2011 Kia Optima gets five-star crash safety rating from IIHS

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 4, 2011

The 2011 Kia Optima continues to be recognized for its safety features. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had given it the “Top Safety Pick” rating and recently, it received an overall five-star crash safety rating, after getting top scores in each of the overall ratings categories in the latest crash tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation's NHTSA.

The midsize sedan features various standard safety features, including 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, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

It also offers four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), ESC, a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) as standard. Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of Kia Motors America (KMA) and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), said that 2011 Optima features some of Kia's most advanced safety technologies with stunning style, performance and comfort.

He also said the vehicle offers high value and peace-of-mind. The Optima is the first Korean-built vehicle to get a five-star crash safety rating under NHTSA's new, stricter guidelines, creating a new benchmark in the segment.

Exterior Design

With its unique profile, the new Kia Optima projects an image that shows elegance and high-performance. Building upon the philosophy of Kia Motors when it comes to dynamic vehicles with high quality, its sleek stance reminds one of passion. Its outstanding face features the brand’s signature grille and bordered on each side with the projector headlamps.

The Kia Optima has a profile similar to the coupe but it is improved with the wide-ranging chrome arc that goes from its A-pillars all through the C-pillars. This unique design motif helps enhance the vehicle’s proportions and even visually lowers it. The roofline is able to connect with the pronounced and high shoulder line which then leads to the extended wheelbase, now measuring 2,795 mm, and the formed flanks.

The use of a rear window with a steep incline and the flared wheel arches result in a saloon that has a muscular yet graceful stance. The exterior of the new Kia Optima includes a number of features like the indicators placed on its wing mirrors, the solar glass, and dual exhaust, to name a few.

Subject to the type of trim level, the heated exterior mirrors, fog lights, and door handles that come in body color or exterior chrome, are available. Offered as well are the alloy 17-inch wheels and 215/55 R17 tyres.

Higher trim levels however will have the HID headlights that have auto leveling. Also offered is a unique design for the front grille, sculpted side sills, rear lip spoilers, and the aero wiper blades. Also available in higher trim levels are the red brake calipers and the black machine-finish 18-inch alloy wheel fitted which are the 225/45 R18 tyres, giving a true appearance of performance. Going to the interior, one can immediately feel that the Kia Optima is a driver’s car.

Take the instrument panel for example. It has been shaped towards the driver, giving it a cockpit feel. The addition of precise controls and gauges results in a sporty performance experience without the need to compromise on the spaciousness or comfort.

Behind its steering wheel are the paddle shifters that prove that the Optima is indeed created for those who have high passion when it comes to driving their cars. It should be noted though that automatic versions released outside North America will have these as standard. Enhancing the cockpit feel is the short shifter and the high console. Offered as an option, the panoramic glass sunroof gives the Optima an open-air feel.

Interior Design

The interior has a number of standard convenience features which ensure that the driver and the passengers experience comfort and space. Its chic cabin for instance manages to unify with the exterior design as it greets passengers with the ergonomic and lean seat design.

Other features in the interior include the driver’s seat that offers six-way adjustability with a power lumber support. Boosting the already lavish qualities are the trip computer and the vanity mirrors that come with their own lighting.

Aside from having a comfortable cabin, the interior also exhibits a number of technology features that are available as standard. Some of the examples include the high quality 'Dimension' audio system with eight speakers with AM/FM capability, a CD player, and the capability to play MP3.

MP3 players can be connected sing the Auxiliary and USB audio input jacks with Bluetooth connectivity having voice activation controls mounted on the steering wheel made available as well. The latter features though will depend on the market.

There are other features that improve the convenience and comfort of the interior. There are the power windows, power door locks, tilt/telescopic steering column, air-conditioned glove box, and sun visor extension. Its stylishly appointed cloth seats ensure that seating is comfortable and the 60/40 split-folding of the rear seat ensures a flexible cargo capacity.

For markets outside North America, the Kia Optima will have automatic transmission and will also include the cruise control and the 'Active Eco System' indicator to ensure that driving remains fuel efficient.

Press Release

2011 Kia Optima Named 'Top Safety Pick' by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Building on the momentum of Kia's growing lineup of new generation vehicles, the all-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan has received the highest possible crash safety rating of "Good" in all four tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and has been recognized as a "Top Safety Pick," the top award handed down by the organization.

