Text, photos and video by Cor Steenstra and Sebastian Steenstra
Since our first experience with the current generation Kia Optima, we have been very enthusiastic about this car, reason enough for us to try out both the Hybrid and Turbo versions.
When we started out Car Design TV, the second car we evaluated was in fact the 2007 Kia Optima, which was at that time a rather bland vehicle, with no clear outstanding features at all. Fast Forward to today, and this Kia Optima, as representative for the whole Kia line-up, has come to live with a serious passion for automotive design in exterior and interior.
Sharing the platform with the flamboyantly styled Hyundai Sonata, Kia was poised to take a more conservative style, but within that actually managed to create something that was more sporty, more ambitious, more substantial and more timeless. Kudos. The 2011 Kia Optima looks definitely better than its predecessor, but it does so much more. It has a new dynamic, yet timelessness about it, a subdued sportiness combined with fresh and original design detailing, that have you wonder why other manufacturers have not come up with that before, manufacturers who offer much more conservative vehicles at much overrated prices in the same category.
From my point of view, I think it was very wise from Kia to hire Peter Schreyer away from Audi, put him in overall charge at Kia Design, and let him run with it. The quality of Kia products had already come up with leaps and bounds as its sister brand Hyundai did, but it also has now developed a unique design language all Kia, an image that in the long run can make Kia a serious threat to many renowned brands they set their sights on.