Feature

New cars: 2011 Kia Optima

What the critics say about the $18,995 Kia Optima

Automobile
The restyled, refreshed Optima is now “easily the best-looking car in its class.” That’s saying something, given that the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6 also compete in this segment, and Kia’s entry also comes with a value price tag and impressive features, including touch-screen navigation. Unfortunately, this car still falls short on comfort, and road noise is “abundant over rough surfaces.”

Car and Driver
This third-generation Optima is not “as sexy as the Sonata”—the Hyundai model it’s based on. But it “scores higher on the fun-to-drive index.” Its “compelling” interior is “a study in elegant design” and excellent materials. Although ride quality and performance are only average, we found “very little to criticize here.” We even give it high marks for “all-day comfort.”

Road & Track
Taken to a test track, the new Optima showed “all the attributes of a first-rate mass-market midsize sedan.” Most drivers will be happy with the base 2.4-liter, 200-hp engine, but there’s also the option of a twin-scroll turbocharged version, and a hybrid power train will debut later in the year. “All told, we see no reason the new Optima shouldn’t be on any midsize sedan buyer’s shopping list.”

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