Cars from Kia Motors have been coming in with great fashion, engineering and customer satisfaction. The Kia Optima was launched after a brief spell of financial crisis in the late 1990’s. In 2000, Kia Motors with ownership under Hyundai Motor Company, their Korean rivals, was all set to take on the automobile industry once again, and with a widespread presence in the US, the first generation Optima was easy to be sold in US cities. By now the company had been operating in the US as KMA (Kia Motors America), under Kia Motors Corporation with headquarters in its home country Korea. Today, the Kia cars rolled out post 2000 are under the name of Hyundai Kia Automotive Group and the Optima is one the best examples.

Hyundai  influence

The Optima was released with considerable influence of the Hyundai designs, especially that of the Hyundai Sonata, which is considered to be Optima’s sister car. Optima when released in 2000, remained quite similar in the mechanical aspects till 2005, and was a testament to Hyundai’s influence in changing the design and engineering pattern of Kia vehicles for the first time after the Ford partnership days of the 1980’s. The Optima had been released with other variations through the next two years. The differences from the Hyundai Sonata remained only in terms of shaping the exterior differently and providing buyers with a number of optional features. The car is also said to have compact similarities with Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Grandeur/XG as well.

Changes

As the years and months went by, Kia was getting ready to restyle a few other elements through 2003 – 4. When they released the 2004 model, one would get to see what was about to arrive in 2005 when the second generation Optima was to be born. In the 2004 model, the US market was being targeted with a different grille design carrying the previously absent ‘Kia’ logo, and a restyling of the headlights.

Second generation Optima (2005)

The second generation Optima was all set to roll out in 2005 after an impressive 5-star rating on crash tests. It was called by different names in various countries, but remained the ‘Optima’ in the US and Malaysia. In South Korea, it was called the Kia Lotze. The second generation models are still being produced and the 2008 model was revised for a debut performance at the New York International Auto Show, as a model for 2009. The changes mainly incorporated into the model were the use of a CVVT engine that helps optimize performance under all conditions of stress. A slight increase of 70mm was also added to the length.

Kia Optima engines

The Kia Optima comes in 3 variations of engines – 2.0, 2.4 and 2.7L, with options of 5 – speed manual and automatic transmissions. Horsepower ratings go almost up to 200 in the higher end versions of the Optima. A truly fantastic piece of engineering, the recently rolled out Kia Optima models are best buys for most income groups looking for a high performance passenger car with adequate safety.

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Cars from Kia Motors have been coming in with great fashion, engineering and customer satisfaction. The Kia Optima was launched after a brief spell of financial crisis in the late 1990's. In 2000, Kia Motors with ownership under Hyundai Motor Company, their Korean rivals, was all set to take...