Sacramento, California – Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, Kia matched up the DNA of a contemporary Acura TSX and an old-school Pontiac Trans Am, put an affordable price on it and named it the 2011 Optima.
And that’s what you really need to know, for starters, about the redesigned-for-2011 Optima, a racy looking piece of high-performing, luxurious machinery that you or yours would likely love to have this holiday season … or in the early days of 2011.
I was fortunate enough to get the top-end EX version, which had a still-affordable starting price of $22,495. For that price, the sedan was loaded with comfort, convenience and safety features – all piled on top of Kia’s world-class warranties.
For a full five minutes, I just stared at the thing. Talk about an upgrade. The front end looked like it could slice through the air with stealth fighter jet ease. Sleek lines drift all the way to the back end.
Let me get into the driver’s seat and hit the gas … Oh yes, it feels as good as it looks.
The Optima EX snapped my shoulders into the seat on hard acceleration, and it cornered with cheetah-like agility. Uphill runs were a pavement-eating blast. The little 2.4-liter in-line 4 certainly felt stronger than the advertised 200 horses. And the bonus: Very nice fuel mileage ratings of 24 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
Riding comfort was, well, optimal. Interior cabin noise was minimal. The whole motoring experience: special.
Is this Optima going to appeal to a younger crowd? Absolutely. In truth, it should take in the 18-to-65 age demographic.
I’ve been saying for years that you can get a loaded Hyundai/Kia product for far less than you would pay for the equivalent hardware produced by another automaker. This new Optima all but screams out my arguments.
Looking to get a quality product for a lot less money this Christmas? Put this Optima on your test-drive list.