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Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 Kia Optima

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2015-05-01 Kelly Pleskot
Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 Kia Optima

Kia completely reinvigorated the Optima's design for the third generation, and ever since then, the model has stood out among a sea of tame-looking midsize sedans by offering a younger, edgier look. Five years later, an all-new 2016 Kia Optima receives more design changes, but the question is: Does the new version do justice to its predecessor?

In truth, the Optima's design hasn't changed all that much from the previous generation. Compared to last year, the Optima is slightly longer, taller, and wider than the old version, but you likely won't notice. Some of the biggest changes happen up front, where the Optima sports a narrower tiger-nose grille. On upper-trim models, it is hot stamped and bears a pinpoint design that is intended to look like the K900. Vertical-oriented vents replace lighting just below the headlights.

2016 Kia Optima SXL © Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Kia Optima SXL

Take a peek at the side of the Optima, and both versions look almost identical. The Optima retains that same chrome strip that runs across the bottom of the doors on some models. The rear windows continue on with a raked design that provides the illusion of a coupe's body. A closer look at the back end reveals taillights that are now slimmer and swept back into the side of the car. Supplementary lighting is placed lower on the vehicle now, just above the exhaust tips rather than squarely in the middle of the car's rear end.

The interior also features subtle changes. Compared to the old Optima, which features a swooped dashboard, the 2016 version has a horizontal plane that connects one side of the vehicle to the other. Controls are simpler and cleaner, and the center console is slightly wider.

Do you think designers made the right changes on the Optima, or did you like it better before? Let us know in the comments below.

Last week, we looked at another model that has recently undergone subtle design changes: the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. Most of you who commented approved of the crossover's new look.

Nate Denny said, "A lesson in good design evolution; it has been enhanced and refined throughout, without losing its sense of identity - which is definitely refreshing!"

Batman echoed these sentiments, writing, "Refreshing. Metamorphosis from a cute 'lil grocery-getter to a manly 'lil grocery-getter."

But slowloris had a different opinion, saying the new Tucson looks like it "has [a] beaver facial expression and body."

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