2016 Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima
- image 624940
  • Kia Optima
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4(Est.)
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    185 @ 6000
  • Torque @ RPM:
    178 @ 4000
  • Displacement:
    2.4 L (Est.)
  • 0-60 time:
    8.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    152 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; FWD
  • Price:
    21840
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Kia has made huge strides as far as overall quality and design goes since the brand entered the U.S. Market. That is more evident than ever in the 2016 Kia Optima. In terms of exterior styling, the new Optima gained restyled headlights and a new, more aggressive front fascia. The grille is now sleeker, and the side body profile is much sleeker than before. On the inside, Kia looked to its larger vehicles for inspiration, which resulted in an upscale, premium interior with quality and finish that is normally reserved for more luxurious nameplates. The center stack is even graced with an 8-inch UVO2 infotainment and connectivity system. Under the hood, Kia played the fuel economy game. Instead of upgrading, Kia opted to carry over the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter from the previous generation with a decrease in power to accommodate an increase in fuel economy. A 1.6-liter, turbocharged unit has also been added to the list of powertrain options for 2016.

As you can see, Kia has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the new Optima. It’s not surprising, considering it was also inspired by the Sportspace Concept. The newly styled sedan raises the bar for styling and interior space and brings plenty of premium features that make it one comfortable chariot of those longer road trips. It’s hard to believe Kia has come this far, but it surely has. So, with that said, let’s look into the specifics of the new Optima and why it’s a major competitor for the midsized sedan market.

Updated 10/13/2015: Kia announced prices for the 2016 Optima which will go on sale in in five trim levels – LX, LX 1.6T, EX, SX and SXL. Prices will range from $21,840 for the LX with a 2.4-liter engine up to $35,790 for the SXL version equipped with the 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder engine.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Kia Optima.

 

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10 Best Used Cars For New Drivers

10 Best Used Cars For New Drivers

Staying safe without breaking the bank

While most modern cars pack in the safety features and offer plenty of value-per-dollar, there are some out there that seem to stand above the rest. If you’re scouring the used market looking for just the right ride for your new driver, fear not, as we’ve put together a list that outlines ten models that are just a few years old, but still come with just about everything you could want.

Each entry also includes a rundown on crashworthiness, as tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that conducts research on almost all new cars.

So with that, read on for our list of the ten best-used cars for new drivers.

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10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars of All Time

10 Most Fuel Efficient Cars of All Time

From hatches to muscles, cars of all shapes and sizes are adopting green technology. Whether autonomous cars will become a reality or not is a different question; electric cars are the future. Even though the ‘EV’ cars were introduced barely a decade ago, the kind of transformation and innovations we’ve seen in the last couple of years makes the whole thing look like a yesteryear concept. In this article, we’ve listed out the ten most fuel-efficient vehicles.

But before that, let’s just put the basic questions to rest once-in-for-all: the difference between EV, Hybrid, and Plug-in Hybrid - an electric vehicle is the one that runs solely on electric power. You don’t have a combustion engine here whatsoever. A hybrid engine is the one where the car will charge its own batteries on the run with the gasoline engine. As for the plug-in hybrids, the car can be plugged into electricity points to charge the batteries. Now that we have clarified the obvious and bored you enough, let’s move on to the heart of the article.

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Kia is Considering AWD for the Niro and Optima, but the Sedona Will Have to Wait

Kia is Considering AWD for the Niro and Optima, but the Sedona Will Have to Wait

When customers voice out their wants and needs, the automaker has to listen

Kia is looking into the viability of more of its vehicles all-wheel drive as demand for the system grows. Unlike in the past, more customers are now looking for the increased grip that an AWD system provides, and when that kind of demand increases, an automaker like Kia has to listen. Among the models being eyed to get standard AWD in the future include the Optima sedan, the Sedona minivan, and Niro crossover. No decision has been made yet, but Kia is looking at it as a possibility now that customers have become more vocal in their desire to see them on the Kia models that they buy.

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Kia May be Trying a Little Too Hard in the Looks Department With the 2019 Optima

Kia May be Trying a Little Too Hard in the Looks Department With the 2019 Optima

It looks good for now but will get old quick

The current generation of the Kia Optima isn’t but a few years old, but its mid-cycle facelift came a little early this time around. As is the usual case, there isn’t a lot of change to discuss, but the updated optima does have a new front fascia, new headlight and taillight units, and a revised rear fascia insert that allows for repositioned reflectors and new exhaust outlets. Interior enhancements are limited to some changes to technology while there are no changes under the hood to speak of. With that said, there are still some interesting things to cover so let’s take a look at the finer details.

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Visual Comparison: 2019 Volvo V60 Wagon vs 2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon

Visual Comparison: 2019 Volvo V60 Wagon vs 2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon

These aren’t your grandfather’s wagons

There once was a time not too long ago when station wagons were becoming irrelevant. They still had a following, but fans of wagon we’re dwindling. Fast forward to the present, and the script has flipped entirely. Wagons are popular again, and a big part of that is the design reinvention they’ve enjoyed in recent years. Need two examples? Look no further than the Kia Optima Sportwagon and the Volvo V60.

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2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon

2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon

Two new engines, updated appearances, and updated safety tech for 2019

Kia Motors Europe is giving the Optima and Optima Sportswagon a mild mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year. The cars will go on display at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show March 6 and will go on sale in Europe starting in the third quarter of 2018.

