2014 Kia Optima at the 2013 New York Auto Show

  • Competes with: Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Mazda6
  • Looks like: Updated enough to stay current with the competition
  • Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 2.4-liter hybrid, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; six-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Third quarter of 2013

Debuting this week at the 2013 New York International Auto Show is a refreshed 2014 Kia Optima. The changes to its appearance are few but across its four trim levels, the new Optima has added and updated features in an attempt to stay competitive in the booming midsize-sedan market.

The Optima's exterior has alterations to the front and rear including the brand's signature tabbed grille. There are also refreshed rear diffusers, a sweeping trunk lid and new front-LED positioning along with fog lights and newly designed taillights.

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Tech features include push-button start, a new 4.3-inch LCD instrument cluster and an optional 8-inch multimedia screen featuring Kia's UVO eServices, an eight-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic. An optional blind spot warning system includes rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. Kia says newly designed seats should improve comfort.

When the 2014 Optima arrives at dealerships in third quarter of this year — pricing will be announced closer to the sale date — it will offer car shoppers a choice among LX, EX, SX and a new SX Limited trim levels. Base-model features include dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, side mirror turn-signal indicators, front fog lights, heated side mirrors, chrome-accented exterior door handles and 16-inch alloy wheels. Upgrades reserved for the top-level SX Limited trim include unique 18-inch chrome wheels, LED fog lights, red brake calipers, an electronic parking brake, chrome-accented side sills and premium Nappa leather seats.

Available powertrains carryover from 2013 and include a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder and a 2.4-liter hybrid, both mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder, which Kia offers instead of a V-6, is available only at the SX level and also pairs with a six-speed automatic.

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