The car above, the 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo, has been getting excellent reviews. One writer called it “hands down the best looking mid-size sedan on the market today, and possibly of the past decade.” And then went on to praise its Saab-like cockpit, its performance, equipment, and base price of $25,995.
Fitted out with a nav package, fancy stereo, big sunroof, heated/cooled seats and so on, the cost was $30,840, a bargain compared to its Honda and Toyota competition. And it’s a lot better-looking.
The Optima SX Turbo has a turbocharged 4-cylinder, producing 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of “silky smooth” torque, tempting most reviewers to push it to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and thereby undercut its 22/34 mpg EPA ratings. Car and Driver likes it better than the Mazda6.
InsideLine’s reviewer made the point that this was not quite a sports sedan yet (it needs better steering and tires), but its looks, value and performance give it a real edge over the competition. Better than the big-brother Sonata? Yes, it is, implies Leftlane.
Kia is part of the Hyundai Motor Company and has sold (in 2010) a good portion of its 1.4 million cars in Europe. The U.S. will be next, with a big plant built two years ago in Georgia and increasing market share for its cars.
For 2008, KMA recorded its 14th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. In August 2009, Kia was the 8th-best selling automotive brand in the United States, outselling makes like Chrysler and Mazda.
The company just released the price of its subcompact sedan, the Rio (above): $13,400 plus a $750 destination charge. For 2012, the car leads its class in both horsepower (135) and fuel economy (30/40 mpg). And, once again, it has the edge in looks over competitors like the Versa.
The car world is indeed in flux, and the changes for 2012 will be coming thick and fast. The Kias are clearly on a roll, and their presence will be strongly felt this next year. Keep looking for more SX Turbos to show up on DealFinder.
Do you like the looks of the Optima SX Turbo? What’s its best feature?