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Kia wants to be known for more than just cheap and cheerful automobiles, and the bold Camry-sized Optima unveiled at the New York Auto Show is the next step in that plan.

Does anyone remember Kia's last Camry-fighter the Magnetis? No, we didn't think so. If nothing else, the new Optima won't suffer from the curse of anonymity.

Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Kia
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The radically styled Optima will go on sale in North America sporting three new power trains: a direct-injection 2.4-litre four-cylinder, a turbocharged 2-litre and a hybrid. No word yet on which engines Australia will receive, although we'd place large wads of cash on the 2.4-litre arriving here.

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The new Optima features a very Saab-like cabin that, in the US at least, features Bluetooth hands-free and iPod integration as standard.

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Up scale models such as the one pictured here gain navigation, an Infinity audio system and voice control for the phone and audio systems.

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Kia's team of designers, headed by the man who penned the original Audi TT concept car, has applied the company's new design language on the Optima, artfully blending curves and creases with bold elements, like the new corporate grille and the dramatic kink in the rear door's window (above).

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These wheels contribute to the futuristic look of the car, but there is no guarantee they'll be present in all trim levels. These red brake calipers may also be an auto show-only trick.

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According to Kia Australia, the Optima is due to go on sale in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2010, but specifications and pricing have yet to be worked out.

Via CNET US

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