It's hard from some angles to believe that the Optima is very closely related to the Hyundai Sonata. Cover up the badge, and from the outside we wouldn't be surprised if it were a Saab or a Volkswagen. The Optima looks handsome, like it would age well, while the Sonata is perhaps a little overwrought in the sheetmetal department.
About the only exterior detail we haven't warmed up to is the side 'vents' at the back of the fender. They're cosmetic only, and even at ten or fifteen feet away you can tell they're just plastic inserts, finished with bright accents.
Inside, the Optima holds up just as well to the critical eye. Most other mid-size sedans on the market have an instrument panel that sweeps straight across, with the controls in equal reach to the driver and passenger, but in the Optima the instrument panel sweeps over and abruptly down around the center stack, clearly framing off those climate control and audio controls and canting them at an angle toward the driver.