First Drive: 2011 Kia Optima

Rivalries are a fact of life. When they are in the family, they can be troublesome. On the other hand, they can help to raise the level of game for both family members.

That’s the case Kia finds itself in with the 2011 Kia Optima.

First seen at the New York International Auto Show back in April, the Optima looked a stunning, almost Teutonic counterpart to the stylized and swoopy Hyundai Sonata. This wouldn’t much matter if the two cars came from separate automakers, but the Optima and Sonata are direct rivals offered by the same parent company.

At that point, the gauntlet was thrown, and all bets were off. It looks like Kia is not content to just play second fiddle anymore.

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INSIDE
Inside, a good mix of materials with a protruding center stack (reminiscent of the Volkswagen New Beetle) offer a good use of space. The glove box is huge, but the flat-folding rear seats and unde ...

Wiper blades
Blade inspection NOTICE Commercial hot waxes applied by automatic car washes have been known to make the windshield difficult to clean. Contamination of either the windshield or the wiper blad ...

Windows
Power windows (if equipped) (1) Driver’s door power window switch (2) Front passenger’s door power window switch (3) Rear door (left) power window switch* (4) Rear door (right) power windo ...