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All-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan: longer, wider
With direct injection gasoline engines and a hybrid later

All-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan: front / side view.

All-new Optima: longer, wider and lower than its predecessor.

28 September 2010: The all-new 2011 Kia Optima has just been launched by Kia Motors America (KMA) last week, just a fortnight before the European presentation of the midsize sedan at the 2010 Paris motor show (Mondial de l'Automobile, public days from 2 to 17 October) where the Kia electric POP concept gets its world premiere.

The new generation Optima arrives to American showrooms in early fall (early 2011 in Europe) with larger dimensions and three new powertrains, including direct injection and turbo charging technologies as well as the brandís first-ever hybrid in the U.S. (available in 2011).

All-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan: rear / side view.

Optima: roofline connecting with a pronounced shoulder line.

Designed at Kiaís studios in Germany (Frankfurt) and the USA (Irvine, California), the all-new Optima is longer, wider and lower than the vehicle it replaces and is based on an all-new midsize platform, shared with the new Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan, as Kia is part of the South Korean Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group.

 Three trims

The 2011 Optima features Kiaís tabbed grille that is surrounded by projector headlamps. The profile gets a sweeping chrome arc that flows from the A through C pillars to visually lower the car further. The roofline connects with a pronounced shoulder line.

All-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan: steering wheel view.

A high console with a short gear shifter.

Available in three trims (USA specifications), LX, EX and SX, the 2011 Optima LX includes standard dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, outside mirror turn signal indicators and 16- inch (steel) wheels fitted with 205/65R16 tires.

The EX offers standard fog lights, heated outside mirrors, exterior chrome/ body-colour door handles along with 17-inch alloy wheels and P215/55/R17 tires, while the EX Turbo adds its own front grille design.

The more athletic SX adds HID headlights with auto levelling, LED rear combination lights, specific front grille design, rear lip spoiler, sculpted side sills, aero wiper blades, black front brake calipers and 18-inch black machined finish alloy wheels with P225/45R18 tires.

 Interior

Inside, the instrument panel is clearly oriented toward the driver, with a high console, a short gear shifter (paddle shifters behind the steering wheel of SX versions) and an optional panoramic sunroof.

All-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan: dashboard, console and front seats.

The instrument panel is clearly oriented toward the driver.

Standard comfort and convenience features include a six-way adjustable driverís seat with power lumbar support, illuminated vanity mirrors with a ticket holder and a trip computer, in addition to a standard AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting with MP3 players and Bluetooth wireless technology connectivity with steering wheel mounted voice activation controls to enable hands-free operation for compatible mobile phones.

Other standard interior features comprise a tilt/telescopic steering column, power door locks, power windows, sun visor extension and a cooling glove box. The 60/40 split-folding rear seat offers multiple seating and cargo arrangements.

The Optima LX with automatic transmission features cruise control and an active system to enhance fuel efficiency.

Electric Kia POP concept car

Kia Motors is also presenting at the 2010 Paris motor show the world premiere of its compact electric POP concept car.

Designed by Kia's European design team under the direction of Peter Schreyer, Kia's Chief Design Officer, and Gregory Guillaume, Kia Europe's Chief Designer, the all-new electric concept car is a three-metre three-seater zero-emissions city car.

Optima EX offers standard UVO (powered by Microsoft) hands-free in-car entertainment and communication system (to be available in select Kia models in the U.S. later this year) with rear-view camera, push button-start ignition with smart key, dual-zone automatic air conditioning with rear vents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink and compass, auto light control, driver and front passenger automatic window up/down and an eight-way power driverís seat, an illuminated glove box, rear reading lamps, floor mats and chrome door handles.

The Optima EX Turbo adds wood interior trim with metal accents while the Optima SX gets black leather woven seat trim, black interior trim with carbon insert film, Supervision meter cluster with LCD display, centre fascia and meter housing, soft trim with French seams, steering wheel paddle shifters, metal pedals and lighted metal door scuff plates.

 Options

Options include a Convenience Package (LX A/T only) with an eight-way power-adjustable driverís seat and auto dimming rear view mirror with Homelink, while the LX Technology Package (with Convenience Package) adds the navigation system with back-up camera, an eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system and dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear ventilation.

Moving to the EX trim, the Premium Package adds the panoramic sunroof with high-gloss B-pillar, four-way power-adjustable driverís seat with driverís seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, wood interior trim and centre console and metal-finished shifter.

The EX Technology Package (with Premium Package) adds the navigation system with a back-up camera and an eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system.

 Dimensions

Based on an all-new platform shared with Hyundai' Sonata, the 2011 Optima has an overall length of 190.7 inches (4844mm), an increase of 1.7 inches (43mm) over the previous model, with an overall width of 72.1 inches (1831mm) and wheelbase of 110 inches (2794mm), an increase of 2.9 inches (74mm). A low ground clearance of 5.3 inches (135mm) enhances aerodynamics.

Built on a unibody frame, the front-wheel-drive Optima utilizes independent front and rear suspension systems. McPherson struts are used in the front with a multi-link layout in the rear and are both joined with coil springs and front anti-roll bars. The platform uses high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength while also achieving high torsional stiffness, for better handling, ride quality and refinement.

 Engines

In the USA, the 2011 Optima is available with three new Theta II powerplants, a 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder (Kiaís first application of GDI direct gasoline injection technology), a 2.0-liter GDI turbo or a 2.4-liter hybrid engine (to be introduced in 2011).

The 2.4-liter GDI engine produces 200 horsepower and upgrading to the optional 2.0-liter turbo GDI engine (EX Turbo and SX models) boosts output to 274 horsepower, while mated to a six speed automatic transmission. 

All automatics feature Sportmatic clutchless shifting. A single six-speed manual transmission is available only with the LX four-cylinder model.

 Fuel consumption

Kia says that the 2.4-liter four-cylinder posts 24/35 U.S. mpg (city/highway) when mated to the manual transmission (equivalent to 28.8 / 42 UK mpg, 9.8 / 6.7 litres/100 km, 10.2 / 14.9 km/litre Ė based on autopressnews.com conversion figures) and 24/34 mpg (equivalent to 28.8 / 40.8 UK mpg, 9.8 / 6.9 litres/100 km, 10.2 / 14.4 km/litre) when coupled with the automatic transmission, while the 2.0-liter turbo GDI offers 22/34 mpg (equivalent to 26.4 / 40.8 UK mpg, 10.7 / 6.9 litres/100 km, 9.35 / 14.4 km/litre), only available with the automatic transmission.

All-new 2011 Kia Optima midsize sedan: GDI engine cover.

Kiaís first application of GDI direct gasoline injection tech.

The new Optima will be available in Europe with a choice of either a new 'U2' 1.7-litre VGT diesel engine (136 ps) or an all-new 2.0-litre CVVL (continuously variable valve lift) gasoline engine (170 ps).

 Safety

In safety terms, the 2011 Optima is equipped with standard six airbags (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

Standard active safety equipment includes four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC).

In the USA, the 2011 Optima is covered by KMAís warranty program, which offers a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/ 60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/ 60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the vehicle coverage.

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