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.

Press release

Kia Motors America (KMA) today globally unveiled the all-new 2011 Optima midsize sedan at the New York International Auto Show. Arriving in showrooms in early fall, the next generation Optima continues Kia’s design-led transformation while revealing a completely new and stunning design language for Kia, highlighted by a dynamic and streamlined profile that conveys elegance and athletic confidence from every angle. Optima’s groundbreaking spirit continues under the hood and inside the cabin with the introduction of three new powertrains — including the brand’s first-ever hybrid in the U.S. (available in 2011) — which deliver class-leading power1 and fuel economy while the latest technology features and luxury amenities are available at the touch of a button or a simple voice command.

Designed at Kia’s studios in Frankfurt and Irvine, Calif., the all-new Optima is longer, wider and lower than the vehicle it replaces and is based on an all-new midsize platform that allowed for distinctive dimensions and proportions in the segment1 while also providing a unique canvas for Kia’s global design team to pen a vehicle that stands apart from everything else in the segment.

“The all-new Optima is a new strand in Kia’s growing design DNA with a blend of simple and fluid lines and elegant but uncomplicated shapes that draw the attention of the eye in much the same fashion as a perfectly-tailored fine Italian suit,” said Peter Schreyer, chief design officer, Kia Motors Corporation. “From the distinctive sweeping chrome accent that stretches through the C pillars to the sleek greenhouse and flared wheel arches, every inch of the Optima projects a distinguished and refined style and extreme attention to detail.”

The all-new Optima also employs engine management systems like direct injection and turbocharging to help bring performance to the brand without sacrificing fuel efficiency. Its smooth-flowing lines speak of grace and style and offer a strong hint of European luxury.

Sleek and Streamlined Exterior

The 2011 Optima projects a high-performance yet elegant image with its unique silhouette and sleek stance that builds upon Kia Motors’ philosophy of creating high quality and dynamic vehicles that evoke passion. The striking face of Optima features Kia’s signature bold tabbed grille that is surrounded by projector headlamps. Longer, wider and lower than before, Optima’s coupe-like profile is enhanced by a sweeping chrome arc that flows from the A through C pillars, a distinctive design motif that visually lowers the car further and enhances its proportions. Optima’s roofline connects with its high and pronounced shoulder line that leads to its sculpted flanks and extended wheelbase. Boldly flared wheel arches and a raked cabin create a sedan with a graceful muscular stance.

Available in three trims, LX, EX and SX, the 2011 Optima offers numerous standard features. The LX includes dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, outside mirror turn signal indicators and 16-inch steel wheels fitted with 205/65R16 tires. Upgrading to the EX offers standard fog lights, heated outside mirrors, exterior chrome/body-color door handles along with 17-inch alloy wheels with P215/55/R17 tires. Moving up to the athletic SX adds HID headlights with auto leveling, LED rear combination lights, unique front grille design, rear lip spoiler, sculpted side sills, aero wiper blades, red brake calipers and 18-inch black machined finish alloy wheels furnished with P225/45R18 tires, achieving a true performance look.

Luxuriously Equipped Interior

From the moment the door opens, Optima presents an immediate sense of a driver’s car. The instrument panel is contoured toward the driver to suggest a cockpit feel with precise gauges and controls for an overall sport performance experience without sacrificing comfort or roominess. Paddle shifters behind the steering wheel convey that Optima is built for people who are passionate about cars. A high console with a short shifter adds to the cockpit perception while an available panoramic sunroof provides an open-air feeling. Offering occupants both space and comfort with a number of standard convenience features, the sedan’s chic cabin unifies with the exterior design by welcoming its passengers with lean and ergonomic seat design and effective storage throughout. Modern standard features such as six-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, illuminated vanity mirrors and a trip computer further expand the cabin’s luxurious qualities.

In addition to offering a comfortable cabin, impressive technology features also come standard throughout, including an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service2. Also standard on all trims are auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting with MP3 players and Bluetooth®3 wireless technology connectivity with steering wheel-mounted voice activation controls to enable hands-free operation for compatible mobile phones.

Additional standard interior features include a tilt/telescopic steering column, power door locks, power windows, sun visor extension and an air-conditioned glove box. Stylishly appointed cloth seats provide comfortable seating while a 60/40 split-folding rear seat offers multiple seating and cargo arrangements depending on driver and passenger needs. Optima LX with automatic transmission features cruise control and an active EcoMinder® indicator for optimal fuel efficient driving.

Optima EX comes well-equipped and offers premium standard features, including the UVO powered by Microsoft®4 infotainment system with rear-view camera, push button-start ignition with smart key, 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.

For consumers looking for even more sporty appeal, the Optima SX adds unique black leather woven seat trim, black interior trim with carbon insert film and metal accent, Supervision™ meter cluster with LCD display, center fascia and meter housing, soft trim with French seams, steering wheel paddle shifters, metal pedals and lighted metal door scuff plates.

Available upgrades for the Optima EX and SX trims include a power panoramic sunroof, leather seat trim, memory driver’s seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel for additional interior refinement. Luxuriously appointed features, including an Infinity®6 5.1 surround sound audio system with HD Radio®, and eight speakers delivering in excess of 500-watts of system power and voice-activated navigation system with a seven-inch screen enhance the cabin for audiophiles or those who seek the latest superior quality technology for a modern driving experience.