While the visual modifications are light, the 2019 Optima Sportswagon adds two new engines to its current lineup. These are designed to expand the Optima’s range and appeal, on top of the current plug-in hybrid powertrain and the sporty GT variant.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon.

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Kia Gives the Optima Sportswagon a Revitalizing New Look and Fresh Power for the Geneva Motor Show

Kia Gives the Optima Sportswagon a Revitalizing New Look and Fresh Power for the Geneva Motor Show

More efficient, cleaner, and better looking equals a successful sales recipe

Kia Motors of Europe is giving the Kia Optima sedan and Sportswagon a healthy mid-cycle refresh for the 2019 model year. The South Korean automaker is hoping to play off its successes in 2017 with an Optima that’s even more focused on customer demands.

Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Europe, said in Kia’s official release that “The Optima enjoyed a record year of sales in Europe in 2017, with sales growing from 9,600 to more than 16,800 units last year. It is a key contributor to Kia’s sustainable growth in Europe, and the Optima’s sales momentum has been maintained through the introduction of new variants in 2017. These include Sportswagon and high-performance GT variants, and an ultra-low emissions Plug-in Hybrid powertrain.

Headlining the changes are two new engines: a new “U3” 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine. They join the two existing 2.0-liter gasoline engines and Kia’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The entire range now comes with drive modes, allowing customization of the driving experience.

Outwardly, the new Kia Optima Sportswagon boasts a slightly revised exterior that’s more upscale. The grille, lower fascia, headlights, and fog lights are all mildly different. Around back, new LED taillights shine with an updated pattern. New wheels also accompany the changes. The sporty GT trim gets further changes, including specific 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, and gloss black trim on the mirror caps, side sills, and grille. The rear bumper features dual exhaust, as well.

Inside, the Optima’s cabin remains mostly unchanged. A new steering wheel, stain chrome trim, and a new ambient lighting package are the biggest updates. Two-tone leather seats are now optional, including black leather with red contrast stitching.

On GT models, the interior gets the GT insignia embroidered on the seatbacks in either black or gray contrast stitching, depending on the choice of leather seating color.

The 2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon gets a handful of active safety technology, too. This includes Kia’s new Driver Attention Warning system, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with pedestrian recognition, Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, and Dynamic Bending Light (headlights that follow the steering wheel) with the LED headlights. A 360-degree camera system is also new for 2019.

Last but not least, the 2019 Optima comes with Kia’s most up-to-date infotainment software on both the standard 7.0-inch and optional 8.0-inch touchscreens. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation from TomTom are all included.

Kia has not announced pricing at this point, but that will become available closer to the 2019 Optima and Optima Sportswaon’s on-sale date in Europe during the third quarter of 2018.

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When Smooching Becomes the Price you Pay to Own a Kia Optima

When Smooching Becomes the Price you Pay to Own a Kia Optima

Talk about going all-out to win a $22,000 sedan

They say that desire drives people to fulfil their ambitions and while the saying itself is a little cheeky, it still rings true for a lot of people. No more was that on full display than in a recent competition hosted by Austin, Texas radio station 96.7 KISS FM, which partnered with a Kia dealership to create a contest that called for people to actually kiss a Kia Optima LX trim in the hopes of going home and winning the sedan.

The contest, appropriately called, “Kiss a Kia,” attracted a huge number of people, all of whom were told to actually kiss the Optima for as long as they can. Contestants were given one hour to kiss a certain part of the Optima before receiving 10-minute breaks to relax their lips. Then they moved to another part of the car and kissed that part for another hour, repeating the whole process for as long as their bodies could take. Really, all of this took place. Ultimately, seven people still stood after an intense 50-hour kissing marathon, proving that aforementioned quote true. Organizers eventually had to pick a winner from the seven people, choosing 30-year old Dilini Jayasuriya, who ended up driving home with the sedan. The six finishers who missed out on the car didn’t go home empty-handed either as they received a number of consolation prizes, not the least of which included tickets to Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars concerts.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Kia Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Combines Cargo Space with Hybrid Engine

Kia Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Combines Cargo Space with Hybrid Engine

Sportswagon + Plug-in Hybrid guts = Kia’s newest European hit

Wagons are big sellers in Europe and around the globe, so it only makes sense for Kia to debut its Sportswagon version of the Optima Plug-in Hybrid. Announced at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, the Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid offers a 60-kilometer range on battery power before its 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder kicks in. And while neither the Sportswagon nor the plug-in hybrid powertrain are new to Kia, this marks the first time they have been combined. Sales will begin in the third quarter of 2017 across Europe.

The familiar powertrain consists of Kia’s 2.0-liter GDI (gasoline, direct injection) four-cylinder from the Nu engine family. Alone, it generates 154 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. The gasoline engine is supplemented by an 11.26-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which powers a 50-kW motor mated between the gas engine and automatic transmission. The result is a total system output of 202 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. Kia says the Optima Sportswagon will hit 62 mph in 9.7 seconds. It’s no Tesla Model S, by any means.

Aside from its lackadaisical straight-line acceleration, the Optima Sportswagon is highly competitive. It boasts a cargo space of 1,574 liters with the rear seats folded flat. That’s 55.5 cubic feet for those on the Imperial scale. With the rear seats raised, the cargo area still provides 440 liters (15.5 cubic feet) of room. That’s on par with many crossovers and other wagons on the market.

