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Friday, February 25, 2011

KIA Optima-its all-new Optima could be a slam-dunk winner


KIA Optima Slam Dunk Contest

Griffin's coach Kenny Smith said after the dunk that the pass from Davis wasn't where it was supposed to be; it's unclear if Davis was supposed to go off the backboard or whether Griffin needed the ball higher.

Rumors swirled about an over-a-car dunk from Griffin all day, but the Clippers' rookie saved the dunk for the final round.
Probably the NBA because the video is called "Griffin's Car Dunk" and not "Griffin's Optima Dunk."

It was an appropriate coupling of car and event because, even as Kia is riding a wave of sales success, its all-new KIA Optima could be a slam-dunk winner, too.

Coincidence had an KIA Optima test car in my driveway the same night as Griffin's dunk.

The "KIA Optima" has achieved the metamorphosis from "unremarkable choice" to a first-class, five-passenger mid-sized sedan. Even though the Optima shares a platform and engines with the critically acclaimed Hyundai Sonata, the exterior design, suspension tuning, and interior treatment are significantly different.

"Our" KIA Optima was the mid-level EX with an MSRP (including destination) of $23,190. It had the only two factory options available, a $2,000 technology package (navigation system, back-up camera, Infinity audio system) and the $2,250 premium package that included a panoramic two-piece sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear outboard seats, and my favorite: a heated steering wheel.

Mrs. G especially liked the optional power passenger seat. The heated wheel was a welcome accoutrement, especially on THAT Saturday. Even though the Optima's drivetrain was the same as in the Sonata, the Kia had noticeably different handling characteristics. Under the hood our Kia had the standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder direct injection engine. We achieved 27.2 mpg in mostly cold-weather urban driving. A 6-speed manual transmission, available only on the base LX model, is rated at 24 mpg city and 35 highway.

We found the seats comfortable, and rear-seat passengers were able to enjoy sufficient legroom and a heated seat control. The sloping roofline, coupled with the double-paneled sunroof, limits rear-seat headroom for taller passengers.

Optima's limited optional packages make construction easier and also simplify dealer inventories.

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