Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kia Optima 2009

Kia ' s repeatedly - overlooked Accord and Camry competitor gets a mid - circle freshening and a Uncontaminated York auto fanfare debut. The most exciting thing at Kia ' s press conference today was undoubtedly the KOUP Concept, but sharing the stage and as an automotive wall flower was the redesigned 2009 Kia Optima.

The last - gen Optima, not all that old itself, was derided by some for being blandly designed. Kia claims to have corrected this for ' 09, but dipped into the derivative styling bin to do it. Though all the sheetmetal is new, the ' 09 Optima still looks as interesting as white bread. New for next year, however, is a " sport " model designated the SX ( no innuendos please ).

Slotted above the entry - level LX and top - end EX trims, the SX model gets a sportier suspension, black - bezeled grille and headlamps, LED turn indicators in the sideview mirrors, fog lights, and " hyper - silver - finished " 17 - inch wheels. Powering the new Optima will be a new 2. 4L four - cylinder producing 175 horsepower and 169 pound - feet or torque, which is up 13 hp compared to the prior four - cylinder, and an updated version of the current Optima ' s smallish 2. 7L V6 that ' s now up to 190 hp and 184 pound - feet. That ' s still underpowered in our book compared to other mid - sizers that have been offering 3. 5L + V6 engines producing 250 horsepower for some time. The Optima also gets a tweaked interior with more ways to plug into your consumer electronics ( USB, MP3 player plug, etc. ) and a revised color palette. All in all, the 2009 Kia Optima just isn ' t daring enough, whether you ' re talking about its new lines or the engines underhood.

Get a load of what Kia supports in its official press release on the restyled Optima that made its debut today at the New York Auto Show: “The 2009 Optima is presented with new front, side and rear styling cues, which build upon Kia’s philosophy of creating dynamic vehicles that evoke passion”. We’d gladly appreciate it if anyone could help us find something - anything - on the Optima that evokes passion…

Along with the “hi, my name is John Doe” front - end styling the 2009 Optima also features refreshed fascia patterns and color schemes in the interior. Power comes from a new 2. 4 - liter four cylinder engine that produces 175 Hp and 169 lb - ft of torque ( + 13 Hp more than the before ) and a revised version of the 2. 7 - liter V6 engine that delivers 190 Hp and 184 lb - ft of torque

Not two months after sister company Hyundai debuted a freshened Sonata, Kia followed suit with the midsize Optima. Though the cars shared architecture in previous years, they’ve been on divergent paths for some time now, Kia says. Where the upgraded Sonata’s new face found general acceptance, our reaction to the Optima is lukewarm. The car’s sheet metal went from Plane Jane to Frank Caliendo, meaning you can find a good impression of a lot of cars here: the grille and taillights look like those on the new and two - generations - old Accord, respectively; the headlights are all Camry; and the trunk and rear bumper remind us of the Malibu.

Both engines have been upgraded, but the cabin remains mostly the same, save for some cooler electroluminescent gauges in the sporty SX trim level. ( “Sporty” is a relative term here, as in, whoa, check out that sporty Camry SE! ) Other SX features include 17 - inch rims, a sport - tuned suspension and mirrors with integrated turn signals. The LX and EX trims remain, and new standard features include a USB port, which takes iPod compatibility beyond what simpler auxiliary jacks allow. Six airbags and active head restraints are also standard, but we wish ABS and stability control were, too. They’re optional, but product strategy manager Ralph Tjoa said that may change before the car arrives at dealerships.

The Optima shown at the 2008 Current York auto grandstand play is money SX trim, marking the opening while that Kia has affixed that badging to the Optima; essential signifies a sportier tune. Turn signals that are right now unimpaired into the side rearview mirrors; youthful taillights and deck lid; distinct standard Sirius protectorate radio; and a untrained three - pod instrument gauge cluster round out the changes for the exterior - lifted 2009 Kia Optima. Valid goes on sale this fall.

Kia and announced today that, preface January 1, 2009, all Kia cars moved hold America will come standard curtain Sirius and a three - age contribution.

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