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Kia Motors Australia has unveiled an all new medium passenger vehicle at the 2011 Australian Open.

Kia Optima

The new Kia Optima replaces the Magentis but is a clean sheet design in every aspect and showcases a number of the Korean manufacturer’s latest innovations.

The single model being imported into Australia features the new ‘Schreyer’ design DNA and is loaded with features and creature comforts which Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Tony Barlow says will provide the vehicle with a strong showroom presence.

“Kia’s product concept behind the creation of new Optima had focused on four key areas,” Mr Barlow said. “Stand-out styling – a unique exterior with a driver-oriented interior, class-leading performance – down-sized but more efficient engines with six-speed transmissions, superior packaging – new, longer wheelbase platform and advanced features – high-tech options to boost Optima’s status and Kia’s brand identity.

“Everything about the Optima is new and exciting. The gasoline direct injection engine took two years and US$145million to develop. It’s light, powerful and economical and when matched to the new Kia six-speed automatic transmission with sport mode and steering mounted paddle shifters, it’s exciting to drive.”

The Optima being imported into Australia is a high spec Platinum powered by a 4-cylinder, 2.4-litre GDI Theta II engine which produces 148kW at 6300rpm and 250Nm of torque at 4250rpm. While the new power plant offers smooth power it also meets the EURO IV emissions requirements and boasts a combined fuel consumption of 7.9L/100km.

At a glance the sleek, lower, longer, wider Schreyer design with body coloured bumpers, door handles and side mirrors is a head-turner.

“Styling has been one of the foundation stones of Kia’s global success over the past two years and in the Optima it is clear to see the defining look that now has Kia producing cars of desire,” Kia Motors Australia President CEO Mr M.K Kim said.

“That styling maturity has been recognised by a string of design awards, the most recent being the prestigious global iF Good Design Award for both Optima and Sportage.

“The stunning good looks coupled to quality engineering and unbeatable value make a compelling argument for our brand.”

LED daytime running rights make the Optima highly visible to other vehicles while the raked windscreen and three-panelled panoramic glass sunroof provide the cabin with a glasshouse feel.

High intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels and rear spoiler add to the new Optima’s visual presence.

The interior of the Optima is aircraft cockpit inspired. The centre stack instrument panel is contoured toward the driver (at a 9.6 degree angle) to produce a wrap-around cockpit feel.

A high centre console with paddle-shifters behind the steering wheel confirm that Optima is built for people who are passionate about driving their cars. The shapes of the centre console and centre armrest are also angled towards the driver.

The interior consists of black leather and wood look trim and features Kia’s latest dual zone automatic climate control air-conditioning with rear vents.

Both front seats offer power adjustment (driver 8-way / passenger 4-way), and a heated cushion and backrest.  In addition, the driver’s seat features powered lumbar support and cool ventilation. The 60/40 folding rear seat backrests are standard and can be folded down for greater seating and cargo carrying versatility, depending on driver and passenger needs.

Optima is equipped with the latest Infinity® premium sound system which runs seven speakers, including a 4-inch centre speaker plus a 8-inch sub-woofer through an external amplifier. In addition to a radio/CD player with MP3, USB and iPod connectivity, it features a 6-CD changer and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The radio antenna is discreetly integrated within the rear window glass.

Other standard high-tech ‘comfort and convenience’ features include a smart key for keyless entry, together with an engine start/stop button, ‘welcome home’ escort lights and LED side repeaters in electric folding side mirrors.

The list of active and passive safety features includes ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA) and electronic stability control (ESC), six SRS airbags and the new tailgate-mounted reversing safety camera fitted with a 130-degree, wide-angle lens which transmits images to an LCD display set within the interior rear-view mirror.

This enables the driver to simultaneously check the rear view mirror and the blind spot immediately behind the car. A rear warning sensor also helps the driver to avoid contact with pedestrians and other vehicles by triggering an audible warning whenever the Optima is approaching an obstruction.

Kia optima brisbane

The new Kia Optima received the highest possible crash safety rating of “Good” in all four tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US and has been recognized as a “Top Safety Pick,” the top award handed down by the organization.  A 5-Star rating in Euro NCAP’s crash tests is anticipated in April 2011.

The new Optima will be available in seven exterior colours: Snow White Pearl, Bright Silver, Ebony Black, Platinum Graphite, Satin Metal, Santorini Blue and Spicy Red and will sell for $36,990 RRP (excl. statutory charges & dealer delivery).