Of course, the Optima Sportswagon shares commonalities between its respective parents. The overall wagon shape remains true, while the added aero bits are straight from the Optima Plug-in Sedan. These features include aerodynamically tuned bumpers, side skirts, and wheels. Inside, the driver gets an updated instrument cluster that displays powertrain information on the eight-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present, too, as is TomTom’s Kia Connected Services with life traffic updates and such. Active safety systems include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2017 Kia Optima Sportswagon

2017 Kia Optima Sportswagon

Just a year ago at the Geneva Auto Show, Kia revealed its Sportspace Concept. It was basically a sportier, stretched out Optima Sedan. As Kia put it, the Sportspace was “a totally new breed of grand tourer that promises to bring sportiness and utility under the same roof.” At the time, we didn’t know whether or not the Sportspace would pave the way for an actual model, but toward the end of 2015, our spy photographers caught a similar prototype on public roads.

When we got our hands on the spy shots, we speculated that the car was near-production ready and would likely be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show this March. As it turns out, we were correct. Kia has just officially announced the Kia Optima Sportswagon and has released several preview images and a plethora of information regarding its first ever D-segment tourer.

Now that we have official details and photos of Kia’s new Sportswagon, it is time we take a look at what we’re going to see when the car makes its official public debut in Geneva. From a quick glance at the images, it looks like Kia did pretty well on its new tourer, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

Updated 02/18/2016: Kia dropped the official details on the new Optima Sportswagon with just a few days before the car’s official debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Kia Optima Sportswagon.

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2016 Kia Optima Turbo Review

2016 Kia Optima Turbo Review

Kia’s colorful sock in a beige world

It’s easy to think of Kia as little more than a purveyor of quirky, boxy subcompacts and the creative force behind those anthropomorphic hamsters, but the junior Korean brand has spent the past twenty years or so developing an impressive and multifaceted lineup. The latest incarnation of Kia’s mid-size Optima exemplifies this growth and maturation.

Now available as a turbocharged luxury-sport sedan, the Optima might surprise some buyers with its Kia badge. In reality, it shouldn’t come as that much of surprise.

Over the years the Optima, introduced in 2001, has grown in both size and refinement, learning from the competition and culminating in this 245 horsepower, $30,000 four-door that, impressively, isn’t even the flagship of the Kia lineup (that honor goes to the K900). The latest Optima stands out as an unusually good-looking and well-built car that defies its bottom line with amenities. With the Optima Turbo joining the lineup, “performance” can also be added to the list.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Kia Optima.

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2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia’s newest family-sized green machine

The mid-size Optima is Kia’s best-seller, and it’s been an impressive contender in a highly competitive market. Between the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu, there’s not much room for slacking when it comes to family sedans. Kia has worked hard to successfully keep up with the demands of nipping at the heels of the best-sellers, and it follows up on the fresh redesign of the Optima with an equally refurbished Optima Hybrid.

Not to be overshadowed by the introduction of the all-new Niro hybrid, Kia’s gasoline-electric Optima broadens from a single model into a lineup, with the addition of a plug-in hybrid version to the stable. This is as much to improve the breed as it is to keep up with the figurative Joneses: Ford, Toyota and Honda all offer hybrids, and the Optima is available as a plug-in version as well.

Both of the upcoming Optima hybrids are sold under Kia’s new EcoDynamics sub-brand. Kia’s future electric and hybrid projects will also migrate to this umbrella, for stronger brand recognition.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid.

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Kia's Super Bowl 50 Ad Gets An Assist From Christopher Walken

Kia’s Super Bowl 50 Ad Gets An Assist From Christopher Walken

Hollywood A-lister uses sock metaphor to describe the new Optima

Just like it previewed a week ago, Kia’s Super Bowl 50 commercial revolves around Academy Award-winner Christopher Walken and a pair of socks, one of which is beige and the other being of the colorful variety. Actually, Richard also plays a part in it, as does the all-new Kia Optima, which is secretly the star of the ad.

The basic gist revolves around Richard, a well-meaning follow who just wanted to look for his beige socks. But, he got more than he bargained for when he walked in on Walken in his walk-in closet (how’s that for a tongue twister?) holding the pair of beige socks he was looking for. Instead of just giving the socks to Richard, Walken goes all philosophical, explaining the difference between the beige socks and the colorful one in his other hand. All this eventually ends up with Walken showing Richard the new Optima, labeling it the “world’s most exciting pair of socks, except it’s a mid-size sedan.”

The ad accomplishes a number of things, most notably Walken’s presence serving as an extra punch of excitement considering his status as a bonafide Hollywood A-lister. But more important that that, it also highlights the new Optima as a game-changer in the mid-sized sedan segment, offering what Kia Motors America (KMA) COO Michael Sprague describes as a “level of refinement and sophistication unlike anything else in the midsize segment.” Walken does a great job smashing home that point, even though the sock metaphor is rather curious at best.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Super Bowl 50: Christopher Walken Stars In Kia's "Walken Closet" Commercial: Video

Super Bowl 50: Christopher Walken Stars In Kia’s "Walken Closet" Commercial: Video

The commercial is meant to promote the Optima, in case the teaser wasn’t clear about it

With Super Bowl 50 just eight days away, we’re slowly getting to see some teaser spots for some of the commercials that will air during the game. One of the first teasers that have arrived is Kia’s commercial, featuring legendary actor Christopher Walken. The title of the add is “Walken Closet” - nice pun there, Kia - and just as the title implies, it features a man who goes into his walk-in closet to look for his socks. The only problem is that he instead finds Walken, sitting like a boss in one of those Godfather-like chairs, holding the pair of socks the man was looking for.

