engage drivers with responsive handling and provide the utmost comfort whether the road is smooth or less than ideal.

Class-Leading Efficient and Powerful Engines

The 2011 Optima is available in three all-new and fuel-efficient Theta II powerplants, a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter GDI turbo engine or a 2.4-liter hybrid. The 2.4-liter GDI engine produces 200 horsepower and upgrading to the available 2.0-liter turbo GDI engine (SX model) delivers V6-type power with a four-cylinder engine that produces 274 horsepower1, while mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This represents Kia's first application of GDI technology, while a 2.4-liter hybrid Optima will be introduced in 2011. All automatics feature Sportmatic™ clutchless shifting. A single six-speed manual transmission is available only with the LX four-cylinder model.


The 2011 Optima is equipped with a high level of standard safety features, as is the rest of the Kia line-up. This includes six airbags (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.

Competitive Warranty

The 2011 Optima is covered by Kia's warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the vehicle coverage.

Kia Motors America in 2010

Kia Motors is in the midst of a dramatic, design-led transformation, which has been delivering dynamically styled vehicles in several important segments at exactly the right time, contributing to the brand's continued gains in U.S. market share. With three new vehicle introductions and several other key initiatives planned for 2010, Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and with new technology such as the UVO powered by Microsoft® advanced hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system (to be available in select Kia models in the U.S. beginning in summer 2010). The launch of the all-new 2011 Sorento CUV, the official vehicle of the NBA and the first vehicle to be assembled at Kia's first U.S.-based manufacturing facilities in West Point, Georgia, further enhances the lineup, and is now in dealerships.

2011 Kia Optima Specifications

Exterior Dimensions
Overall Length: 190.7 inches
Width: 72.0 inches
Height: 57.3 inches
Wheel base: 110.0 inches

Interior Dimensions
Front Headroom: 40.0 inches
Rear Headroom: 37.6 inches
Front Legroom: 45.5 inches
Rear Legroom: 34.6 inches

2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder: 200 hp
2.0-liter GDI turbo four-cylinder (SX): 274 hp1
2.4-liter hybrid (early 2011 availability)

6-speed Manual
6-speed Automatic w/ Sportmatic® shifting

Wheels & Tires
Wheels: 16-inch (LX), 17-inch (EX), 18-inch (Optional on EX, standard on SX)
Tires: 205/65R16, P215/55R17, 225/45R18

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      You may not like new Kia Optima because of Kia's new suspension setting policy. They now handle better than Hondas but ride is much harder.

      This is a double-edged sword. Kia stiffened their suspension settings to impress reviewers who would write "OMG, this Kia handles better than Audi and Honda", but the everyday ride is tiring.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow! This, the Sonata, and the Fusion are the best looking mid-sizers imo. Followed by the Mazda 6, then Malibu, Kizashe, Jetta, Accord, Camry.

      Wish I had the money for one of these.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Really nice interior design. I like it A LOT. You have to check out the studio shots on the second gallery. Quick shots taken at an autoshow ALWAYS make interiors look like crap. Kia is really on a roll. The exterior actually looks more like the Lincoln MKS than anything else but I still wouldn't call it a ripoff. It's got all different details, just similar surfaces. Especially the hood and body side. The C-pillar is definitely unique and not in a bad way (Jaquar XJ).
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's a really nice Jetta.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You better get to the optometrist quick. You could use a new prescription.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I LOVE the seats. Very cool. This thing should end up being a hit. Why you would choose a lowly Camry or Accord (much less a Malibu) over this, I have no idea.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am confused... Is the 2011 Optima slowly transforming into a Kia Magnetis? Either way I can not wait for them to get local Louisville used cars dealers around Louisville. I checked http://kiastore.com and I do not see a release date.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As much as I like this car's design - I can't get over what KIA stands for when not referencing the car company. It'd be hard for me to see the steering wheel and not think "Killed In Action" when I see the logo. :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      This car is too beautiful to be a Kia. The C-dillar looks a bit like the new Jaguar XJ.

      I think the only thing they could do to improve this car is to slap badges of a more respected brand on it! (Like Audi?)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Awesome new version of a nameplate on the rise. I kinda liked the mid-cycle refresh of this car and the 2011 Optima looks even crisper. That Audi designer is really improving the Kia brand top to bottom.

      I just hope they don't cheap out inside with the plastics.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Damn, when did Korea start making cars??
        • 5 Years Ago
        Kia has 60 year history. however all the great things started to happen only about 9years ago.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You can get those nice side vents on a Chevrolet Aveo too. Ford didn't invent them and decide to put them on the Taurus. I'm not sure why everyone just cuts up cars on here. Lets be realistic here, Kia has been mainstream in North America now for what 10 years?. They look like they are trying hard to be a little more stylish and bring the quality on the products up. They won't sell many Optima's anyways, the Camcord will probably always be the best selling cars in the class no matter what they look like, drive like ect ect. At least the Korean automakers are doing something to try and better their product line and diminish the reputation they once had. I find it so hard to believe that after years and years or terrible domestic cars coming out of Chrysler and GM that everyone is on this bandwagon of how they have turned it around with a few new models. The same thing GM is trying to do Kia/Hyundai are doing as well but they get all the flack.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Where is all this flack you are talking about? The comments I've seen on here have been overwhelmingly positive. You're always going to get those negative ones who can't see anything positive in another company. In a lot of cases they are employees of one car company or the other, and in that case, it's their livelihood, so I can't really blame them for being partisan. I'm personally strongly in the Ford camp but I'm very impressed by KIA. I like this car and I really like the new Sportage too. The Soul is cool, the Forte is better looking than the Civic or the Corolla and the Sorrento is... well, it's OK. Nothing earth shattering. And I don't think ANYONE thinks that Chrysler has turned around with "a few good models". They would actually have to release a few good models first...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great looking car, but those wheels need to go. I would be interested, but I would shop for some aftermarket wheels that made sense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Seconded. Kia is working with a pretty dynamic aesthetic, and those flat, blockish rims don't complement it at all for me.
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