Bobzilla PowerDork
3/24/11 11:38 a.m.

Have not seen/driven the SX, but the "lesser" Optima with the 200hp NA 2.4 is a hoot to drive for a simple grocery getter. THe base cars come equipped with hankook Optimo's and lack grip when pushed but were very quiet.

OVerall, I think they have a hit on their hands.

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pinchvalve MegaDork
3/25/11 8:31 a.m.

I love my Rondo, and that car truly was the rental car also-ran. Hope they make a new Rondo off of this Optima platform! GRM compared a Kia to an M3. Satan, do you need a coat yet?

tuna55 UltimaDork
3/26/11 8:14 p.m.

You guys have the best car reviews ever. Really. Ever.

slefain UltraDork
3/28/11 4:36 p.m.

I drove the turbo model last week. Much peppier than the Hyundai Sonata turbo. Same engine, I know but for some reason it just felt "punchier" off the line. I thought it drove great, no complaints at all. If I had money this would be a top pick for a bargain family car.

amg_rx7 Dork
3/29/11 8:19 p.m.

Too bad the turbo model doesn't have a nice 6 speed manual. I fall asleep driving automatics.

fastEddie SuperDork
3/31/11 11:30 a.m.

I still remember my first experience with a Kia, my mom's 1988 Ford Festiva was assembled in Korea by Kia and had a sticker stating so under the hood. I remember thinking, who the heck is Kia?! That was a great car though and lasted 190k miles despite being involved in 3 accidents. As I recall it had a whopping 64hp and a 4-speed manual but only weighed something crazy like 1850# (it was a base model and didn't even come with a radio let alone AC).

Oh, and the Optima looks nice too! lol Not sure about the wheels tho'.

4eyes Dork
4/4/11 4:22 p.m.

I wish the turbo model had a manual transmission, I loath auto's. Other than that, nice car.

4/30/11 9:39 p.m.

The issue with the steering is that it is electric and not really calibrated well. We have a 2011 Kia Sportage with the same system. It's a well known complaint. Supposedly the Euro models have a software update to fix it, but no verification on that.

heyduard Reader
6/3/11 10:00 p.m.

+1 on the manual tranny! I'd get it then! Looks sharp in real life.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

Do you even know what a Kia Optima looks like? Honestly, we didn't either. No disrespect to anyone who owns one, but since its 2000 release the Optima has been one of those fairly nondescript, four-door sedans that dot the landscape.

Well, it's done grown up. The all-new Optima is a lean, mean, family-hauling machine, complete with new sheet metal that resembles the rest of the recently redone Kia lineup.

We tested the SX Turbo model. Power comes from a force-fed, 274-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine. While a six-speed manual is available on the base Optima, the SX Turbo only comes with a six-speed automatic. Other standard equipment includes 18x7.5-inch wheels and "sport-tuned" suspension. All Optimas feature a cooling glove box.

Our particular car also had the $2000 Technology Package (navigation, satellite radio and back-up camera) plus another $2150 for the SX Premium Package. That second one added the giant panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, and power passenger seat.

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