Boston Globe Top Drives for 2012
During the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in February, Los Angeles Clippers star rookie Blake Griffin jumped over the Kia Optima to complete a dunk. For the rest of the year, it was the Optima doing the jumping over its competition. Sales increased three-fold through the first 11 months of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
The Optima has achieved a metamorphosis from unremarkable to a first-class, five-passenger, mid-sized sedan. In this total redesign Kia has given the Optima, like all its vehicles, a sportier image than its Korean cousin and corporate sibling Hyundai. Even though the Optima shares a platform and engines with the critically acclaimed Hyundai Sonata, the exterior design, suspension tuning, and interior treatment are significantly different. The interior is surprisingly spacious. In addition, our test car got a gold star for having a heated steering wheel as an unexpected accoutrement.
We thought the midlevel Optima was just fine though we liked the turbo version as well. Its also available as a hybrid.