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Kia Optima

Kia Optima is a midsize sedan manufactured post-2000 by Kia Motors that enjoyed a fairly successful track record. For the first-generation models, the company used the brand name, Kia Optima, which was also used for the subsequent generation models sold in the U.S. The car is a four-door sedan with five-speed manual transmission. From 2000 to 2005, Hyundai manufactured the Optima, after which Kia Motors took over the car’s production. The 2012 version of the car was assembled in the U.S. at Kia Motors’ plant in Georgia.

More on the Kia Optima
Kia Optima Origins

The Kia Optima became popular for its appealing interior and quiet, yet powerful four-cylinder engine. In the later generation models, Kia Motors introduced safety features like side-curtain airbags. A few safety omissions like skid control and anti-lock brakes in the base model notwithstanding, the Kia Optima impressed users with its comfortable driving and spacious interiors.

The 2012 Kia Optima received necessary facelifts to cater to buyers looking for attractive family sedans. There is something sporty and athletic about the look of the Kia Optima. There are several versions of the model, and the base model features a 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine with 200 hp. Buyers can choose from six-speed automatic and manual transmission models. For those seeking better performance, there is an SX variant of the 2012 Kia Optima that offers 274 horsepower.

Apart from the fuel-driven LX, ES, and SX models, the 2012 Kia Optima is also available in a hybrid version. This variant combines the four-cylinder engine with batteries and electric motors. While this curbs the carbon footprint of the car, the fuel to electric conversion is not as smooth as that in the other manufacturer’s versions. The base model is rated at 35/40 mpg city/highway.

About the Kia Optima

In all variants of the 2012 Kia Optima, the engines are finely tweaked to work in sync with the car’s independent suspension. This gives a nimble and quick feel to the driving experience. Its steering is sturdy and quite responsive. Overall, the ride quality of the Kia Optima is rather comfortable, and the engine noise is more or less tolerable.

The headroom of the Kia Optima may not seem very generous to taller people. However, there is sufficient legroom for both rear- and front-seat passengers. It is possible to opt for heated and cooled seats in the front for those who live in extreme climates or just like that sort of thing. The 2012 Kia Optima has top-notch safety features, including stability control and airbags.

When it comes to the additional features, the 2012 Kia Optima certainly does not disappoint. It has Bluetooth connectivity as a standard option, as well as a USB port, satellite radio, and cruise control. The EX model has sophisticated features like a smart-key system and dual-zone climate control. Users can also customize their car with a panoramic sunroof and a leather trim.

Kia Optima Evolution

The interiors on the first batch of the Kia Optima bore striking resemblance to Hyundai sedans. However, the exteriors and the nuts and bolts were different. In 2002, all Kia Optima models received some upgrades. The models sold in the U.S. during this time did not have the Kia logo embossed on the grille. The Kia badge returned in the 2003 models, and the sedan got a revamped headlamp in 2004.

The Kia Optima second-generation models manufactured exclusively by Kia Motors were unveiled in the last quarter of 2005. These models were launched on the MG platform. The Kia Optima became recognized as a safe midsize sedan due to this model. A revised version of the Optima was unveiled in 2008 at the New York International Auto Show. This model had new front grille and stylish tail lamps. It was designed by Kia’s Chief Design Officer, Peter Schreyer.

In 2010, the Kia Optima SX was launched; it had a new engine and improved interiors. Other main changes were the inclusion of Sirius Satellite Radio and a revamped instrument cluster. Its 2.4-liter engine delivered 176 horsepower. The Optima models launched in 2010 also had a proximity key. The SX models had paddle shifters.

The third-generation Kia Optima was unveiled in 2011 at the New York Auto Show. Peter Schreyer designed this model with a sportier and sleeker look. This sedan also featured the Tiger Nose: the corporate grille that was selected for Kia models. The Kia Optima 2011 was available in six-speed manual- and automatic-transmission variants. The latter featured an eco-dash display. Both were equipped with four-cylinder, 2.4-liter engines. The Kia Optima 2011 models had safety features like ABS brakes and electronic stability control. The EX variant had Kia’s UVO infotainment system, which was invented by Microsoft.

Kia Motors launched the Optima Hybrid 2011 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This model was launched in the U.S. in late-2011. It had lithium polymer batteries with an electric motor to augment the six-speed automatic transmission 2.4-liter engine. The exterior of the hybrid was similar to that of the conventional Optima model, except for the Hybrid logo.

Select a Kia Optima Year

2013 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

The 2013 Kia Optima offers sleek styling and great fuel economy.

2012 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

For 2012, Kia is adding more substance to the style. Chrome door handles adorn the outside on LX models, as do fog lights, heated outside mirrors, and automatic light controls.

2011 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

For the first time since it first went on sale, the Optima gets a dramatic restyle. The larger 2011 Optima now looks more luxurious and more youthful. Power comes from three new sources -- two direct injection four-cylinders and the upcoming hybrid. The Optima’s new the base engine, with an estimated 200 horses, has more power than the outgoing V-6 does (194 hp).

2009 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

For the 2009 model year, the Kia Optima was redesigned and updated.

2008 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

The 2008 Kia Optima is a solid choice in the selection of family sedans on the market.

2007 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

Having made its reputation for producing inexpensive cars in the United States, Kia created one of the best in affordability with loads of style and performance.

2005 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

The 2005 Kia Optima classifies as a midsize sedan produced by Kia Motors.

2003 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

The 2003 Kia Optima sees its third year on the market.

2002 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

The Kia Optima is a midsize sedan that came along late in 2000.

2001 Kia Optima

Midsize, Sedan

The 2001 Kia Optima is a four-door midsize sedan built by the Korean automaker.

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