Take a look at "Drive...He Said's" recent entry in response to "Drive, She Said's" selection of the 2011 Dodge Durango as having easiest to see and use driver's door side-mirror controller button.
Our award for winning side-mirror controller goes to the 2011 Kia Optima EX mid-size sedan. Kia even goes so far to set the left-right mirror selector within the center of the controller. So intuitive. And very elegantly framed by panel of charcoal-gray colored wood trim.
What about the rest of the 2011 Kia Optima EX......?
1) No, the GDI nomenclature on our 2011 Kia Optima doesn't mean a diesel engine resides under the bonnet (hood). Instead, GDI stands for "Gasoline Direct Injection"- in this case an inline 4 cylinder mill which makes a class leading 200 hp / 186 ft lbs of twist. With a six-speed manu-matic transmission in manual mode passing is a cinch if not overly urgent. Yet we achieved 32 miles per gallon of fuel in the burbs and on the freeway and 22 mpg in congested city slogging.
2) Yes, this is the sister car to the Hyundai Sonata. With the 2011 Kia Optima think more square-jawed than free-flowing curves, which in our mind should have more styling staying power. With fender port-holes not found on the Sonata, it's as if Kia has emerged from the shadow cast by Hyundai.
3) The 2011 Kia Optima EX still stands for a tremendous new car bargain to wit:
For an as-tested price of $27,000, there is a now a mid-size family car sold in America with touch screen navigation, back-up camera, glass roof, keyless ignition, perforated and stitched leather seating and trim even on the dash, front and rear seats featuring heating and cooling, driver's seat with memory. The filled laundry list goes on with Bluetooth for phone and streaming audio, a built in I-pod adapter, a dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink. Audiophiles are treated to an Infinity sound system which gives vibrance to the strings on Bach's Concerto No. 2 for Violin in E.
We wonder if Tata, maker of the 150,000 Indian rupee ($3000) Nano, could sell such a well contented car so inexpensively priced.
4) It is "princely" if in a Korean, if not Teutonic interpretation:
The Kia Optima's two-tone interior with some chrome-work and that glass-roof with dual shades imparts an elegance and airiness not found in many cars twice the price. A commodious trunk will hold three full size suitcases and a couple of other bags, while the split rear seat has a pass-through feature. As for human cargo, six footers can stretch out back in comfort.
Concessions which keep the price down in the 2011 Kia Optima EX:
-The brake pedal tends towards the comatose, there is a fair amount of body roll, (though the well bolstered seats keep occupants in place) and steering effort is high, if precise.
-More road noise finds invades the cabin than in your run-of-the-mill Lexus and even some pretty basic Mazdas. Part of the noise comes from an engine which can sounds somewhat raucous under load yet which is fairly quiet at idle. No fancy-pants metal rocker panel inlay nor any illuminated Kia logo to be stepped with dirty shoes in our Optima EX.
Will the new for 2011 Kia Optima be popular outside Hertz / Avis / Budget / Enterprise / Alamo / Dollar fleets?
Past versions of the Optima were more or less relegated to car rental fleets, in which instances many rental customers would exercise their upgrade options.With the redesigned 2011 Kia Optima EX car rental customers should only be so lucky to land one on their next vacation or business trip.