2011 Optima EX

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Thread: 2011 Optima EX

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
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    2011 Optima EX

    Drove one yesterday. I'd been meaning to for a while, but the final straw was a $25 gift card offer I saw. Maybe here.

    Local dealer moves them as fast as they come in. He had five on the lot, one already sold and the others LX or EX.
    He hasn't seen a turbo yet.

    The sold one was a beautiful dark cherry.

    Inside, the 3-gauge pod was clear and logical. The EX and above have a proximity key (unavailable on LX) and pushbutton start. I can see how this could easily become addictive and a "need," like cell phones, remote starts, and other modern conveniences unimagined 30 years ago.

    The radio and temp controls are reasonably simple and straightforward. Dual zone automatic-temp is standard on EX and above, available in a $2000 package including nav and rear cam in LX.

    EX has power leather seats, LX has fabric with manual controls. Seats are comfy with no funny spots (unlike like the 98 Intrigue had, standard ridge in the small of the back). Like a good seat, you don't notice them. Adjustment controls, as they say in the car mags, fall easily to hand.

    Car starts right up with the ease of pushing a button! Big mirrors, the gunslit back window is...well, it's small. Big side mirrors compensate to a degree.

    The ride is bumpy, a tad stiffer than our GP GXP which is on the high-performance side. This didn't bother me on our short test drive. I'd have to see how it works out over the course of 400-mile days.
    Steering and braking feel right. Firm, direct. Of note to the left-foot-brakers in the studio audience, the brake pedal is very nicely positioned for Mr. Lefty. Not all are.

    The powerplant is smooth and unobtrusive, as is the 6-speed trannie. Shifter is a simple PRND with manual control alongside.
    I don't like the parking brake, it's a floor unit ala` US-American big car. I much prefer a hand brake next to the shifter. Whatever.

    Power feels even and more than adequate upon flooring it in 2nd gear. It shifts out at 60 @WFO, and though not of GXP-class, I'm sure it's comfortably under 8 in the 0-60 run.

    This is a nice car that seems to do everything well. An 18.5 gallon fuel tank and 34 highway ranking give you a tactical range approaching 600 miles.
    Given a likelihood of 35 or more possible highway MPG, that's comparable to my 1999 VW Golf TDi which ran about 42-45 on the road.

    Standard 16" LX wheels carry 205.65.16 rubber; EX 17" 215.55.17; and the SX turbo run 245.45.18.

    This EX with no options stickered about $23,300 including delivery.
    An LX with the tech [2Gs] package (dual zone, me want; nav, me no want) runs about $24,300. I usually prefer cloth upholstery, and LX is the only one here with cloth. I can live without heated or power seats.
    An EX turbo is $25,300 option-free. You can go up from there, to approach 30 grand if you like.
    Per KIA's website, all the non-turbo models weigh about 3223 lb. and the turbos weigh 3385.

    Again per the KIA site, there are three $500-off gigs.
    a. Competitor. That means if you own something non-KIA, you should qualifty for 500 bux off.
    b. KIA-owner. If you own a KIA, you should qualify for 500 bux off.
    c. Military. Active duty only. Well if that ain't discrimination I don't know what is. With both of us retired mil, they should fudge this a bit, yes? That means that if I negotiated a grand off the no-options $23,300 EX sticker, and another $1500 from "offers," $20,800 should be a reasonable target price.
    Since I doubt they will, let's say in my situation (negotiate $1000 off sticker, plus two $500 March-only offers) and the cars I'd choose:
    $21,300 for no-options EX.
    $22,300 for LX with dual zone and other toys.
    $23,300 for a no-options EX turbo.

    Don't forget the 5/60 B-B and 10/100 powertrain warranties. Me like.

    The trunk is 15+ cu. ft., it has a real (donut) spare, not a $5 can of goop, and the doors and trunk close with solid thunks that my Grand Prix would blush at, if cars could hear and feel.

    Suppose I'll have to drive a Malibu now. Oh yes, and a Sonata, again.
    I like the way the Optimas are packaged better than the Sonatas. It's easier to option out a less-costly Optima than a Sonata.

    Let's see how the 'bu stacks up.

    KIA really should use the theme and pay royalties from "The Jeffersons" theme song in one of their excellent ads. They really are moovin on up.
    http://www.tvland.com/video-clips/je...ons-theme-song

    Very well done, KIA. The salesman said, in talking with one of the managers, 10 years ago a KIA franchise was about the last thing he wanted. Today, it's the first thing.
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 03-13-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Sounds quite impressive for the price. I've seen a bunch of them out on the road and they look very nice, not sure I like the corporate grill but overall it looks great. I agree once you've used push button start, with proximity, it's a definite convenience that people who haven't used it just don't seem to get.

    How was the handling and steering precision compared to the Sonata? Since the Optima rides a little rougher is that sacrifice made up in tighter handling or better steering feel.

    Interesting that they put such a big tank on a 4 cylinder car, I like it.

    Thanks for the review.

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Good review. I saw the new Optima on the road and thought it was very attractive -- but could never see myself owning a KIA.

    What's road noise like? My previous experiences w/ Hyundai and KIAs (especially the Elantra and Forte) is that road noise is very prominent and hard plastics galore.

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Thank you, gennlmens.

    It's been a few months since I drove a Sonata. Might get into one soon, though.

    I didn't notice road noise, and I do in my Spectra, so like a good seat if I don't notice it I presume it's not an issue.

    I couldn't see myself owning a KIA either, until I drove one in March 2008. Prior to that, they'd been punchlines to car jokes. As in (to a Lexus or MB owner) hey, how do you like your KIA?.
    But our Spectra is a great little car, it's actually more fun to drive (especially after the 19.2mm rear anti-roll bar install) than the GP in many ways.
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 03-13-2011 at 06:06 PM.
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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Nice review.

