Kia has transformed its Optima family sedan from a plain, forgettable entry to one of the most distinctively styled cars in the class. Three trim levels are available — LX, EX and SX — and the five-seat Optima competes against cars like the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It's also offered in hybrid form.
(Skip to details on the: Optima Hybrid)
New for 2012The base LX trim level gains new exterior styling cues including chrome door handles, fog lights, heated side mirrors and automatic headlights. Meanwhile, the midlevel EX trim now features LED taillights.
With its creased sheet metal and low-slung shape, there's luxury-car sophistication to the Optima's exterior that you don't see in a lot of family sedans. The Optima features the new face of Kia that we've seen on models like the Sorento and Sportage crossovers. It's essentially a black mesh grille bordered by angular headlights, and the design enhances the car's aggressiveness. The placement of the Kia badge above the grille is a little odd-looking, though. Exterior features include:
- Standard 16-inch steel wheels; available 16-, 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels
- Standard dual chrome exhaust tips
- Optional panoramic sunroof
- Optional high-intensity-discharge headlights
- Optional lip spoiler
The five-person cabin features front bucket seats and a rear bench seat. The interior has a driver-oriented design, with the entire center control panel angled toward the driver. The optional Premium Package includes an Infinity stereo, Kia's UVO hands-free entertainment and communication system, and HD Radio. Interior features include:
- Standard cloth seats; leather optional
- Standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel
- Standard cooled glove box
- Standard CD stereo with MP3 jack and USB port
- SX trim level has leather upholstery, stitched seams, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, metal pedals and illuminated scuff plates
- Optional heated and cooled front seats
- Optional rear seat heaters
- Optional heated steering wheel
- Optional navigation system with a backup camera
Under the Hood
Mechanical features include:
- Standard 200-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder that teams with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission
- Optional 274-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which works only with the automatic transmission
Standard safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Side-impact airbags for the front seats
- Side curtain airbags
- Electronic stability system
Like its sister vehicle, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Optima Hybrid combines a 30-kilowatt electric motor with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder to produce a combined 206 hp. The transmission-mounted motor works with a six-speed automatic rather than the electrically variable transmissions most hybrids employ.
The Optima Hybrid can cruise on electric-only power under light acceleration and sufficient battery charge. For pedestrian awareness, the Optima Hybrid emits simulated engine noise when the car is moving on electric power alone.
The electric motor draws power from a lithium-polymer battery that's mounted behind the rear seat; consequently, the backseat forgoes a 60/40-split folding arrangement for a center pass-through. Overall trunk volume falls to 9.9 cubic feet. That's a considerable drop from the non-hybrid Optima's 15.4 cubic feet, but it's typical of a hybrid sedan: The Ford Fusion Hybrid sacrifices about 30 percent of trunk volume versus its non-hybrid equivalent.
Visual changes amount to a hybrid badge in back, aerodynamic 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels, minor differences to the grille and front lights, and a small rear trunk spoiler. Aerodynamic enhancements include lower bumper extensions and a slight reduction in ride height. All told, the Optima Hybrid looks far more like the regular Optima than the Sonata Hybrid does a Sonata.
Standard features include a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and keyless access with push-button start. Heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, and a navigation system with a backup camera are optional. Back to top
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