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The All New And Restyled Kia Optima

Jan 31, 2008
The first-generation of Optima was introduced as Kia's first midsize sedan in 2002, but it couldn't promise the refinement, documented reliability and assured resale value of its key Japanese competitors. It was originally produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Yueda Kia Automobile Company, as a joint venture with Kia. It was initially available in four- and six-cylinder models which were crucial during a time when gas prices were beginning to ease upward. The Optima delivered a lot of bang for the buck with its solid build quality for the small selection of buyers it did find, with a jackpot of features, super warranty and low price. The current Kia Optima comes in two trim levels: base LX and premium EX. The base four-cylinder provides adequate acceleration, but the Optima's V6 is very disappointing.

The recently introduced second-generation Kia Optima has not done much to change from where it began. The Kia Optima's cabin is spacious, and the interior materials as a whole give an impression of quality. Because of how similar they are mechanically, the Optima can be compared with the reliability of the Hyundai Sonatas produced in the same model year.

In 2003 which was the third model year for the Optima, it's front end was restyled, which gave it a more upscale European look. Additionally, on the four-cylinder automatic version of the Optima, it began to offer the Sportmatic manual-shift capability. One of the biggest improvements however came when the new Kia Optima changed its overall exterior look. Unlike the previous generation of Optima's, this vehicle was actually based on the 2007 Hyundai Elantra HD platform. Like the Sonata, the Optima was also longer and taller than the previous model and had a longer wheelbase. The real differences though between the Optima and Sonata though was the details presented in their styling, with the Kia being priced at $500 less.

The Optima really highlighted and emphasized the safety features available the most claiming that it comes standard with many safety features as well asreceiving a crash test rating of 5-stars from the NHTSA[1] and 4-stars from Euro NCAP[2]. While many other cars were adding power with model-changeovers, it was surprising that the optional V6 only made 185 hp (138 kW), which was seriously lacking compared to a lot of other models. The Optima has proven to be an acceptable rally racing machine even though it was not known to be a competitor in any road racing events.

Proving that it could be a close competitor to the rally machines in its class, the model know as the Magentis raced in several amateur rally events in 2003 and 2004 but never claimed a victory, From its plain vanilla wheels to its sparse use of chrome, the Optima was deeply and wildly inoffensive. Measured against the 2007 Accord EX V6, the Optima LX comes up short in acceleration, mileage and amenities, but was a nice car for the price. The Optima was priced below competing models and typically represented a good value when taking into consideration their high feature content. For those who ventured into purchasing early models, four years down the road your used Optima may be a steal compared to a used Camry or Accord. With that said, your eyes will have no problem telling the difference between the LX and higher-priced merchandise. The vehicle's "Expected" cost of ownership is based on statistical models that correlate the price of a vehicle with cost of ownership within each of the 34 segments that comprise all vehicles.
About the Author
Jim Harris is president of Elite Search Engine Marketing specializing in SEO/SEM. Let us show you we can efficiently and affordably administer a quality search engine marketing campaign for you as we have for Kia Cincinnati.
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