For a rather long time Korean cars were not seen as pretty, stylish or in some cases, even easy on the eye. However with Hyundai and sister company Kia's determination to dominate the automotive sector, search market research has gone into car design and Kia has unleashed designer Peter Schreyer (the man behind the original Audi TT) on its range of cars. From the Cerato to the Sportage and now the Magentis. Kia has taken a huge step forward in modernizing its design.
Compared to the old Magentis, the new Optima is ridiculously more attractive, it also happens to be marginally longer and wider. Additionally it sits a little lower.
Kia will power the new Optima with either a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol or a larger 2.4-litre naturally aspirated. Australian buyers are likely to get their hands on the 2.4-litre variant which delivers 148kW of peak power, and 250Nm (this engine is shared across the Kia/Hyundai family).
All Optimas will be driven via the front wheels with power delivered through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
As with Hyundai, both companies are hard at work optimizing their hybrid drivetrains to be used in both Hyundai i45 and Kia Optima. 2011 will see Kia bring out the 2.4-litre Optima Hybrid, making it the first ever petrol-electric Kia.
As for kit, being a Kia, it will come jam packed with everything you would expect from a brand that aims to delivers the best value for money proposition. Safety is taken care of by six airbags, electronic stability control, brake assist, hill-start assist plus a tyre pressure monitoring system.
How much do you expect to pay for a car that looks this good? Kia is likely to launch the Optima around the same price as the superseded Magentis, so expect a starting price around the $25,000 mark.
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