The all-new 2011 Kia Optima has been collecting notable awards that would be impressive even for a sedan that costs a good bit more than this class-leading, family friendly, fuel efficient sedan with a starting price of $18,995.
Most important for my money is that the 2011 Kia Optima is the first Korean-built vehicle to achieve the top safety rating under new, more stringent government guidelines by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
That safety rating, plus its price and fuel efficiency — between 22-24 MPG city and 34-35 MPG highway, depending on engine and transmission — contributed to other ‘best buy’ awards. These include “Best New Model” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, “Best of 2011” by Cars.com, and “Top 10 Cars To Look Forward To in 2011″ by CarsDirect.com. It’s also been named a”Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Luckily, the trunk of this efficient, affordable and stylish mid-size sedan is large enough for all those awards, plus enough luggage for a family getaway.
There’s also a 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, but that’s another story.
Like the rest of 2011 Kia line-up, the Optima comes equipped with class-leading safety features as standard equipment, including full-length side curtain airbags, side-impact door beams, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Anti-lock brakes (ABS), a traction control system (TCS), a brake control system (TCS) and a hill assist control (HAC) also are standard — and not usually included in cars at this low price.
There are a couple of engine choices. The 2.4 liter non-turbo GDI engine supplies 200 hp, and runs clean enough to classify as a super ultra low emission vehicle — SULEV — which has tax and other advantages in some states. There’s also a 2.0 liter Turbo GDI that packs 274 horses under the hood.
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Watch the special effects 2011 Kia Optima TV commercial