The second generation, which debuted in 2004 as a 2005 model, was built on the unique MG global platform. Optima’s refresh in 2008 as a 2009 model, though, hinted that Kia drove a different path than its Korean sibling (and rival).
Fast forward to the third generation. The 2011 Kia Optima is all-new and is longer, wider, and lower than its predecessors. The Optima’s wheelbase, or the distance between the front and rear axles, and car length as well is three inches more than the 2010 model. The greater size, plus redesigned interior, give a spacious feeling in the interior which we’ll explore in the next post.
The 2011 Optima shares the same platform as the 2010 Hyundai Sonata. We found the Optima’s sheetmetal more simple and sporty, bearing a strong resemblance to the Mazda6, Nissan Altima, and the Lexus GS. The “tiger nose” front fascia, which first debuted on the 2009 Kia Forte and made an appearance on the 2010 Optima, is more prominent this model year. From this new grill, the Optima has a strong rakish design, accomplished by its rising beltline, sculpted hood, and wedge-shaped lines. Side vents add character to the coke bottle-smooth sides while chrome-tipped dual exhausts, available even on the lowest trim, add enhancement to the simple rear design. Finally, a chrome arc sweeps across the swooping greenhouse from the A through C pillar to enhance the Optima’s sleek appearance even when standing still.