The Forte Koup and Soul aren’t the only new cars Kia brought to New York, the fast-growing Korean brand also showed the 2014 Kia Optima facelift. It was at the same show three years ago that Kia rolled out the third-gen TF Optima, which wowed the crowd with sharp lines penned by Peter Schreyer, who is of course now a president at Kia and design head for the Hyundai-Kia group.

For this update, Kia’s Frankfurt-based design team worked on the Optima’s front and rear fascias and the brand’s now signature tabbed grille. The D-segment sedan’s bold image is further accentuated by updated rear diffusers and a sweeping boot lid. There are also front LED positioning and fog lights, along with clear, newly designed LED rear lamps. Still unmistakably Optima K5, which is no bad thing.

Inside, pressing the US-spec Optima’s push start button brings two new displays to life: a 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster and optional high-resolution 8-inch navigation and telematics screen, featuring UVO eServices, an 8-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic.


In addition, the seat designs are new, while an optional new Blind Spot Detection system, which includes rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors, improve active safety. In America, the Optima is available in LX, EX, SX and SX-Limited trims; the latter stuffed with kit such as 18-inch wheels, HIDs, LED fog lamps, electronic parking brake and premium Nappa leather seats.

Two Theta II powerplants with gasoline direct injection are available – a 203 PS 2.4L GDI and a 278 PS 2.0L GDI turbo, in addition to a 2.4 litre hybrid powertrain, all paired to a six-speed automatic with Sportmatic. New for the 2014 Kia Optima, and exclusive to the sporty SX variant, is Drive Mode Select, which adjusts transmission shift points and steering weight, offering owners a customisable driving experience.