Kia's hotly-anticipated Optima has arrived in Australian showrooms, replacing the Magentis and showcasing the Korean automaker's bold new design direction.
Currently only one variant is on sale, the highly-specced Platinum. With a generous standard equipment list and performance figures that put it at the top of its class, the 2011 Kia Optima Platinum shapes up as a good-value buy in the mid-size sedan segment.
Designed by Peter Schreyer, the man behind Kia's current design-language, the Optima features the strongest interpretation yet of Kia's trademark bowtie grille, bookended by large HID headlamp clusters.
Built atop an all-new platform, the Optima's sheetmetal is all new, and stretches over a wheelbase that's 75mm longer than the outgoing Magentis. It's also wider and lower than the Magentis, by 25mm in each dimension.
LED daytime running lamps are mounted above the front foglights, and give the Optima a distinctive appearance. 18-inch alloys are standard on the Optima Platinum, as is a panoramic glass sunroof.
A bootlip spoiler is standard, and the exhaust terminates into two chrome-finished tips.
The Optima's driver-focused interior blends a sporty feel with a dash of luxury. There are steel-faced sports pedals, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather upholstery and faux woodgrain trim all as standard.
Both front seats are power adjustable and heated, and the central tunnel has been dramatically lowered to improve rear legroom.
The boot space can accommodate 505 litres of luggage, expanding with the 60-40 split rear seatbacks folded.
Standard on the Optima Platinum is dual-zone climate control, dusk-sensing HID headlamps, cruise control, heated and power adjustable front seats, reverse parking sensors, a reversing camera, a seven-speaker premium audio system with USB input and iPod compatibility and a panoramic sunroof.
Keyless entry and a push-button starter are also standard for the Optima.
Passive safety equipment consists of front pretensioning seatbelts, active front headrests and six airbags (front, front side and curtain).
ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control make up the Optima's active safety suite.
Only one mechanical specification is offered in the 2011 Optima, a 2.4 litre direct-injected petrol four paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The engine produces 148kW at 6300rpm and 250Nm of torque at 4250rpm. Kia claims the 0-100km/h sprint is done away with in 9.0 seconds, while average fuel economy is a claimed 7.9 l/100km.
A six speed automatic takes drive to the front wheels, and features a tiptronic shifter and wheel-mounted paddles to enable manual selection of gears. Developed by parent company Hyundai, the Kia Optima's automatic is more efficient and lighter than older-tech five-speed autos.
The suspension is a Macpherson strut front and multi-link rear setup, which has been tuned specifically for Australian roads, with the direct involvement of Australian suspension and chassis engineers.
Steering is hydraulically assisted, and disc brakes are fitted to each wheel.
2011 Kia Optima Platinum - $36,990
Note: prices are Manufacturer's List Price and do not include dealer delivery and statutory charges.