2011 Kia Optima: So good, you won’t believe it–but you should

1 Jun 2011 | 2,148 views | No Comment
  By Don Hammonds Talk about your transformations! Have you seen the new 2011 Kia Optima?  OMG!  It's a stunning automobile, and is now among the best buys you can make if you're looking for a family car. And it doesn't hurt that it looks an awful lot like a Jaguar--not a bad thing at all. Several people who saw it did a double take and wondered if somebody had just gotten a promotion at our home. But the best thing about this car--and it has many terrific qualities-- is the fuel economy. We made a trip to the resort town of Rehoboth, Dela., close to 400 miles or so away from home and did so on one tank of gas.  The Optima is rated at 24/34 with its 2.4 liter direct injection, 200 horsepower four cylinder engine backed by a six speed "Sportmatic" automatic transmission. The estimated annual fuel cost is $1,665 based on 15,000 miles of driving at $3.00 a gallon. Our test model was a silver Optima EX with a base price of $22,495 for a roomy mid-sized family car.  That base price is what you'd pay for some compact cars with a few--and I mean a few--options. The base price inludes dual zone automatic gtemrperasture control, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with six speakers, satellite radio, full power accessories including windows and locks, anti-lock brakes, side airbags, side curtain airbags, traction control, electronic stability control, downhill brake/hill start assist control, front door mood lighting, push button start with smart key, cruise control, cooling glove box, and on and on.  And remember, you get Kia/s 10 year/100,000 mile, limited powertrain warranty, five year/60,000 mile basic warranty, and 5 year/60,000 mile roadside assistance warranty too.  We clearly are talking value here, right?  You bet. Options like a navigation system, sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats and heated steering wheel brought the final price to an almost insanely reasonable $27,440.      The Optima rides like the comfortable mid-sized car that it is, and we also noticed that the trunk space is pretty decent, too. The interior was beautiful, with nicely done presentation, gauges that were easily understood, and controls that were intuitive to use.  We were especially pleased with the easy to use navigation system, with large, clear graphics and user friendly features that don't require any time spent even with an owners manual. We weren't the only ones pleased with the Optima's interior.  Here's what our friends at Edmunds.com had to say: "The Kia Optima's cabin has a vaguely Audi look to it, which isn't surprising since its designer (Peter Schreyer) used to work for the German luxury carmaker. While its quality isn't quite up to the standards of Audi, the abundance of soft-touch materials, precise switchgear and pleasingly grained plastics make this one of the nicest interiors in its class. Cover up the Kia badge and your passengers are likely to think you're driving a European car. The Optima has a fairly spacious cabin with comfortable seats and a solid amount of legroom front and rear. "       The only problem we had--and Edmunds noticed it too--was headroom, and the steeply sloped roof  resulted in some head banging when we didn't estimate correctly how low we'd have to duck to get into the back seat.       Still, you'd be hard pressed to do better than the new Optima if you're looking for a good looking, sporty driving family sedan. 2011 kia optima

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