Kia Introduces 2014 Optima Hybrid at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show


Korean automaker Kia has taken the wraps off of its updated 2014 Optima Hybrid at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show this week, revealing a barely restyled sedan whose changes are limited to slightly different front and rear bumpers. Kia says that the updates work to improve the car's aerodynamic efficiency and fuel economy, but the 2014 Optima Hybrid is mechanically unchanged from the 2013 model. The 2014 Optima Hybrid features identical fuel economy of 36/40/38 mpg city/highway/combined for the LX model and 35/39/37 mpg for the uplevel EX trim.

More 2014 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

New 16- and 17-inch wheels are included for the LX and EX, respectively, and they're complemented by new badges. The interior is largely untouched. It still offers a standard 4.3-inch touch-screen or optional 8-inch navigation touch-screen, optional White Leather Package, UVO multimedia system and more.

Kia did not specify when the new 2014 Optima Hybrid will be on sale.

By Aaron Bragman | February 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

2014 Kia Optima at the 2013 New York Auto Show


  • Competes with: Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Mazda6
  • Looks like: Updated enough to stay current with the competition
  • Drivetrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 2.4-liter hybrid, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; six-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Third quarter of 2013

Debuting this week at the 2013 New York International Auto Show is a refreshed 2014 Kia Optima. The changes to its appearance are few but across its four trim levels, the new Optima has added and updated features in an attempt to stay competitive in the booming midsize-sedan market.

The Optima's exterior has alterations to the front and rear including the brand's signature tabbed grille. There are also refreshed rear diffusers, a sweeping trunk lid and new front-LED positioning along with fog lights and newly designed taillights.

More 2013 New York Auto Show Coverage

Tech features include push-button start, a new 4.3-inch LCD instrument cluster and an optional 8-inch multimedia screen featuring Kia's UVO eServices, an eight-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic. An optional blind spot warning system includes rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. Kia says newly designed seats should improve comfort.

When the 2014 Optima arrives at dealerships in third quarter of this year — pricing will be announced closer to the sale date — it will offer car shoppers a choice among LX, EX, SX and a new SX Limited trim levels. Base-model features include dual exhaust with chrome tips, solar glass, side mirror turn-signal indicators, front fog lights, heated side mirrors, chrome-accented exterior door handles and 16-inch alloy wheels. Upgrades reserved for the top-level SX Limited trim include unique 18-inch chrome wheels, LED fog lights, red brake calipers, an electronic parking brake, chrome-accented side sills and premium Nappa leather seats.

By Matt Schmitz | March 27, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Chicago Auto Show: What to Expect


The Windy City is considered one of the fan-friendliest destinations during auto-show season, and to that end the 2013 Chicago Auto Show is unlikely to disappoint. This show will give visitors a first glimpse of a few new vehicles along with a closer look at a host of exciting cars that made flashy debuts at the Detroit auto show.

The 2013 Chicago show — the 105th time the event has been held since 1901, according to organizers — will be open to the public 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 9-17 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 18, with media and charity previews Feb. 7-8, at McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Drive. Organizers promote the Chicago show as the largest in terms of exhibit space used, as it occupies 1 million square feet of floor space and hosts about 1,000 vehicles.

For those most interested in the latest thing, the Chicago show will host the world debuts of the redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck and the Kia Cross GT Concept. That's in addition to the North American reveal of the new Chevrolet Cruze Diesel. The 2014 Ram ProMaster van and the custom Superman-inspired Kia Optima Hybrid also are expected to be unveiled.

By Matt Schmitz | January 31, 2013 | Comments (6)

Kia to Unveil Crossover Concept, Superman Car at 2013 Chicago Auto Show


Kia's showing in Chicago next week will be a mix of concept, in the Kia Cross GT, and just plain conceptual, in its Superman-inspired Optima Hybrid. Both cars are set to be unveiled at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, which runs Feb. 9-18 at McCormick Place.

Kia released a sneak peak of the Cross GT concept this morning. The photo shows what appears to be a seven-seat crossover larger than the 2014 Kia Sorento. Kia describes the Cross GT concept as "inspired by nature, driven by technology" and stated that it "hints at the future of Kia’s design language in the form of a premium Crossover Utility Vehicle." We’ll have full coverage of the concept next week from the show.

By Matt Schmitz | January 30, 2013 | Comments (3)

Midsize Cars Improve in Side Crash Tests


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently concluded crash tests on seven midsize sedans and discovered that while they had improved in side crash tests, they still lacked enough head protection to earn top marks in rear crash tests.

Tested were the 2008 model year Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Infiniti G35, Kia Optima, Mitsubishi Galant (which was updated for the 2009 model year on sale now), Nissan Altima and Saturn Aura.

Only the Kia Optima did not earn the top score of “good” for side impact crash tests – it received the second highest nod, “acceptable.” However, the Optima was the only car in the test to receive a “good” score in rear crash tests.

The difficulty in scoring the top rank in rear tests involves head and neck protection for those rear-end collisions that produce whiplash. The IIHS claims that those types of accidents and injuries lead to losses of $8.5 billion annually. Most vehicles need to equip active head restraints to pass this test.

The Audi A3, A4, Honda Accord, Saab 9-3 and Subaru Legacy – with optional stability control – earned good ratings in all tests previously and earned the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick designation for midsize cars. 

A full chart of how the cars scored is below.

By David Thomas | April 10, 2008 | Comments (0)

2008 New York Auto Show: 2009 Kia Optima


  • Competes with: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry
  • Looks like: Honda Accord, Toyota Camry
  • Drivetrain: 175-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder with five-speed manual or five-speed automatic, or 190-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 with five-speed automatic; front-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2008

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.

Click below for more pictures.

By Kelsey Mays | March 20, 2008 | Comments (11)

Kia Wakes Up, Kills Off Cassette Player


I was just looking at the fact sheet on the 2008 Kia Rondo (introduced earlier this year as a 2007 model) and discovered that Kia has dumped the Rondo’s cassette player in favor of an MP3 jack. Progress! You may remember (or not) my thoughts on the 2007 Kia Sportage, when I told Kia to join the 21st century and get rid of the tape player, seeing as almost no one has used one in the past decade. Or you may remember the Suburban Dad Manifesto, in which I implored all automakers to make MP3 jacks standard in the face of more than 130 million MP3 players wandering the roads of America (the vast majority of which are iPods). Well, it seems the South Korean automaker, in its wisdom, has seen fit to embrace both concepts for the Rondo and the 2008 Optima. We haven’t heard yet about the Sportage.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for automatic windows everywhere. Take your time; we can wait.

By Suburban Dad | September 18, 2007 | Comments (14)

Cars.comparison Pits Camry vs. Fusion vs. Optima


Joe Wiesenfelder and Mike Hanley just finished a three-way shootout between some of the most popular midsize sedans on the market. The two compared four-cylinder versions of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Kia Optima in a number of categories, including ride, handling and safety. For savvy readers, the winner won’t be much of a surprise, but seeing which vehicle fared best in each category makes for some intriguing reading.

Cars.comparison: Midsize Sedans

By David Thomas | October 25, 2006 | Comments (20)

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