If you were to mention the Kia Optima 15 years ago, few people would have known what you were talking about. The Optima was the underdog, trailing far behind the Accord and Camry. Nowadays, the Kia sedan is one of the hottest midsize cars on the market. Its sporty styling and plethora of standard features have made it a top contender.
HISTORY OF KIA OPTIMA
First Generation (2000-2005)
The first generation Optima did nothing to help Kia’s image. It was chintzy, boring to drive and looked like a jelly bean. Engine options were limited to either a 2.4L 4-cylinder or 2.7L 6-cylinder. Transmission options were a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic.
Second Generation (2005-2010)
The second generation Optima was not much more exciting than the first. The exterior was given a few more edges here and there, but for the most part, it still looked like something out of a Willy Wonka factory. Powertrain options improved some with the addition of a 5-speed automatic, but engine options remained unchanged.
Third Generation (2011-present)
It wasn’t until the third generation that the Kia sedan transformed – like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Introduced in 2011, the third generation optima is sexy, sophisticated and the object of much desire. Under the hood you’ll find a 2.4L 4-cylider, 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder or 2.4L hybrid. Power is sent to a long awaited 6-speed automatic.
Standard equipment on the 2011 is more than generous and includes keyless entry, full power accessories, an adjustable driver seat, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a stereo with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.
In 2013, the top of the line Limited debuted. For 2014, the Optima got updated front and rear styling as well a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and new display screens.
There is no denying the Optima is one of the hottest sedans on the market. It styling and performance attract buyers of all demographics. Don’t believe us? Stop by test drive it for yourself, and you’ll see what you’ve been missing.