We just road-tested the 2009 Hyundai Sonata, and we were quite impressed. Now, here's its new sibling, the 2010 Kia Optima. The Optima always has been based on the Sonata, and it still is. Bascially, this is a cheap-stake Sonata. However, the Sonata is already inexpensive. So, what makes the Optima different? Read below.
It's only been a year or so since Kia gave the Optima, a mid-life makeover. Nonetheless, Kia decide to refresh it again, with a new mesh grille, darkened headlights, new LED taillights, black treatment for the lower part of the rear bumper and newly designed 17-inch wheels. Compared to the Sonata, which both the same body-shell, the Optima directs a sportier look.
Inside, the Optima receives an all-new interior design, which is also shared from the Sonata. Continuing with the sporty look, the 2010 Optima features a triple-pod gauge cluster, shiny-black wood, and a new multimedia system that we liked in the Sonata.
There are no mechanical upgrades on the 2010 Optima compared to last year. It gets a 163 hp 2.0L 4-cylinder as basic, and the same 179 hp 2.4L 4-cylinder in the Sonata as an option. Transmission, is a 5-speed automatic with ShiftTronic. Unlike the Sonata though, Kia offer the Optima with steering-wheel paddle shifters, which the ShiftTronic really needs. Kia also tunes the suspension to a more sportier setup as well.
In essence, this is a re-badged Hyundai Sonata. However, it's those supple changes like the sportier character, that make this Optima different from the Sonata. Look for the 2010 Kia Optima at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales stating worldwide shortly afterwards.
Source : [Kia]