Kia's redesigned 2006.5 Optima is a conservatively styled midsize sedan that's available with either four-cylinder or V-6 power. It can be equipped with some uncommon features for its class — like a manual sunshade for the rear window — and is offered in LX and step-up EX trim levels.
Although the new Optima's exterior styling doesn't break any new ground in the passenger car segment, it's well proportioned overall. An Appearance Package features 17-inch wheels and a blacked-out grille and headlights. V-6-powered Optimas have dual exhaust pipes. Trunk volume measures 14.8 cubic feet, which is less than that of its competitors.
Front bucket seats and a three-place, split-folding rear bench seat provide seating for up to five people. Air conditioning, power windows and locks, heated mirrors, and a six-speaker CD stereo are standard. EX models add an eight-way power driver's seat, automatic climate control, a premium audio system and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Leather seats are optional.
Under the Hood
The Optima's 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generates 162 horsepower and 164 pounds-feet of torque — significant power and torque gains over the 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the outgoing Optima. Also offered is a 185-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. Available transmissions include a five-speed manual and a five-speed automatic that has a manual-shift mode.
All-disc brakes, side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard. Antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system and brake assist are optional.