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STYLING | 8 out of 10
The dashboard has Audi-like wraparound contours
this is a seriously attractive automobile
looks taut, purposeful and ready to go
intentionally conservative but handsome and well proportioned
Kelley Blue Book
The more we walked around the perimeter of the Optima, the more we liked its Euro design.
Going purely by proportions, the 2014 Kia Optima isn't all that much different than any of the mid-size sedans in its peer set. That includes models like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Volkswagen Passat, or even the new Ford Fusion. But look a little closer and you'll find a set of details that add finesse to the profile, along with crisp, edgy details and, overall, more of a sporty side than you'll find elsewhere on most of these models.
2014 marks the first round of significant changes to the Optima since its last (dramatic) full redesign for the 2011 model year, and with the success of that current design it's been smart in keeping the changes minimal. Front and rear fascias have been redesigned, and new LED fog lamps and running lamps, along with LED rear lamps, have been subbed in. Overall, the front airdam is just a little more pinched, and avoids the full-width 'grin' of the previous version--making the front end appear a little taller, in our opinion. Some versions also get a chrome strip along the side rocker-panel area.
Kia hasn't done anything with the one exterior detail that we found a little cheesy: the side plastic-insert 'vents' at back of the front fenders.
The Optima remains closely related to the Hyundai Sonata, although it couldn't be more different on the outside. The Sonata has an exuberant, flowing aero look, while the Optima is sharper, more restrained, and a bit sportier and more formal.While the Optima is very sharply dressed outside, it's more business inside; there's a definite cockpit influence--somewhat like Audi models past--with a big set of gauges and a wide rectangular bank of controls canted toward the driver amount to a simple, elegant look. A new 4.3-inch TFT display is new to the instrument cluster, and a new eight-inch display is included with the available navigation system.
With a handsome, graceful profile and newly sharpened front and rear details, the 2014 Kia Optima remains one of the most distinctive mid-size sedans.