Here’s the thing about this ad: there was no mention of Kia or any of its models in it other than at the end where we find out that the ad will be promoting the all-new Kia Optima. The company did say that part of the ad’s objective is to showcase the Optima as a “vibrant alternative for those determined not to blend in”. Considering how that walk-in closet is literally full of suits of the same colors, I’d venture a guess that the man in the ad is the anti-thesis of the kind of consumer Kia is targeting with the Optima.

In any event, the treatment of the teaser offers a unique way of teasing the ad without showing the actual car. It’s an age-old ad strategy mean to drive up the curiosity level a little bit higher and, for what it’s worth, it works. I personally want to see what the commercial is going to look like in full form. Oh, and that whole idea of Christopher Walken sitting inside a walk-in closet? That was pretty funny too.

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2015 Kia A1A Optima

2015 Kia A1A Optima

The Kia Optima started out as nothing more than a rebadged Hyundai Sonata, and it’s continued on through four generations as a sedan. All that just changed, as one company took the Optima and chopped its top to make one unique convertible.

This peculiar Optima was put together by LUX Motorwerks to pay tribute to the A1A highway in Florida. For those of you who don’t know, A1A is a 300-mile stretch of highway that just begs to be cruised by anybody who owns a roadster, with ample amounts of crystal-white sand and beautiful blue ocean water – the exact things that inspired the color scheme of this one-off Optima.

One thing to keep in mind is that this car didn’t just have the top chopped off – the body was also reinforced to keep it road worthy. However, it’s a concept, so don’t expect to walk into a Kia dealership anytime soon and buy one. The car received some interior mods, and even a high-performance exhaust system. With all of that said, let’s quit wasting time and see just what LUX Motorwerks did to this Optima to make it SEMA ready.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Kia A1A Optima.

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2016 Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima

Kia has made huge strides as far as overall quality and design goes since the brand entered the U.S. Market. That is more evident than ever in the 2016 Kia Optima. In terms of exterior styling, the new Optima gained restyled headlights and a new, more aggressive front fascia. The grille is now sleeker, and the side body profile is much sleeker than before. On the inside, Kia looked to its larger vehicles for inspiration, which resulted in an upscale, premium interior with quality and finish that is normally reserved for more luxurious nameplates. The center stack is even graced with an 8-inch UVO2 infotainment and connectivity system. Under the hood, Kia played the fuel economy game. Instead of upgrading, Kia opted to carry over the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter from the previous generation with a decrease in power to accommodate an increase in fuel economy. A 1.6-liter, turbocharged unit has also been added to the list of powertrain options for 2016.

As you can see, Kia has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the new Optima. It’s not surprising, considering it was also inspired by the Sportspace Concept. The newly styled sedan raises the bar for styling and interior space and brings plenty of premium features that make it one comfortable chariot of those longer road trips. It’s hard to believe Kia has come this far, but it surely has. So, with that said, let’s look into the specifics of the new Optima and why it’s a major competitor for the midsized sedan market.

Updated 10/13/2015: Kia announced prices for the 2016 Optima which will go on sale in in five trim levels – LX, LX 1.6T, EX, SX and SXL. Prices will range from $21,840 for the LX with a 2.4-liter engine up to $35,790 for the SXL version equipped with the 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI 4-cylinder engine.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Kia Optima.

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2016 Kia Optima GT

2016 Kia Optima GT

The talk of whether or not Kia will ever build a full-on sports car at times seems like it will go on forever without the car ever actually materializing. But Kia does seem to be getting a little close with this, the new Optima GT, a sport sedan unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show. It’s not quite the same as getting a sports car, but having Kia thinking about performance at all is a welcome sign. The Optima GT is intended for the European market, and although Kia doesn’t specifically say that the car won’t be sold in North America, it is heavily implied.

The car being aimed at Europe actually follows Kia’s previous GT models, the cee’d GT and the 2014 Kia pro_cee’d GT. We haven’t gotten a GT version of those cars either, which are Europe’s versions of the 2014 Kia Forte5, but the Forte is just as fast without the GT suffix anyway. Kia also takes a different approach to the Optima in Europe, and this is why the GT will be staying on that side of the pond. It all seems much more complicated than it needs to be, but we’re here to explain it all.

Updated 09/24/2015: We’ve added a series of new photos we took at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Find them in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Kia Optima GT.

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2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS

2015 Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS

Kia may not have a rich racing heritage, but the past four years have proven the Koreans can develop competitive race cars. On U.S. soil, the Forte Koup marked the company’s debut in motorsport, specifically in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Forte was replaced in 2012 by the third-gen Kia Optima, which became the manufacturer’s official entry in the Pirelli World Challenge. After securing its first win in its maiden season, the Optima went on to win the Pirelli World Challenge’s Grand Touring Sport (GTS) class in 2014, defeating rivals from Ford, Chevrolet, Porsche and Aston Martin. As we venture toward the 2015 season, the Koreans have introduced their updated racer at the 2014 SEMA Show.

