The Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima used to be mechanical brothers, and both variants were available here in Malaysia, with the latter offered by Naza Kia Sdn Bhd. The Hyundai Sonata has since been updated with an all-new model here in Malaysia first as a CBU and subsequently as a locally assembled CKD unit.
As for the Kia offering, the old Optima is still on sale, but looking at Naza Kia’s continuous efforts with the Kia brand here in Malaysia (the most recent being the introduction of a locally assembled Kia Sportage), we are poised to see the new Kia Optima here very soon as a locally assembled model.
The new Kia Optima differs slightly from it’s Hyundai Sonata brother in the area of front suspension setup, where the Sonata uses a multilink setup while Kia uses a MacPherson strut setup at the front.
Engine options consist of a 145 PS inline-4, a 161 PS 2.4 litre inline-4 and a 185 PS 2.7 litre V6 mated to a 4-speed or 5-speed automatic transmission, with a 5-speed manual also available for those who prefer clutch action.
Kia has been emphasizing on the crash test results of the new Optima, which earned a 5-star rating in the NHTSA crash tests and a 4-star rating in the EuroNCAP crash test.
According to a dealer tip, unlike the Sonata which offers 2.0 and 2.4 litre variants, the Kia Optima will most likely be offered as a 2.0 litre inline-4 only, but will have two different trim levels – a standard one called EX with dual airbags, ABS, fabric seats, CD/MP3/USB audio and a higher spec model called EX “Special Package” with more goodies like a 6.1 Infinity sound system (4 speakers, 2 tweeters, 1 subwoofer) with a 420 watt external amplifier and a 6-CD in-dash changer, ESP stability control, 215/50R17 Michelin Pilot Premacy-wrapped 17″ wheels, powered driver’s seat, and suede/leather upholstery.
Both models will be available with a 4-speed auto gearbox, as the 5-speed units are only available for the 2.7 litre engine. Expect a classy black interior with real aluminium trim, similiar to the locally assembled Kia Sportage.
Have a look at more pics and videos after the jump.
Video: Kia Optima Promo
Video: Kia Optima Promo 2