The Kia Optima is set to start selling on February 1 in the United Kingdom. It made its debut in 2010 at the New York Auto Show. This vehicle is an all-new flagship saloon which is the latest model that Kia will launch in its design-led product offensive. The Optima provides high levels of standard specification, fantastic design as well as low running costs to the D-segment, starting from only £19,595 on-the-road.
The Optima has proven to be a worldwide success since it was unveiled. Within a month since it went on sale in Korea, it became the nation's top-selling vehicle -- the first Kia to do so.
It was also very popular in the United States to the point that the automaker has to manufacture the vehicle in Georgia in order to meet demand. Almost 300,000 units have been sold globally to date.
Moreover, the Optima has accumulated international design awards. Its looks alone will ensure that it benefits from UK sales success previously unheard-of for a huge Kia saloon. Peter Schreyer, who is chief design officer of Kia, compares the vehicle's stylish, uncomplicated and clean cut to that of a fine Italian suit.
However, the Optima has also been configured to attract the business community who make up a large portion of D-segment customers in the UK. The Optima will only be available with a diesel engine, which is a new 134bhp variant of the automaker's efficient and smooth 1.7-litre CRDi 'U2' power unit. All four specification variants have what every business user requires.
The image that the new Kia Optima aims to convey is that of a high-performance and elegant car that features a distinct silhouette and sleek stance. Carefully adhering to Kia Motors' philosophy of creating dynamic and high quality vehicles evoking passion, the new Optima features a stunningly appealing face marked by projector headlamps sandwiching the brand’s bold signature grille.
The new Optima also features a roofline linked to its high and pronounced shoulder line, which leads to the car’s sculpted flanks and 2,795 mm wheelbase. Interestingly, the Optima feature a coupe-like profile augmented by a sweeping chrome arc flowing from the A- to the C-pillars.
This profile is further highlighted by a characteristic design theme that visually lowers the Optima while underscoring its elegant proportions. Its stance, meanwhile, is defined by its flared wheel arches and a sloping rear window.
These body styling cues and proportions are enhanced by a hoard of standard exterior elements like solar glass and indicators on the wing mirrors and dual exhausts. Additional features like heated exterior mirrors, fog lights, exterior chrome or body-colored door handles, 17-inch alloy wheels and 215/55 R17 tires are also available depending on the trim level.
Optima models with higher trim levels are specified with a distinct front grille design, HID headlights with auto leveling, sculpted side sills, aero wiper blades, LED rear lights, and rear lip spoiler, as well as 18-inch black machined finish alloy wheels wrapped in 225/45 R18 tires and red brake calipers. On the other hand, the interior of the new Optima is also as elegant as the exterior, featuring an instrument panel contoured toward the driver for a cockpit feel.
This panel comes with precise gauges and controls while the steering wheel may be availed with paddle shifters, which are equipped as standard on automatic versions of the Optima outside North America. The car also comes with a high console with a short shifter and an optional glass panoramic sunroof for an open-air feeling.