As you’d expect from a Pirelli World Challenge contender, not much has changed with the Optima GTS. Most internals carry over unmodified, as does the turbocharged, 2.0-liter engine that utilizes many stock Kia parts. There is one thing that’s different from last season’s car though, but you’ll have to read on to find out more about that.

Click past the jump to read more about the Kia Optima Pirelli World Challenge GTS.

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2014 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept

2014 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept

Launched in 2000, the Kia Optima has evolved in a spectacular fashion from the rebadged Hyundai Sonata that was introduced 14 years ago to the sleek and sporty sedan that debuted in 2011. The third-generation model also marked the introduction of a hybrid version, as well as the sedan’s motorsports debut in the Pirelli World Challenge series. At the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Kia showcased yet another variant of the Optima as a concept. This is the Optima T-Hybrid, a study that showcases the company’s newest hybrid drivetrain.

Unlike the production Optima Hybrid, which uses the 2.4-liter gasoline engine and a 30kW electric motor, the T-Hybrid combines the brand’s 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine and electric motor powered by a 48V lead-carbon battery. Although there are no production plans for the Optima T-Hybrid as of this writing, Kia says the innovative drivetrain remains under consideration for future models.

Click past the jump to read more about the Kia Optima T-Hybrid Concept.

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2014 - 2015 Kia Optima

2014 - 2015 Kia Optima

Kia Motors represents the truest form of the American dream. Long ago in 1992, Kia immigrated into the U.S. and brought with it little more than the proverbial change in its pocket. The Korean automaker had ambitious dreams of striking it big and making a name for itself within the free 50 states that span the North American continent. Ambition and tenacity would come in handy as the young automaker rolled out products that were less than popular with buyers used to elbow room and reliability.

However, as time marched on, the young automaker grew up. It began making vehicles the car-buying public actually took interest in. Sales began to grow, as did the level of talent within the design and engineering teams. Improved looks and better quality interiors soon started finding their way into Kia’s model lineup, improving year over year. Reliability grew as well, netting some notable awards that further assured potential customers. Soon, Kia Motors and its sister company Hyundai, found themselves unofficially considered a respectable automaker in the land of dreams.

The twins aren’t resting on their laurels, though, as both are rolling out premium products that evenly compete against the vehicular industry stalwarts like Ford, Toyota, Honda, and even Lexus. That brings us to Kia’s latest and greatest product, the 2014 Optima.

The new Optima carries the torch by sporting a slight refresh and reworked interior over the outgoing 2013 model – one that enjoyed incredible sales of over 150,000 units last year alone. Without messing with success, Kia has moved the Optima into the new year with extra levels of refinement and class – something never associated with the automaker just 15 years prior.

Updated 5/15/2014: Kia has announced that the 2015 Optima will feature a few changes to make things a little easier inside the cabin. These changes include the moving of the cruise control buttons into an easier-to-access part of the right spoke of the steering wheel, new brushed bezels on the SX model’s D-shaped steering wheel and white contrast stitching in the SX trim. Additionally, the LX model has optional black cloth upholstery. The biggest change, however, is the addition of the next-generation UVO system as an option on the EX, and SX trims — the SX Limited gets the UVO system as standard. There are also a few color changes and an upgraded windshield on all trim levels.

Click past the jump for all the info on the 2014 Kia Optima

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2014 Kia Optima Hybrid

2014 Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia continued its eco-onslaught today at the Chicago Auto Show when it introduced the 2014 Optima Hybrid. It features a revised exterior design similar to the refresh the base gasoline sedan just received heightens the visuals, while some specific hybrid additions increase aerodynamic efficiency. Tons of high-tech equipment and increased levels of safety make this Optima Hybrid sedan ready to storm the market.

The new Optima Hybrid’s gas-electric combination powertrain is good for 199 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to this hybrid setup, Kia is promising an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and a combined overall fuel economy of 38 mpg.

The latest Kia Optima sedan has been garnering lots of praise since its refresh this year, and it is nice to see this same level of refinement being applied to the Hybrid. The new design is both and refreshing in a world of “me-too” sedan styling.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid.

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2014 Kia Optima SX Limited

2014 Kia Optima SX Limited

The 2014 Kia Optima SX Limited made its debut at the New York International Auto Show and offers a sporty package for the mid-sized sedan market.

The Kia Optima line is the best-selling line for the Korean automaker and the SX Limited model offers a more upscale feel. The cars styling has subtle details that set it apart from the other cars in the model’s lineup.

The SX Limited offers a high performing engine and a lot of tech goodies. The more powerful engine option is given away with styling cues such as larger chrome alloy wheels, red brake calipers and chrome accents. Kia is hoping that this model will help give the car a bit more excitement than the lower level cars in the model’s lineup.

The design of the car was out of Frankfurt Germany to help ensure a pleasing European design. The Limited is styled to compete with sporty mid-size sedans from Europe and Japan and looks like it will give them a run for their money.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2014 Kia Optima SX Limited.

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2012 Kia Optima Hybrid "Superman"

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid "Superman"

What we can tell you for sure at this point is that Kia is a huge fan of cartoon superheroes. Until now, we have seen models inspired by Batman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg and Green Lantern, and as you can see, there is someone missing on this list. Yes, you are right: Superman!

This doesn’t mean that Kia forgot about him. The most likely reason is that the automaker couldn’t find an auto show to unveil the superman-inspired Optima. Well, the wait is over, as the Superman-inspired Optima Hybrid made its debut at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show debut.

