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Refined, Not Reimagined: 2016 Kia Optima Debuts in New York

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/2/2015 motortrendauthor
Refined, Not Reimagined: 2016 Kia Optima Debuts in New York 2016-Kia-Optima-front-three-quarter-in-motion2© Provided by MotorTrend 2016-Kia-Optima-front-three-quarter-in-motion2

Kia's best-selling vehicle for the last three years is also one of its most attractive as well, and with the 2016 Optima's 2015 New York auto show debut, it's clear that won't really change. Refined instead of reimagined compared to the last-generation midsize sedan, the 2016 Optima is clearly visually linked to its predecessor, which debuted five years ago in New York.The 2016 Optima's most noticeable styling change is the addition of a rear quarter window behind the rear side doors. The extra window, which we're still getting used to, visually lengthens the car, which impresses in SXL form with its quilted Nappa leather seats that can now be finished in merlot and a dark aubergine. Overall, the Optima SXL (a U.S.-only trim) is still a surprisingly upscale package for a midsize car, but probably won't worry luxury-car brands. Still, from the SXL badge on the steering wheel to the healthy list of features (electronic parking brake with auto-hold, active safety tech, a multi-camera parking system, heated/cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, and more), it could be a compelling package for those who aren't necessarily after class-leading 0-60 mph times, as the latest Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata models we've track-tested underperformed in a straight line.The Kia Optima Revealed Before New York Auto Show" target="_blank">2016 Optima also lacks great rear visibility, but we're guessing few outgoing-Optima owners would trade the bold styling for better rear visibility. Considering we found the new-to-the-Optima 178-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 and its seven-speed dual-clutch in need of refinement, we're eager to test out the 2016 Optima LX with that powertrain combo, which Kia says will get "nearly 40 mpg." In the Hyundai Sonata First Drive" target="_blank">2015 Sonata, the powertrain is good for an EPA-rated 28/38 mpg city/highway."The ambitious have flocked to New York for generations," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing, at Kia's press conference. "And Kia is certainly ambitious."If you liked the last Optima, you'll probably like the new one. Considering the restyled 2016 Chevrolet Malibu as well as the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200, though, the Optima has some competition when it comes to boldly designed midsize sedans. Which of those four-doors do you find most attractive?For all the latest 2015 New York auto show news and photos, stick with Motor Trend.

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