2001 Kia Optima Preview

2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

SONOMA, Calif. — Northern California’s wine country and coastal communities have rich beauty and great driving roads. I was able to enjoy both recently during an evaluation of the all-new Kia Optima, which has some useful features for cruising Napa in search of a case of the perfect vintage — namely, an accommodating four-door body style and plenty of standard equipment.

This midsize sedan is not simply a new model in Kia’s small but rapidly expanding U.S. fleet of offerings: it’s also a flagship, and a car that this Korean automaker believes will broaden its image in America. It’s also close kin to the Hyundai Sonata, which donated its platform to its new corporate cousins at Kia.

Kia hopes that this tastefully-styled  “breakthrough vehicle” with a well-trimmed interior, unibody construction, independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering will change its current image from the marketer of value-priced small cars to include other attributes, such as performance, comfort and luxury.

The five-passenger Optima is poised to compete in America’s biggest and most-competitive car segment. The Optima is offered in two different trim levels, the base LX and the upscale SE, with prices ranging from $15,299 to nearly $20,000.

Exterior styling is sensible and attractive. Optima’s unibody platform rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase (nearly the same size as Honda’s Accord). Its nose and tail are low and compact, with a rounded-dome cabin, designed to enhance headroom (39 inches in front). The front fascia wears Kia’s signature logo, framed by a crisscrossed grille. Fog lamps are recessed in the front bumper, and headlamps are fabricated with upgraded materials to give a crystal clear, luxury appearance.

Side views show a chrome insert body side molding on the SE models (with a body-color body-side molding on the LX), which forms a line tracing the front-forward contour of this sedan. Outside power windows come standard, with heated versions for SE owners.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016
2016 Kia Optima 4-Door Sedan SXL Turbo

Must have this car

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I'm a paraplegic and this car is the best car I've ever driven in the 16 years I've been in a wheelchair. I wish I had one I wouldn't trade it for the world. Great car great job Kia.
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Monday, January 18, 2016
2016 Kia Optima 4-Door Sedan SXL Turbo

Luxury car at an affordable price.

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love the 2.0 turbo, even if the fuel economy is not that great. I can't think of a feature that this car is missing.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015
For 2016 Kia Optima

Great looking car, but saddened by the few things I wish I would have known before my purchase decision.

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The passenger seat is placed lower than the drivers seat and cannot be adjusted. I did not know this when I purchased the car, because I test drove it obviously on the drivers side. When my husband drives, I... + More »
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