The car has been designed in cooperation with Super Street magazine, but except an aggressive body kit and the Superman-inspired coloration we see nothing "super" about this Optima. It gets customer fenders that make it a little bit wider, a beveled front grille resembling Superman’s belt and red headlights. The concept is painted in a very cool blue combined with Superman’s unmistakable chest emblem on the hood and red elements added on the trunk.

The interior features the same blue and red color combination and gets Superman’s iconic "S" shield integrated into the seats and steering wheel.

And that’s pretty much all the super stuffs added in the new Superman-inspired Kia Optima. Was it worth? Most likely not, but is always good to discover your inner-child.

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2013 Kia Optima "Batmobile"

2013 Kia Optima "Batmobile"

Kia has teamed up with DC Entertainment and Rides magazine to create a one-off version of the 2013 Optima that is inspired by the DC Comic “Batman.” This creation is slated to be part of a benefit dubbed the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, which helps fight hunger in the Horn of Africa. The benefit itself is a great cause, but the car is simply awesome.

Kia started off with the range-topping Optima SX, which boasts a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that pops out 274 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an impressive 269 pound-feet at torque at an ultra-low 1,750 rpm. This is enough to get this sedan to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, but still turn in a 22 mpg city and 34 mpg highway EPA fuel economy rating.

Though there are no engine modifications, sans the performance exhaust system, to this Kia turned Batmobile, it does boast a lowered coil-over suspension to help it in the twist and Ksport performance brakes to grind it to a halt a little quicker. On the exterior, Kia draped the Optima in a matte- and piano-black color combination and tossed in a set of 20-inch black wheels wrapped in low-profile rubber. Kia also modified its trademark grille to look like the batman logo and even placed the batman logo in place of the “Kia” logo in the center of the grille. Wrapping up the exterior are yellow LED lights underneath the vehicle and the bat signal etched into the HID headlights.

Inside the Optima, Kia wrapped the interior in custom black leather and suede with yellow accent stitching to maintain the Batman theme. You even get a “Bat suit” in the trunk and a set of throwing stars in the center console. Two video screens on the front headrests cap of the interior and will be playing a video during the campaign that will showcase how people can get involved with the “We Can Be Heroes” project.

Our hats go off to Kia for building such an awesome car for just an awesome cause.

Click past the jump to read Kia’s press release.

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2012 Kia Optima SX Limited

2012 Kia Optima SX Limited

Kia has brought a new range topping Optima to the 2012 Chicago Auto Show. The special Optima SX Limited will go on sale in March and will be offered exclusively in three exterior colors: Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl, and Titanium Metallic.

The special edition Kia Optima SX Limited will be distinguished by LED daytime running lights, a chrome-accented rear spoiler, lower door sills, wood interior trim, and a new set of uniquely designed chrome 18-inch wheels. The interior has been dressed up in black or white Nappa for the leather seats, door panels, center console armrest, and center fascia trim for a premium feel. All of these elements are combined with wood accents on the steering wheel, interior door trim, and shift knob, and a black tricot fabric lends a premium feel to the headliner, sun visor, and A, B, and C pillars.

The Kia Optima SX Limited is powered by the vehicle’s usual 2.0-liter turbo GDI V6 engine that delivers a total of 274 HP and achieves 22/34 mpg city/hwy.

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Super Bowl Ad: Kia has found "A Dream Car For Real Life"

Okay, so at first we thought Kia’s ad for this year’s SuperBowl was going to be the five-hour long video of Victoria’s Secret supermodel Adrianna Lima waving a checkered flag back and forth repeatedly. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, Kia has another way of advertising during the biggest football game of the year.

Their true SuperBowl commercial is called "A Dream Car. For Real Life." It features a couple who are visited by a sandman who sprinkles a little special dust on them to make for a couple of fabulous dreams. He accidentally drops the entire man on the gentleman and his dream because Kia’s high-powered ad featuring the Optima. In this ad, the man cruises around in his Optima while getting an eyeful of Adrianna Lima, UFC fighter Chuck Lidell, and American heavy metal band Mötley Crüe, among other things. He performs the ultimate task however, when he rides into his wife’s perfect dream and rescues her from her dream man on the white horse.

If this commercial isn’t enough for you and you’re looking for a little more of the scantily clad Adrianna Lima, hit the jump. There, you’ll find five hours worth of some bare skin and flag waving.

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2012 Kia Optima SX World Challenge GTS Race Car

2012 Kia Optima SX World Challenge GTS Race Car

The debuts are coming fast and furious at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show so we’re going to be on our toes to stay on top of the action as more cars are unveiled.

One that got our attention was the Kia Optima SX World Challenge GTS Race Car. Given the fact that Kia is a relative neophyte in the world of auto racing, we’ve been pleasantly surprised in the company’s aggressive stance in building race cars. Last month at SEMA, they even introduced their new Rio B-Spec Racer and an Optima USTCC Pace Car. Now, it’s the Optima’s turn to be tuned to racing specifications, this time for the Pirelli World Challenge Championships.

One possible explanation behind Kia’s sudden enthusiasm in auto racing was born out of the success they’ve had in the sport, despite only being active in competitive racing for the past two years.

"As a brand with no previous racing experience in America, for Kia to win two motorsports championships in just its second year is an incredible accomplishment, and expanding our motorsports footprint with the turbocharged Optima entering World Challenge will continue to build passion and enthusiasm for the brand with an entirely new fan base at different race tracks across the country," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA.

