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Kia Optima SX: Three of a kind

CNET reviews the 2011 Kia Optima SX, the third version of the Optima reviewed this year. The SX has a turbocharged engine, but similar cabin tech and appointments to the Optima hybrid and naturally aspirated versions.

Kia Optima SX
Josh Miller/CNET

It's been raining Optimas this year, as Kia releases version after version of its midsize sedan, all with different engines. Earlier, we reviewed the naturally aspirated Optima EX and the Optima Hybrid. Now we have the SX, the most powerful Optima of the bunch.

With a turbocharged direct-injection 2-liter engine, this Optima follows the Volkswagen/Audi strategy, wringing a lot of efficiency and power out of four cylinders. On paper, the Optima SX gets very similar fuel economy to its EX sibling, but with a lot more horsepower. But the turbo in the SX made it hard for us to get in the EPA range.

The high-trim SX featured luxury cabin appointments that equal those of much more expensive cars. We were impressed with the cabin materials, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, memory positions for the power seats, and Infinity audio system. Automakers such as Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz need to be looking over their shoulders, because Kia is catching up fast.

Check out our review of the 2011 Kia Optima SX.