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Kia's stylish Accord killer

2010-04-06 10:25
Kia's ascent as the automotive world’s hottest design brand continues with the company’s new Optima.

Unveiled at the New York auto show last month the new Kia D-segment contended shares a platform with the latest Hyundai Sonata, yet manages to look better than anything else in class.

Since charismatic former VW Group designer Peter Schreyer joined Kia, the company’s been delivering new models to market which have hugely impressed both customers and industry style gurus alike.

Kia’s new Optima is 45mm more substantial bumper-to-bumper, with a 75mm longer wheelbase (ensuring generous occupant legroom) than its predecessor.

OPTIMA(L) DESIGN: Kia's new sporty sedan.

The car’s styling is simply phenomenal. From the signature Schreyer grille, to its rakish corners and clean surface details the new Optima is easily the best looking car in class.

To ensure the driving experience is commensurate to expectations raised by the Optima’s outstanding styling, Kia’s engineers have ensured the car’s suite of mechanical features are as cutting edge as its appearance.


The Optima’s all-wheel independent suspension, six-speed transmissions (both manual and auto) and a range of direct-injection turbocharged petrol and diesel engines should give Japanese and German competitors plenty to worry about.

Perhaps the Optima’s most outstanding feature will be the range of engines on offer. There’ll be two and 2.4-litre petrol engines, a 1.7l turbodiesel and, of course, the radical Theta II direct-injection turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder.

The Theta II engine has twin-scroll turbocharging technology. Running at 1.2 bar, it produces 200kW and peak rotational force of 365Nm across a rather generous engine speed range of 1800-4500rpm. Consumption is claimed to average around 7 litres/100km.

SISTER WHEELS: The Optima share a lot with sister ship the Hyundai Sonata.

Beyond the premium engineering details Kia’s traditional value offering has been bumped up, too. Standard features include 17" alloy rims and dual exhausts. Higher trim level models add HID headlights with auto levelling, LED rear lights (there’s a boot-lid spoiler, too), red brake callipers and concept-car lookalike 18" alloy rims.

Kia's range topping Optima - the SX - will have a sunroof and special black-leather cabin trim.

The new Optima is expected to debut in right-hand drive markets early in 2011.

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