By Cars.com EditorsJune 20, 2011
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo.
<v Narrator>Cars.com auto reviews. Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for cars.com. With me, cars.com's best of 2011 car, the redesigned Kia Optima.
We've got a turbocharged Optima SX here, which combines impressive handling with V6-like passing power and an EPA rated 34 miles per gallon highway on regular unleaded gas. Add to that, the Optima's sharp styling and feature-filled interior, and it's pretty easy to see why any family car shoppers should have Kia on their list. Now, Kia's head designer is a guy named Peter Schreyer and he used to do cars for Audi. You can see a lot of that here, cause the Optima is kind of a clean, simple design. It's not trying to do too much. The car has got a low ground-hugging stance with short overhangs and the lines rise in kind of a linear fashion toward the tail. It's a good look for this car, and I think it's gonna look fresh even four or five years from now. Cabin materials are pretty good. There's a Saab-like wraparound contour here to the dash, over the instruments in the center controls. It's got this upscale stitched wrapping in up level Optima trims. Our test car here is about 30 grand. That's where a Honda Accord might top out, around, but the Optima's got things like heated and cooled front seats. It's got heated rear seats, a panoramic moonroof, and a pretty good Infinity stereo. Not typically stuff you find in the family car segment. The trend in a lot of family cars these days is for bigger and bigger back seats and the Optima definitely follows suit. I don't have a ton of extra head room, but the leg room is very impressive. That's where I'd sit to drive. I'm about six feet tall and I've just got inches to spare here before my knees are going to hit the front seat backs. The trunk volume - pretty good as well for this segment. Driving the Optima, there's almost no turbo lag, which is nice. The sport-tuned Optima SX handles pretty well too. It pushes at the limits, but there's not that nose heavy, sort of, pendulum feeling you get in a lot of front-wheel drive sedans. The car stays pretty upright in corners and the steering is nice and sharp, too. Editors definitely agreed: The Optima SX is a lot of fun to drive. No matter what trim you get, it's also a bit firm. You feel more of the road than you do in cars like the Chevy Malibu and most Toyota Camry trims. We didn't find that to be a deal breaker, and we don't think a lot of family car shoppers will either. With a starting price of under $19,000 and everything under the sun for about 30, get ready to see a lot more Kia Optimas on the road. <v Narrator>For more car-related news, go to cars.com or our blog, kickingtires.net.