The cars were built as a collaborative project between Kia Motors America and Kinetic Motorsports where they will be competing in a racing series that features race-prepped versions of production vehicles from many of the world’s most popular manufacturers. The pair of Optimas that were unveiled at the LA Auto Show have been tuned with aerodynamic styling and outstanding driving dynamics that should make them well suited to handle the high-octane, steel-scraping world of World Challenge racing.

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2012 Kia Optima Hybrid USTCC Pace Car

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid USTCC Pace Car

If we weren’t looking at this car with our very own eyes, we would have never believed that a Kia Optima Hybridcould look this good! Kia has pulled out all of the stops at this year’s SEMA Show with two very impressive update packages based on the hybrid sedan. First, was the Optima Hybrid Griffin and now, the USTCC Kia Optima Hybrid Pace Car.

The new USTCC Optima Hybrid Pace Car will replace the current Kia Soul as the official Safety Car of the USTCC. The car was developed in cooperation with GoGoGear.com and includes a free-flow air intake system, a Magnaflow exhaust system, a coil-over suspension kit to lower the ride height, a front splitter and rear wing, and lightweight wheels wrapped around performance tires.

All of those accessories are amazing in their own right, but the first thing we noticed on the car was the stunning custom color scheme, series graphics, and array of lighting. The Optima now benefits from a crisp black exterior with neon green graphics and a plethora of lighting, including LED auxiliary lights and HID headlight. The Optima Pace Car also has strobe lights and an LED light bar on the roof to help direct traffic while on duty.

The interior was also transformed to make the job easier with a 2,400-watt audio and video system and a DVD system with dual seven-inch monitors in the front-seat headrests and wireless headphones. The Optima was also given custom leather seats with green stitching to match the exterior trim color.

The USTCC Kia Optima Hybrid Pace Car will make its first USTCC appearance in March 2012.

Updated 11/09/2011: We have added real life images of the Kia Optima Hybrid USTCC Pace Car from its official debut on the SEMA floor. Find them in the picture gallery.

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2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Griffin

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Griffin

Everyone knows that hybrid cars are firstly being built for being environmental friendly and second for great look or performance. But this special Kia Optima Hybrid Griffin is the perfect proof that absolutely any car in the world can look great if you know the changes it needs.

The car has been developed by Kia in cooperation with West Coast Customs as a tribute to Blake Griffin - the company’s official spokesperson. And as you might have expected the car features a a basketball-themed, with custom orange paint scheme combined with 20"matte black wheels and Griffin’s personal logo on the hood.

The interior gets basketball-court flooring in the front and rear seating areas, custom leather seats with Griffin’s autograph embroidered in the front headrests, leather and suede door panel inserts and headliner, and a booming audio system. And if you wanted even more the car also gets two flat-screen TVs mounted in the back of the front headrests connect to a Microsoft®(2) X-Box video game console and a "Pop-A-Shot" basketball hoop mounted in the trunk.

Updated 11/09/2011: We have added new images of the Kia Optima Hybrid Griffin from its official debut on the SEMA floor. Check the picture gallery to see them.

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Super Bowl Ad: Even the Mayans love the Kia Optima

Just how far would you go to drive the Kia Optima?

To give an idea just how criminally desirable Kia’s new mid-size sedan is, the Korean automaker’s new Super Bowl commercial features the car getting jacked multiple times by the most unlikely of people. Or in one case, the Greek God of the Sea.

From a policeman, to a terrorist, to Poseidon, to aliens, and finally the Mayan empire, the Kia Optima exchanges hands more times than a day spent in East L.A.

Apparently, everybody loves the Optima so much that they’d resort to underhanded tactics to have a chance to get behind the wheel of it. In the end, the Optima ends up in the hands of the Mayan empire, which would have been cool except that we seriously doubt if those people knew how to drive it.

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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia has unveiled the company’s first ever hybrid model at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new Optima Hybrid will go on sale early next year and targets models like the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The 2011 Optima Hybrid features a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED) layout with the electric motor separated from the transmission gear-set. The new model will also be among the first full hybrid systems on the market to use a typical step-ratio automatic transmission.

The Optima can be driven in zero emission, full-electric drive mode at speeds up to 62 mph or in blended gas-electric mode at any speed. As for the look of the vehicle, the hybrid model will have many features that the standard Optima lacks. For starters, the front of the car will get a new front grille with a completely new design, as well as a new front lower bumper and new headlamps. There will also be new fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, chrome accents on the exterior door handles, and side sills. The back of the car will see a new rear lower bumper, LED tail lamp design, and a rear lip spoiler. The wheels will be a 16-inch alloy wheel design. Customers will also have the option for a Premium Technology Package that will add extra features to their model.

Press release after the jump.

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First Drive: 2011 Kia Optima

First Drive: 2011 Kia Optima

We’ll be the first to admit that a car’s badge means something to us. Take for instance, the Ferrari badge. There have been countless numbers of Ferrari products that have been less than stellar, but do we love them? Of course we do, simply because they wear the prancing horse on the hood.

The Kia Motor Company, on the other hand, has a badge that gets about as much street credibility as a science professor. The Korean automaker came to the United States offering cheap and not so cheerful vehicles that are still haunting them to this day.

Despite the badge and despite the misconceptions, Kia has come a long way. The mind numbingly boring Optima may have been in a line of cars that nobody paid any attention to, but the next-generation model may start to change all of that.

