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2010 Kia Optima Page 2

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The mild redesign received by the Optima last year yielded improved comfort for the already-spacious interior. Front headroom can be tight with the available sunroof, and the Optima still doesn’t have very supportive seats, but it does have one of the roomiest cabins in its segment, with good backseat legroom and headroom. There’s also a big 14.8-cubic-foot trunk that will swallow more gear than most of the Optima's competitors. Up close, cabin materials are a bit dull, but the stark simplicity might be appreciated by some.

Kia hasn’t forgotten about safety in any respect; it has all of the features now expected in a mid-size sedan, and it fares well in official crash tests. Tests from the federal government yield top five-star results in both frontal and side-impact tests, while the insurance-funded IIHS gives the Optima its top "good" rating in frontal offset protection and an "acceptable" rating in side impact protection. Front side airbags are standard, along with side-curtain airbags that cover both rows, and front-seat occupants get active headrests.

The 2010 Kia Optima doesn’t have the excitement of its newest small cars, the Soul and Forte, but it does have strong appeal based in practical attributes like interior space, comfort, and value for the money.

Kia typically sells its vehicles with a lot more standard equipment than is typical for the class—making up for the lack of sheer sophistication with an impressive roster of standard features (and few factory options)—and the 2010 Kia Optima is no exception. Items that are normally relegated to top luxury trims—including cruise control, keyless entry and alarm, a manual tilt and telescopic steering column, and steering-wheel audio controls—are all included on the base Optima. The Optima LX, meanwhile, adds dual exhaust outlets and alloy wheels when equipped with the V-6. And at the top, with the Optima EX, you get fog lamps, solar glass, auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a leather steering wheel, and automatic climate control. Also included on the EX is an Infinity premium sound system. The top-of-the-line edition basically brings a sportier look to the EX, with metal pedals, aluminum trim, and black leather.

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