Op­tima in Kia’s fine line

There’s a larger, lower, more re­fined new model bound for Aus­tralian show­rooms, writes Stu­art Martin

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - NEWS -

THE new-gen­er­a­tion Kia Op­tima con­tin­ues Kia’s de­sign trend be­gun by the Cer­ato, with five new pow­er­trains, in­clud­ing a hy­brid.

De­signed at Kia’s in-house Frank­furt and Cal­i­for­nia stu­dios, the Op­tima sits on a new plat­form and is longer, wider and lower than the ve­hi­cle it re­places – 4845mm long (up by 45mm), 1830mm wide, a 2795mm wheel­base (a 75mm in­crease) and ground clear­ance of 135mm.

It will be avail­able with three new Theta II en­gines, a 151kW 2.4-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion four­cylin­der, a 207kW two-litre di­rect­in­jec­tion tur­bocharged en­gine (bound for Aus­tralia) or a 2.4-litre hy­brid, the lat­ter to be in­tro­duced in 2011. Aus­tralia-bound Op­ti­mas are also likely to be of­fered with a 123kW two-litre or a 133kW 2.4-litre en­gine. Both man­ual and au­to­mat­ics will be six-speed­ers.

The new Op­tima’s safety fea­tures are likely to in­clude six airbags (dual front, side and ful­l­length cur­tain), front ac­tive head­rests, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, anti-lock brakes, sta­bil­ity con­trol and hill as­sist con­trol.

Kia chief de­sign of­fi­cer Peter Schreyer says the new Op­tima is a new strand in Kia’s grow­ing de­sign DNA.

‘‘It’s a blend of sim­ple, fluid lines and el­e­gant but un­com­pli­cated shapes that draw the at­ten­tion of the eye in much the same fashion as a per­fectly-tai­lored fine Ital­ian suit,’’ he says.

‘‘From the dis­tinc­tive sweep­ing chrome ac­cent that stretches through the C pil­lars to the sleek green­house and flared wheel arches, ev­ery inch of the Op­tima projects a dis­tin­guished and re­fined style and ex­treme at­ten­tion to de­tail.’’

The new Op­tima also em­ploys en­gine man­age­ment sys­tems like di­rect in­jec­tion, multi-port in­jec­tion and tur­bocharg­ing to help bring per­for­mance to the brand with­out sac­ri­fic­ing fuel ef­fi­ciency.

The new model is sched­uled to be launched in Aus­tralia late in the fi­nal quar­ter, re­plac­ing the Ma­gen­tis and bring­ing the Op­tima name­plate back to lo­cal show­rooms af­ter a four-year ab­sence.

Also com­ing is a five-door Cer­ato with an up­dated grille, al­loy wheels and cen­tre con­sole, as well as three petrol en­gines – a 1.6-litre, 2.0-litre or 2.4-litre – and six-speed man­ual or au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

The 1.6 and 2.0-litre en­gines are more likely for Aus­tralia when the new hatch is launched in Oc­to­ber.


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