    I was just at the state auto show today for the second time and both times I think I spent the most time in the Hyundai and Kia areas, lol. The Optima is very impressive. They had a gorgeous blue SX fully loaded. For 30,800 USD you get nice nav infotainment, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, panoramic roof, turbo-4 with 34 highway and 274 horsepower, and so on.

    It's really a great car, and THEN when you factor in the price it's something of a winner. I haven't driven one, though.

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    I'm not up-to-date on pricing in this segment. It actually sounds pricey, all things considered. But it does sound very nice. Good write up.

    The list of interest piquing alternatives to the General's lineup grows longer every day.

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Quote Originally Posted by 2648562 View Post
    I'm not up-to-date on pricing in this segment. It actually sounds pricey, all things considered. But it does sound very nice. Good write up.

    The list of interest piquing alternatives to the General's lineup grows longer every day.
    Most of the competitors cost about as much or more and can't match its content. Not very pricey IMO then, and you can buy them cheaper and very well equipped as others are saying (leather and alloys with other goodies for less than 23K).

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Does this mill use a timing belt or chain?

    Car and Driver short take, 2011 Optima EX:

    ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection


    Displacement: 144 cu in, 2360 cc
    *Power (SAE net): 200 bhp @ 6300 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 186 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm


    TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting


    DIMENSIONS:
    Wheelbase: 110.0 in Length: 190.7 in
    Width: 72.1 in Height: 57.3 in
    Curb weight: 3336 lb


    C/D TEST RESULTS:
    Zero to 60 mph: 7.8 sec
    Zero to 100 mph: 21.4 sec
    Zero to 120 mph: 38.2 sec
    Street start, 5–60 mph: 8.2 sec
    Standing ¼-mile: 16.2 sec @ 89 mph
    Top speed (drag limited): 132 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 186 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.80 g

    * I remember when one HP per cubic inch was considered excellent output.

    CAR AND DRIVER short take, 2011 Sonata 2.0T:

    VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan


    PRICE AS TESTED: $27,465 (base price: $24,865)


    ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection


    Displacement: 122 cu in, 1998 cc
    Power (SAE net): 274 bhp @ 6000 rpm
    Torque (SAE net): 269 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm


    TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting


    DIMENSIONS:
    Wheelbase: 110.0 in Length: 189.8 in
    Width: 72.2 in Height: 57.9 in
    Curb weight: 3443 lb


    C/D TEST RESULTS:
    Zero to 60 mph: 6.2 sec
    Zero to 100 mph: 15.1 sec
    Street start, 5–60 mph: 6.7 sec
    Standing ¼-mile: 14.7 sec @ 99 mph
    Top speed (governor limited): 153 mph
    Braking, 70–0 mph: 180 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.79 g
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 03-14-2011 at 02:22 AM.
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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    I'm sure a chain.

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Quote Originally Posted by big swede View Post
    I agree once you've used push button start, with proximity, it's a definite convenience that people who haven't used it just don't seem to get.
    People who haven't experienced push start and keyless entry don't know what they are missing.

    I, too, first thought "what's the big deal"? But it really is a nice convenience (can't ever see myself going back to digging in my pocket for the keys).

    Quote Originally Posted by DriveOne. View Post
    What's road noise like? My previous experiences w/ Hyundai and KIAs (especially the Elantra and Forte) is that road noise is very prominent and hard plastics galore.
    There is some road noise (H/K seems to have the knack for picking the noisiest OEM tires), but not as bad as in Hondas.

    As for the Optima's interior, I was nicely surprised. While I don't generally like the design of the dash/center stack, it is very nicely put together w/ nice materials (the feel and quality of the buttons is better than that in the Mercedes GLK) - and wouldn't look out of place in a lower-end Acura.

    The only thing I didn't really like was the leather-wrapped steering wheel, just too slick. Much preferred the resin steering wheel in the Sorento EX (nice and grippy).

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    The Sonata site is not quite as friendly as the Optima site.
    Here are a few differences that are important to me:

    Sonata: Performance suspension (18" wheels) standard/available on SE only.
    Dual zone auto air on SE 2.0t and LTD only. SE (NA & turbo) both have 18" wheels, LTD 17".
    No data on smart key in online specs.
    Interior volume 103.8; trunk 16.4. Curb wt. 3338.

    Optima: Performance suspension on SX only.
    Dual zone auto air std. on EX, SX, opt. on LX auto.
    LX=16", EX=17", SX=18" wheels.
    Smart key/button start EX, EX turbo, SX. LED taillights & projector headlights, SX only.
    Interior volume 102.2; trunk 15.4. Curb wt. 3385.
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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Gotta say I like the Optima better than the Sonata.

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    Re: 2011 Optima EX

    Nexen tires? What's that?

    Been playing with this in my head. Local guy has a white EX and a bronze LX. I prefer the bronze color. I like the dual zone in the EX. I like the beige cloth in the LX.
    I'm thinking this might be a good time to trade the GXP while it still has pretty decent value.

    EX: dual zone, rear vents, proximity key, heated mirrors, fog lights, compass/autodim inside RVM, 215.55.17" Nexen CP671 tires. I'd probably replace these with same-size Conti Extreme DWS. Unless somehow the Nexens turned out to be good tires, which I strongly doubt.

    LX: $1900 less, cloth, 205.65.16 Nexen CP671, which I'd probably replace with General Altimax HP 225.60.16. Yes, same OD and weight.

    Random thoughts welcome.
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