The Optima is Kia's midsize sedan that joined the Kia lineup for 2001, adding a larger, more luxurious car to Kia's compact cars and SUVs. With available V6 power and an impressive list of standard features, this stylish, sophisticated, mid-size sedan is affordably within reach. The Optima gives you more than just great looks and a smooth ride, however. With safety features like dual front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags and available anti-lock brakes, it also gives you peace of mind.
The Kia Optima is one of those new South Korean autos with a nameplate that doesn't invoke instant name recall nor attracts impressive remarks about it because it's a new contender in the auto market. But the Kia Optima is a surprisingly good midsize sedan that has outstanding warranties. The front-drive Optima is a sister model to the Sonata from South Korea's Hyundai, which owns Kia. Compared to the Sonata, the slick-looking Optima have minor styling differences and a different pricing and features mix. Both cars share virtually everything, including a 106.3-inch wheelbase, chassis, engines and transmissions.
The Kia Optima is based on the Hyundai Sonata produced by Kia's corporate parent. Sharing Sonata's 4-cyl and V6 engines, Optima come in LX and EX models; EX replaces the SE for '04. With the 4-cyl, manual transmission is standard and an automatic with manual-shift feature is optional. The V6 comes with automatic only. Front side airbags are standard. All Optima's have 4-wheel disc brakes, but ABS is optional only with the V6. For '04, V6 models get 16-inch wheels to replace 15s; the 4-cyl models retain 15s. Optima's performance and accommodations mirror those of like-equipped Sonatas.
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