It doesn’t seem like the current-generation Kia Optima was introduced that long ago. But it’s been on the market since 2011. Now that it’s gotten NBA superstar approval, sales have taken off to the point where the sedan is Kia’s best seller, 150,000 units in the U.S. alone last year.
And just when Kia hit its stride with the car, the 2014 Kia Optima emerged at the New York Auto Show, refreshed and with a ton of new available technologies. At first sight, changes appear subtle: “eyebrow” running lights, a new front bumper, new wheels, revised tail lights, and a “Turbo” badge on 2.0T models highlight the most significant aesthetic changes. On 2014 Kia Optima SX Limited models, a cubed set of LED fog lights replace this year’s strip of LED running lights that mimic the headlights on the still-forbidden-fruit Kia Quoris full-size luxury sedan.
Inside, passengers are greeted with a new 4.3-inch TFT display in the gauge cluster as well as a larger 8-inch screen for the UVO infotainment system with Kia’s new eServices diagnostics information. What’s more, the Kia Optima will now be available with blind spot detection and cross-traffic alert. The Optima also gets a new three-spoke steering wheel.
Kia has not made any announcements about the 2014 Optima’s engine or suspension changes, so we expect most of it to carry over from the current model intact. That means standard equipment will still be a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower on tap. The upgraded engine in the current model is a turbochaged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 274 horsepower. Both are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Optima will continue with LX, EX, SX, and SX Limited equipment levels. After driving the $35,000 Optima Limited, we came away impressed with Kia’s attention to details in sprucing up a midsize sedan to make it feel truly luxurious. This latest version of the car should only make it better.