Kia optimizes the Optima

Kia launches the 2011 Optima at the 2010 New York auto show.

Next-gen Kia Optima revealed
Kia's new Optima represents the radical design and tech changes going on within the company. Kia Motors

NEW YORK--Echoing the update to its sistership, the Hyundai Sonata, Kia radically redesigns its Optima midsize sedan for the 2011 model year. Looking like a car from the future, the new Optima blends creases and gentle curves gracefully. Owners of the 2010 model will kick themselves for not waiting a year.

Like the Hyundai Sonata, the Kia Optima comes with a choice of three power trains, the base being a direct injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 200 horsepower. On the more powerful side, a turbocharged direct-injection 2-liter engine, making 274 horsepower, is also available. Early next year a hybrid version will come out with the same power plant specifications as the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid .

Kia isn't skimping on the tech, either, with iPod integration and Bluetooth phone systems standard at all trim levels. On EX-trimmed Optimas, Kia makes its UVO system standard. This voice command system works like Ford Sync, letting you dial phone contacts by name or request music off an MP3 player by saying the artist or album name.

Navigation is also available, as is a 500-watt Infinity audio system with 5.1-channel surround sound.

With its comfortable interior, unique exterior styling, and powerful and efficient engine options, Kia seems well on its way to kicking much-needed life into the midsize sedan segment.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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