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STYLING | 5 out of 10
Though all the sheetmetal is new, the '09 Optima still looks as interesting as white bread
New face seems derivative of a lot of other cars
Shares its basic design with the Hyundai Sonata
Inside and out, Kia keeps it simple with the Optima’s design. The 2010 Optima has nice proportions as a whole, but up close it appear a bit derivative, with details picked up from past Camrys, Accords, and the like. A mid-cycle update last year offered a number of mild upgrades throughout, but it failed to change the Optima’s rather drab style. Several reviewers pointed out the Optima’s relative anonymity within the class of four-door sedans. According to Cars.com, the "new face seems derivative of a lot of other cars—the headlights look like a Toyota Camry's, while the interplay between the grille and lights recalls a similar pattern on the new Honda Accord." Edmunds also says that the "styling allows it to blend seamlessly into any automotive crowd," and Autoblog pointedly explains that, with last year’s Optima, while all the sheetmetal is officially new, the Optima "still looks as interesting as white bread." Jalopnik assessed the improvements last year as positive, noting that the Kia Optima is "a definite improvement over the 'only as a rental car' original design."
In the case of the 2010 Kia Optima, you can say that the interior closely mirrors the exterior from a styling perspective, which is to say it’s quite bland. A number of reviewers have lackluster comments about the styling, even though many appreciate its straightforward functionality. Edmunds is quite critical, describing the interior as "hardly a vibrant environment."
Cars.com is one of the few sources to thoroughly compliment the Optima’s interior design, saying, "a relentlessly detailed and fastidiously executed interior that shames pricier cars here? Watch out, Kia has caught Toyota (and others) napping." This source notes details such as the gauges, “framed inside three binnacles instead of a one-piece display,” but admits that "Kia didn't alter the [Kia] Optima's interior as much as it did the exterior.”
There’s no way around it—the 2010 Kia Optima is about as bland as can be, in an already plain segment of vehicles.