Hit the jump to read on.

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2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima

Kia unveiled the 2011 Optima today at the 2010 New York Auto Show. For 2011, the Optima will be offered in the same three trims as before: LX, EX, and SX. Sales will begin this fall.

Customers will have to choose from three different engines as opposed to the two engines previously offered: a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder with 200 hp, a 2.0-liter GDI V6 turbo engine that delivers 274 hp or a 2.4-liter hybrid (available starting 2011). The engine will be mated to either a six-speed manual transmission (LX only) or a six-speed automatic transmission.

The exterior gets a more futuristic look with sharper lines and a new grill. The new, curvier grill is surrounded by projector headlamps and accented with boldly flared wheel arches, a raked cabin, dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, outside mirror turn signal indicators, and 16-inch steel wheels.

The interior comes standard with UVO powered by Microsoft®4 infotainment system with rear-view camera and a push button-start ignition with smart key. Some of the previous features are still seen in the new Optima such as dual-zone automatic air conditioning with rear vents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink®5 and compass, auto light control, driver and front passenger automatic window up/down and eight-way power driver’s seat, lighted glovebox, rear reading lamps, floor mats, and chrome door handles.

UPDATE 10/22/2010: Check out our review of the 2011 Kia Optima by clicking here!

Updated 11/16/2010: Kia today announced prices for the 2011 Optima that is offered in three trims, LX, EX and SX. The LX version is priced at $18,995; the EX version at $22,495; the EX turbo at $24,495 and the SX version at $25,995.

Press release after the jump.

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2011 Kia Optima spotted in the streets of Korea

2011 Kia Optima spotted in the streets of Korea

A spyshot of the new Kia Optima – or K5, or Magentis depending on which part of the world you live in – was recently spotted roaming around the streets of Korea.

According to CarBlogger, the spotted Optima is, in all likelihood, Kia’s base model for the car as evidenced by those undersized wheels. In any event, all the speculations surrounding this car – and maybe we’ll get some clarity on what to call it – will be answered at the New York Motor Show in a few weeks time.

Until then, we’ll settle for spy shots – or in this case, a spy shot – of a car that we’ve been waiting a long time to get a hold of.

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Kia Magentis to make debut at the New York Auto Show

Kia Magentis to make debut at the New York Auto Show

The US market may know it by another name – the Kia Optima – but in other parts of the world, it goes by its other tag, the Kia Magentis, and according to the folks over at Kia, it’s officially bound for the New York Motor Show.

In addition to announcing the venue for the 2011 Magentis’ world debut, teaser sketches of the new Magentis were released. The car, at least as far as we’re concerned, looks a lot sharper and more streamlined than it’s big brother – and fellow new release – the 2011 Cadenza.

According to Kia, the 2011 Magentis will be longer and wider than its predecessor and as a result, will carry a significant increase in cabin space.

Following its debut in New York in April, the Magentis is scheduled for a US release later this year – possibly around fall – and with a Europe release in the spring of 2011.

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Kia Optima

Kia Optima

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This week in brief

Here are the most important news of the week:

2009 Pontiac G8 GXP
2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
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2009 Acura TSX
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2009 Nissan Maxima
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2008 Scion Hako Coupe Concept
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2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe
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2009 Dodge Challenger
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2008 Kia Koup Concept
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2009 Kia Optima
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Mazda2 - World Car of the Year
Saleen S5S Raptor
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Suzuki Kizashi 3
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2009 Kia Optima

2009 Kia Optima

Kia unveiled at the New York Auto Show the 2009 Optima, a model that offers a completely modified exterior, which offers a more aggressive, dynamic style than previous models, and is outfitted with a new engine that provides more power and better fuel economy. The 2009 Optima will go on sale in early fall.

For 2009. Optima is being offered in three different versions: LX, EX and the new sporty SX trim. Along with a sport-tuned suspension, SX upgrades include: a black-bezeled front grille and headlamps, LED outside-mirror turning signals, fog lights and hyper-silver-finished 17-inch wheels. EX and LX V6 models are equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels, and are fitted with Goodyear tires.

The 2009 Optima is available in two powerplants – a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 2.7-liter V6 engine – and two five-speed transmissions (manual with LX four-cylinder model only). The four-cylinder engine delivers 161 hp and the 2.7-liter V6 delivers190 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is mated to a five-speed, gated automatic transmission. All automatics feature Sportmatic clutchless shifting.

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TopSpeed Headline News

TopSpeed Headline News

Testing for Peugeot 908 starts in December. AutoExpress
Cleaner diesel engines from Mercedes-Benz, now available in the US. DetNews
Double win for Malaysia in Brno A1GP. FastMachines
Awards for Kia Optima sedan and Sedona minivan. PR
New Jackets improve safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. AutoExpress
Career day for Ford. DetNews
Porsche Cayman S 1/12th replica for only $155. Make your kids happy this Xmas. PR
GM highly (...)

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2006 KIA Optima

2006 KIA Optima

The latest step in the complete regeneration of the Kia product line-up over the past three years, the all-new Optima combines distinctive styling with a longer wheelbase, a wider track, increased horsepower, better fuel economy and dramatically improved driving dynamics for enhanced performance and passenger comfort.

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Read our full review of the Ford Fusion here.
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Read our full review of the Kia Optima here.
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