• Mar 4, 2011
2011 Kia Optima – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Kia Optima set the mark as the first Korean-built car to be officially five-star certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The all-new Optima recieved five-star ratings in the frontal, side-impact and rollover tests.

The Optima sports six airbags, active front headrests, side-impact door bars and height adjustable three-point seat belts for each seat. This five-star rating is indeed something worthy of bragging rights, as NHTSA imposed significantly stricter testing standards for 2011 models. Follow the jump for Kia's press release.

Photos copyright ©2011 Zach Bowman / AOL

[Source: Kia]
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Highest Possible Ratings for All-New Kia Midsize Sedan in Frontal, Side and Rollover Impact Crash Tests

- All-new Optima is first Korean-built vehicle to achieve the highest rating under new, more stringent government guidelines by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

- High level of standard safety features contribute to Optima's overall performance and high scores in all four categories

IRVINE, Calif., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The all-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan has achieved an overall five-star crash safety rating – the highest possible score – after attaining five stars in each of the overall ratings categories in the latest crash tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation's NHTSA. Already a recipient of a "Top Safety Pick" award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Optima offers consumers exceptional levels of standard safety equipment and technologies.

"As the most recent addition to Kia's lineup, the 2011 Optima incorporates some of Kia's most advanced safety technologies with head-turning style, performance and comfort to provide consumers with high value and peace-of-mind," said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of Kia Motors America (KMA) and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG). "As the first Korean-built vehicle to be awarded a five-star crash safety rating under NHTSA's new, stricter guidelines, Optima creates a new benchmark in the segment and underscores Kia's commitment to offering consumers the highest levels of quality and safety in all of our vehicles."

In all, 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans, and nine 2011 model year pickups were rated under the new system that not only includes tougher crash tests, but, for the first time, provides consumers with a single overall safety score per vehicle. The new testing program also provides consumers with information about new advanced crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems.

About the 2011 Kia Optima

Like the rest of Kia line-up, the 2011 Optima comes equipped with a high level of standard safety features, including: six airbags(1) (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, 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), ESC, a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.

Available in three trims, LX, EX and SX, the 2011 Optima offers a wide array of convenience and luxury as well as impressive technology features like an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities and three months complimentary service(2), auxiliary and USB audio input jacks and standard Bluetooth®(3) wireless technology connectivity with steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls to enable hands-free operation for compatible mobile phones. Available with three all-new and fuel-efficient engines, a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter GDI turbo or a 2.4-liter hybrid (available later this year), pricing for the stylish and performance-oriented midsize sedan begins at $18,995(4).

2011 Kia Motors America Product Line

Kia's model year 2011 vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio sub-compact sedan, Rio5 sub-compact hatchback and Sedona minivan.

About Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 730 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." In 2010, KMA recorded its best-ever U.S. sales and 16th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technologies.

Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its Web site – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.

About NHTSA and NCAP

Government star ratings are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) (www.safercar.gov). Vehicle Tested with Standard Side Airbags (SABs).

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm sure this has been discussed before, but doesn't it seem like the NHTSA hands out 5-Star ratings like ... uh... congress hands out cash in a recession? And their website is such a clusterf*%k, I can't even figure out what a 5 star rating means anymore.

      I really wish there was a better independant source for this information, with testing that is on par with the best in the world. (like germany)
        • 3 Years Ago
        NHTSA has more stringent ratings starting this year. Although many have yet to me tested, the only 2011 cars/wagon models to have earned the 5-star overall rating are: BMW 5 Series, Chevy Cruze, Honda Accord 4 dr, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sorry but they have a long way to go still. The interior is cheap and hideous, the front a knockkoff of an accord, and do you ever wonder why they rarely show the back of it?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Based on the photos (haven't seen in person), I disagree with you on all counts. Reminds me of the Mondeo, especially the back, which is definitely not a bad thing!

        • 3 Years Ago
        Who is "they"? Autoblog or Kia?

        Because those pictures are taken by Autoblog.

