Kia has given its all-new Optima sedan a proper unveiling in New York today, after first handing down a revealing shot of the new model’s face last week.
As expected, the recent Sportspace concept presented a telling preview of what we’d see with the 2016 Optima’s New York debut.
Evolving the look of its predecessor, the new Optima showcases a broad new version of Kia’s ‘tigernose’ grille design, flowing into headlights that, while familiar, take on a taller look and a new stepped design.
The new grille, which wears new Mercedes-like chrome highlights through its mesh design, rests above a conventional lower grille design that is flanked by tall chrome-framed intakes.
The new Optima’s profile and rear present a familiar story, again evolving the design language of the current model while introducing a more athletic look to the package.
That look is reflected in the new Optima’s underpinnings: although its wheelbase has grown just 10mm in length, it now boasts a 25mm wider track.
Another version of the new Optima was recently spied in Korea, wearing a less extravagant grille and a front bumper more in-line with the teaser images released in early March.
It is unclear at this stage which version of the Optima will come to Australia, although the company has historically offered unique styling to the US market.
We might then expect to see that spied Korean version when the new Optima hits Australia later this year.
The new model is expected to come to Australia with a choice of 138kW/241Nm 2.4 litre naturally-aspirated and 180kW/350Nm 2.0 litre turbo petrol engines, the latter marking the first appearance of a turbocharged Optima in the local range.
The launch of the turbocharged Optima will give the brand’s local arm something to crow about, matching ‘big brother’ brand Hyundai’s turbo Sonata and comfortably shading Ford’s incoming 177kW Mondeo.
Both engines in the new Optima are matched to a six-speed auto.
Inside, the new Optima boasts new and more premium materials throughout, with more soft-touch surfaces, new contrast stitching through the dash and doors, and a range of metallic highlights across the different trime grades.
Kia also promises a greater level of comfort, introducing new seats with a stiffer frame, greater thigh support and more substational bolstering - all shortcomings in the current model.
That focus on comfort and driving experience extends into Optima’s construction, with a full 50 percent of the new model’s body now composed of advanced high-strength steel - a 150 percent improvement over the current model.
Likewise, Kia has also focused on noise, vibration and harshness with a dramatic 450 percent increase in structural adhesives and a 350 percent increase in the use of hot-stamped components.
These construction improvements are matched to a greater use of insulation in the dash, window mouldings and beneath the floor.
Australian buyers can also look forward to the new model being put through the company’s ongoing localised tuning programme, optimising the Optima for our roads.
Watch for the new Optima to hit Australia later this year. Stay tuned to TMR for our ‘first drive’ review.