2011 Kia Optima First Drive Review
Farewell midsize vehicular appliances
It’s hard to garner enthusiasm for a midsize car. I’m not saying that a buyer shouldn’t consider one; it’s just that most midsize sedans quicken my pulse as much as using my Oster toaster oven. Actually, my trusty Oster might just be more exciting because it always crisps my taquitos to perfection. Midsize sedans are great for efficient family transport, and if that’s what you’re after, you’re in luck with the myriad of options from every manufacturer selling cars. Recently though, I drove a midsize sedan on which an Oster badge would look out of place. In fact, I’d rather be behind the helm of it than eagerly awaiting my dinner. A strong statement because I’m almost always hungry.
2011 Kia Optima Rear" vspace="4" width="293" align="right" height="220" hspace="4"> The 2011 Kia Optima is a big deal for Kia and midsize sedans in general. Better than the outgoing model in every way, the 2011 is proof of what Kia can do when it sets its mind to something. Following a car that could be described as a generic brand midsize sedan at best, the new Optima is out to change minds. You don’t even need to get behind the wheel to notice it…just look at it. No way would this toast my taquitos (safely).
It’s based on the new Hyundai Sonata, but it has a character all its own. Longer, wider, and lower than its predecessor, the Optima gives a sporty vibe without being overly aggressive. Slung over standard 17” wheels, my high level EX tester was quite a striking vehicle. From the jack-o-lantern grille to the swooping roofline to the dual exhaust tips, it’s not quite like anything else in the segment, but it feels strangely familiar at the same time.
Photos courtesy of Kia