        Kia has its own set of pictures.

        And what do you mean "rarely"? The rear is the best design element of the car.

        Of course that doesnt get through to you in your obviously biased mindset.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Kia are killing it.. simple understated design language.. which is more than I can say for the nonsense Toyota and Honda are putting out there.. Now they just need a rebrand and they're on a role..
      • 3 Years Ago
      Actually, no, IIHS and NHTSA both are rather stingy about their crash ratings and they keep ratcheting up the difficulty every year for a 5-star rating.

      This system actually works, though, because instead of being a government-mandated rating it instead serves a purpose that people want: safe cars. Sales trends toward 5-star vehicles, and all other things being the same (which they never are!), away from poorly rated cars.

      The US' steep decline in vehicle-related deaths isn't because people are becoming better drivers. It's primarily because cars are easier to drive (ABS, stability control, braking assist) and they are safer due to strict testing.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Optima is a great car. I went to the dealership to "Build my own" and was told that I couldn't do that. I gave them the specs of the car that I wanted and then the deposit. I was told that they would put in for a car with what I wanted and when one was being built...."they could ask that it be sent to them". He said that it could take MONTHS to get the car that I asked for. I contacted Kia USA, the 800.333.4542 number and talked to their associate there and was told the same thing. They can ask for a car but it could take MONTHS to acquire the car that I asked for. There are NO specific orders for cars. If I want one soon I am going to have to SETTLE for a lesser vehicle, one that's not what I am going to pay 30,000 for! How on earth can any dealership not be able to order a vehicle? I ordered an Accord with no problem, a Chevy with no problem but Kia has no way for a customer to order a car? I already own a 2011 Sorrento but I think this will be the last Kia I own and I can say that I will NEVER give them good remarks when people ask about their cars.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice work, Kia. Sounds (looks) as if you/Hyundai really made a great all-around vehicle here...
      • 3 Years Ago
      For me, this car is more likeable than the Hyundai sibling. Good for Kia to get a top crash rating!
        • 3 Years Ago
        Agreed, they've just gone on the market here in Australia. I saw one for the first time last weekend and it looked fantastic!
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree. This is a great sedan design.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It definitely looks more sporty. The grille is a huge improvement, in particular.

        The SX wheels (pictured above) are not that great, though. The EX Turbo has more likeable ones.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Way to go, Kia!

      Honda, Toyota...the sky is falling.
        • 3 Years Ago
        i'm with MyThreeRocks. optima seems like a sweet car and kia's on a roll, but the whole "toyota and honda better watch out/be worried" language is getting tired. and keep in mind toyota and honda aren't the only companies that are affected by kia's rise.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yes, fanboy. The number 1 selling car (regardless that it's a 5 year old design) is shaking in its boots.

        Posts like yours are quite annoying. Just be happy, no point in acting like a 4 year old ("na-na-na-boo-boo")
      • 3 Years Ago
      Best value on the market right now.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Optima should do about the same in crash tests as the Sonata, since they are essentially the same car, except for the tail lights and rear end design from the new Ford Focus sedan.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This isn't the first Korean car to be certified 5-star by NHTSA. It's the first one to get 5-stars in every category. The Sonata is 5-stars overall, but gets 4 in the frontal crash. Note that both the Optima and Accord get 5-stars in every category, but even they don't get 5-stars in every test. Only the Optima gets 5-stars in every NHTSA category and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, though the Sonata does get an overall 5-star rating and IIHS Top Pick. The Accord doesn't get Top Pick from the IIHS.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Sonata isn't built in Korea.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Kia's press release did specify Korean-built, I noticed afterwards. But Autoblog's story didn't make that distinction.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is one of my most favorite designs of any car on the road right now. Whenever I see one (which is happening more and more), it totally makes me do a double take and pay attention. It just looks so long, low and sleek, sort of like a shark. Pretty much graceful and sporty from any angle.

      I'm still sort of in shock that their products got so good, so quickly. Seriously - from the AMANTI to THIS? It gives me whiplash.
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