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Kia Optima / Kia K5- What the Auto Press Says

Kia Optima / Kia K5 - What the Auto Press Says

The 2011 Kia Optima ranks 11 out of 19 Affordable Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 15 published reviews and test drives of the Kia Optima, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
Reviewers say that the 2011 Kia Optima’s redesign has turned it from a forgettable sedan to a car that can compete with the best in the class.
After test driving the all-new 2011 Kia Optima, most car reviewers have one thing to say to the likes of Honda and Toyota: watch your backs. Like most reviewers, Cars.com recommends that the venerable Japanese brands “pay close attention to the Optima's success, which seems all but inevitable."
Most critics are so confident in the Optima’s success because they say it pulls together most of what midsize sedan shoppers are looking for: pleasing performance, good fuel economy, a comfortable interior, stylish look, long list of standard features and good value.  When you add in Kia’s long warranty coverage, reviewers say that for most buyers the Optima is the best choice out there.
Of course, their assessment is based on early test drives.  Models like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have been reviewer favorites for decades.  But, the Optima impresses with its roomy cabin that comes with standard features like a USB port and Bluetooth.  Plus, you can option the Optima like a luxury car, with heated and cooled seats, and UVO, a system) that lets you use voice commands to control stereo and phone functions. 
Reviewers have only driven Optima models equipped with the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.  While they say it’s fine for most buyers, test drivers are eagerly anticipating a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that will launch in early 2011. An Optima Hybrid is also slated for 2011.  As a result, the entire Optima line now has options to appeal to almost any buyer. 
Other Cars to Consider
The 2011 Optima is a complete redesign and while reviewers like it, it’s untested.  If you’re looking for a midsize car that’s stood the test of time, consider the Ford Fusion. Like the Optima, it has a comfortable cabin and good performance.  Also like the Optima, it has high-tech interior options and a hybrid option.
The Optima is closely related to the Hyundai Sonata (Hyundai owns Kia). A few reviewers say the Sonata has a more comfortable rear seat than the Optima and the Sonata matches the Optima’s long warranty coverage. 
 Details: 2011 Kia Optima
The 2011 Kia Optima comes in three trims: LX, EX and SX. Launched in November 2010, the Optima will initially have a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.  In early 2011 a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine will be added. Later in 2011 an Optima Hybrid will hit the market.
  • "All told, we see no reason the new Optima shouldn’t be on any midsize sedan buyer’s shopping list."--Road and Track
  • "You don't have to tax your intellectual capacities to arrive at the conclusion that the Kia Optima has, in this generational change, transformed itself from a fall-back option to a potential major player in the hotly contested segment that is right in the sweetspot of the American market."--Kelley Blue Book
  • "The midsize sedan market is crowded and competitive. But buyers seem increasingly willing to take a chance on new entries--especially ones with a reputation for value, like the Kia's. The Optima's long list of options should make it a compelling choice for those who want a sedan that won't get lost in the four-door crowd."--Popular Mechanics
  • "Kia reworked so many things about the Optima's styling that you can think of it as the Heidi Montag of car redesigns. Most of the changes are good, resulting in a family sedan with styling that could make it the star of a luxury-car showroom"--Cars.com
  • " But with the lackluster reputation of its predecessor compounded by styling so banal that it might as well have had "John Doe" as a model designation, the Optima was seemingly forgotten by everyone but fleet managers. That's not going to be a problem any more."--Autoblog
Optima Performance - 8.3 (Very Good)
Most reviewers are happy with the performance on the 2011 Kia Optima, even if they were stuck driving models with the base engine.  A turbocharged engine and a hybrid model are due for launch in 2011. On the road, however, the base Optima does fine.  The only mixed reviews are on its handling: some critics say it’s not as sporty as its styling suggests, while others say it has plenty of sport for a family sedan.
Optima Exterior - 8.4 (Very Good)
Many reviewers say that for a standout, good-looking family sedan, you don’t need to look beyond the 2011 Kia Optima. Motor Trend says "all it takes is a look at the new Optima to know it's a whole new ball game over at Kia,” thanks to a new design team.  All in all, critics love the new Optima’s looks.
Optima Interior - 7.0 (Good)
According to most reviewers, the 2011 Kia Optima has a very nice interior. "From behind the wheel, the Optima's cockpit is forthcoming...and inviting,” writes Kelley Blue Book, and most reviewers agree.  Several reviewers say the Optima’s standard feature list seems to have been lifted from a luxury car and that the entire cabin is well built.  Seat comfort is the interior’s only misstep.
Optima Safety - 10.0 (Excellent)
The 2011 Kia Optima is all-new and has not been crash-tested by the federal government or the insurance industry. However, it comes with standard safety features that are typical for a midsize sedan. The fact that its corporate cousin, Hyundai Sonata, has excellent crash test scores may bode well for the Optima.
Optima Reliability - NA
Like all Kias, the 2011 Kia Optima has long warranty coverage. The Optima comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty.

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