"We are honored that the all-new 2011 Optima has earned the IIHS 'Top Safety Pick', joining five other Kia products and underlining the brand's dedication to the highest levels of vehicle safety and quality," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America (KMA). "Kia's design-led transformation has been delivering stylish new vehicles that combine outstanding performance and innovative technologies and convenience features with a long list of standard safety equipment, and the highly anticipated Optima will further increase consumer awareness and consideration of Kia and attract new customers to the brand."

Arriving in showrooms now, the 2011 Optima joins five Kia products that were previously named Top Safety Picks including the 2010 Soul urban passenger vehicle, 2010 Forte compact sedan, 2011 Sorento compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV), 2011 Sportage CUV, and Sedona minivan. The Sedona was the first Kia vehicle to receive the IIHS "Top Safety Pick," along with the "Safest Minivan Ever Tested" distinction in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Ratings from the Institute are based on results from front, side and rear impact crash tests, as well as a new-for-2010 roof strength test to measure occupant protection in the event of a rollover. Each vehicle's overall evaluation was based on various measurements specific to each crash angle and overall impact on crash test dummies inside the vehicle at the time of collision. All vehicles must offer Electronic Stability Control (ESC) to be eligible.

The 2011 Optima comes equipped with a high level of standard safety features, as is the rest of the Kia line-up. This includes six airbags(1) (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, 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), ESC, a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.

Available in three trims, LX, EX and SX, the 2011 Optima offers a wide array of convenience and luxury as well as impressive technology features like UVO powered by Microsoft®(2), an advanced in-car communications and entertainment system with rear-view camera(3), AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS® Satellite Radio capabilities and three months complimentary service(4), auxiliary and USB audio input jacks and available with three all-new and fuel-efficient engines, a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder, a 2.0-liter GDI turbo or a 2.4-liter hybrid (available early next year). Pricing for the stylish and performance-oriented midsize sedan begins at $18,995(5).

Design-Led Transformation and Product Line

Kia Motors is in the midst of a dramatic, design-led transformation, which has been delivering dynamically styled vehicles in several important segments at exactly the right time, contributing to the brand's continued gains in U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technology such as the soon-to-come UVO powered by Microsoft® in-car hands-free entertainment system. The launches of the 2011 Sorento CUV, the first vehicle to be assembled* at Kia's first U.S.-based manufacturing facility in West Point, Georgia, the dynamic 2011 Sportage compact CUV, sophisticated 2011 Optima midsize sedan and versatile Forte 5-door hatchback further enhance the lineup.

Kia's model year 2011 vehicle line includes the Sorento CUV, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Forte compact sedan, Forte 5-door compact hatchback, Forte Koup two-door coupe, Rio sub-compact sedan, Rio5 sub-compact hatchback and Sedona minivan.

About Kia Motors America

Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 725 dealers throughout the United States. For 2009, KMA recorded its 15th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share and recently achieved its best quarter of sales ever in 2010. Kia Motors subscribes to a philosophy of building high value, high quality, safe and dynamic vehicles. Kia Motors prides itself on producing vehicles that are exciting and enabling and evoke the Kia tagline "The Power to Surprise."

Kia Motors America is the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." Information about Kia Motors America and its full vehicle line-up is available at its Web site – www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com.

(1) For maximum protection, always wear your seat belt.

(2) Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

(3) The rear-view camera display is not a substitute for proper and safe backing-up procedures. Always drive safely and sue caution when backing up. The rear-view camera may not detect every object behind the vehicle

(4) SIRIUS, XM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. and its subsidiaries. SIRIUS Radio requires a subscription, sold separately after 3-month trial subscription included with vehicle purchase. Prices and programming are provided by SIRIUS and are subject to change. Subscriptions governed by SIRIUS Terms & Conditions available at sirius.com. SIRIUS Radio U.S. service available only to those at least 18 years of age in the 48 contiguous United States, D.C. and Puerto Rico (with coverage limitations).

(5) Starting price is manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for lowest trim level. MSRPs exclude $695 destination and handling fee, title, taxes, license, options and dealer charges. Actual prices set by dealer and may vary.

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