FAST FACTS

1. The Optima makes 200-hp from a standard direct-injection 2.4L 4-cylinder, while achieving best-in-class 24/35-mpg (city/hwy) fuel economy.

2. Optional class exclusive features include a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel and heated and cooled front seats.

3. After launch, Kia will introduce a turbocharged model with even more aggressive bodywork and a 274-hp engine.

What a difference a few years can make.

As part of a bold new product rollout that began with the Kia Soul, the Korean automaker is now delivering compelling vehicles with impressive fuel economy and much improved quality, all wrapped-up in a compelling package. In fact, Kia’s new design language works so well on the Optima, if we didn’t know better, we’d expect the starting price to be double.

That’s exactly what Kia wants you to think, showing media present at the launch a short video of the target Gen X customer followed by the cleverly crafted yet arguably true statement that, “Nobody ever dreamed of driving a mid-size sedan until now.”

Based on looks alone, the Optima will draw customers into showrooms, pulling decades-long Honda and Toyota supporters away from their brands with a flashy new look.

And while the Optima is unequivocally svelte, one could easily argue that the biggest drawback to previous generations of Kia’s family sedan wasn’t aesthetics. So… apart from the superficial reasons to purchase this handsome sedan, do the more practical aspects of the 2011 Optima represent a compelling alternative to the industry benchmarks?

    See also:

    Handling
    With its tighter turning circle, the Kia Rio is most certainly more maneuverable than the average sedan, something to consider if you do a lot of city driving; however, remember that a vehicle wit ...

    Driving Impressions
    With either V6 under the hood, the 2009 Kia Sorento has plenty of power for both city traffic and swift highway cruising. The suspension provides a pleasant ride and adequate handling on smooth pa ...

    Washer fluid
    Checking the washer fluid level The reservoir is translucent so that you can check the level with a quick visual inspection. Check the fluid level in the washer fluid reservoir and add fluid if ...