Vehicle Overview
Kia's Optima is a conservatively styled midsize sedan that's available with either four-cylinder or V-6 power. It can be equipped with some uncommon features for its class — like a manual sunshade for the rear window — and is offered in LX and step-up EX trim levels. It competes with other family sedans like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Changes are few for 2008: The Optima no longer comes with a cassette player but adds an auxiliary input jack for connecting MP3 players to the car's stereo. The Supervision gauges have been updated, and the side mirrors are now finished in black.


Exterior
Although the Optima's exterior styling doesn't break any new ground in the passenger car segment, it's well-proportioned overall. An Appearance Package features 17-inch wheels and a blacked-out grille and headlights. V-6-powered Optimas have dual exhaust pipes. Trunk volume measures 14.8 cubic feet.

Interior
Front bucket seats and a three-place, split-folding rear bench seat provide seating for up to five people. Air conditioning, power windows and locks, heated mirrors and a six-speaker CD stereo are standard. EX models add an eight-way power driver's seat, automatic climate control, a premium audio system and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Leather seats are optional.

Under the Hood
The Optima's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates 162 horsepower. Also offered is a 185-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. Available transmissions include a five-speed manual and a five-speed automatic that has a manual-shift mode.

Safety
All-disc brakes, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard. Antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system and brake assist are optional.