All-New Advanced Platform

The 2011 Optima is distinctive, right down to its all-new platform. Optima’s low, lean and powerful stance is assisted through its overall length of 190.7 inches, an increase of 1.7 inches over the previous model. Optima is built on a platform with an overall width of 72 inches and wheelbase of 110 inches, an increase of 2.9 inches, and has a low ground clearance of 5.3 inches for enhanced aerodynamics. Optima’s lightweight design uses high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength while also achieving high torsional stiffness, benefiting handling, ride quality and refinement. Additional measures to help ensure good noise vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities are fitted throughout the Optima.

Built on a unibody frame, the front-wheel-drive Optima utilizes independent front and rear suspension systems. MacPherson struts are used in the front with a multi-link layout in the rear and are both joined with coil springs and front anti-roll bars to engage drivers with responsive handling and provide the utmost comfort whether the road is smooth or less than ideal.
Class-Leading Efficient and Powerful Engines

The 2011 Optima is available in three all-new and fuel-efficient Theta II powerplants, a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter GDI turbo engine or a 2.4-liter hybrid. The 2.4-liter GDI engine produces 200 horsepower and upgrading to the available 2.0-liter turbo GDI engine (SX model) delivers V6-type power with a four-cylinder engine that produces 274 horsepower7, while mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This represents Kia’s first application of GDI technology, while a 2.4-liter hybrid Optima will be introduced in 2011. All automatics feature Sportmatic® clutchless shifting. A single six-speed manual transmission is available only with the LX four-cylinder model.


The 2011 Optima is equipped with a high level of standard safety features, as is the rest of the Kia line-up. This includes six airbags (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and force limiters, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.

Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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Show Comments


  (594) posted on 02.8.2012

The exterior is very elegant and glossy appearance. I love the curved structure of the wheels, and the raked cabin created the sedan a muscular outlook.

  (776) posted on 12.22.2011

We are in a global market now. Most domestics are built in Canada or Mexico with parts from China, and if you call for support you will talk to someone in India.

  (526) posted on 11.11.2011

Kia Optima maybe looks so simple and truly not so impressive because on its very common styling, but I would still prefer to have it for the fact that it is very practical to use.

  (448) posted on 10.25.2011

Kia Optima is looks so decent on its aesthetic design, and I noticed that the wheel of this car is very cool and adds more appeal on it, but I’m quite wondering on what will be the interior of this one will look like.

  (762) posted on 02.15.2011

Of course they did not tack headlights that have been on the market for almost 7 years and probably designed ten years ago onto their brand new model. I’m also not one to claim similarities due to just one styling detail but the Sonata seems very Solara like.

  (528) posted on 02.15.2011

I like the optima better, simply for the looks. Hyundai is weird fluid look is a bit over done and although it gets comments from the editors about looking nice, i think it looks cheap. The optima doesn’t have any kind of grandiose predisposition to run with luxury brands so its kinda nice where it fits...not too pretentious.

  (619) posted on 02.15.2011

Most import car companies are opening jobs in the USA and for some reason you think that’s a bad thing. We are in a global market now. Most domestics are built in Canada or Mexico with parts from China and if you call for support you will talk to some one in India.

  (665) posted on 12.9.2010

for sure many consumers will have a hard time choosing beyond optima and sonata, both are nice and futuristic plus they both got the killer looks and aggressiveness of a sports car.

  (460) posted on 12.9.2010

It will be Kia’s first hybrid and that is impressive! Imagine driving an Optimza LX base model running with 200 horsepower 2.4 liter direct injected four cylinder engine equipped with six speed automatic or optional six speed manual, Isn’t sportier? Of course! Watch out car manufacturers, I knew it blown your cars apart when it was debuted at the New York Show!

  (363) posted on 05.5.2010

Bolder and more muscle than the previous model of the Optima, but the interior gauges such as Speedometer, Tachometer and Fuel Gauges are taken out from Mazda3... pretty nasty does it?

  (665) posted on 04.6.2010

For sure many consumers will have a hard time in choosing beyond optima and sonata. Both are nice and futuristic plus they both got the killer looks and aggressiveness of a sports car.

  (807) posted on 04.5.2010

Agree, there is no bit Ford Fusion in it (after you eliminate the fact that the Kia has four doors and four wheels, too). Some design clues may be a bit Accord-ish, but the overall package is all Kia.

  (1332) posted on 04.5.2010

It looks awesome. I really like the new Optima as the past one seems to be a little to usual for me. This one has the touch of sporty and luxury for me. I just love the grills and I hope that it will perform well on the road.

  (708) posted on 04.4.2010

Impressive looking optima looks like a bolder and bigger kia Koupe. For sure camry and accord users will get jealous to it.

  (18) posted on 04.1.2010

I have to say it looks great, hope to see it on the roads soon.

  (503) posted on 03.17.2010

Whatever, they can vote me down along with you......I see Taurus and Fusion, with Camry headlights. It looks good, but I would not rave about the awesome originality of the styling. The Koreans, much like the Chinese, are quite adept at, and rather fond of, copying the work of others and tweaking it just enough to get away with it.

  (363) posted on 03.16.2010

I was thinking that this looked far too huge to be a Kia Optima which is their compact sedan.

  (344) posted on 03.15.2010

I just love the rims of that baby. But other than that, I think it’s just one of those ordinary sedans coming out next year.

  (858) posted on 03.15.2010

I like the wheels best among all the qualities of this car. Its very appealing and have a tremendous form of high endurance.

  (780) posted on 03.14.2010

Honestly... I don’t see it. If anything it reminds me of the Accord, and some Audi cues. Either way, everything looks like something else these days... all i know is that this looks good, and not just for a Kia. KIA WIN!!

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