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William Maley

2012 Kia Optima EX

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

July 23, 2012

Question: What is the second oldest nameplate in Kia's lineup? If you said the Sportage, you would be wrong. That happens to be the oldest nameplate. The answer is a tie between Kia's smallest and largest sedans: the Rio and Optima. For the time being we're going to focusing on the latter.

Introduced back in 2000, the Optima was met with... well.. zero fanfare. If you told someone that you just bought a Kia Optima, they would look at quizzically and say "A What!" The only way you would know the Optima existed beside passing you're nearest Kia dealership was when you picked up one from car rental place for your vacation.

In fact, in 2011, the 2000 - 2006 Kia Optima was the subject of a

about a ficticious car company that tried to come up with the most nondescript, boring car they could. The result was a car called the Mediocrity, a very thinly disguised 2001 Optima. But in that same year, Kia unveiled the new Optima. The sleek styling and commercial campaign made everyone stand up and take notice. Also, it put Subaru on notice as to who they’re dealing with.

Has this coming out work for the new Optima? And more importantly, Can the Optima vie for the title of the best midsize sedan?

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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like the style of the writeups. Sounds like a good car, the Sonatas are nice. I think the big question is still long term durability on the Hyundai Kia recent products...

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I have to say that the grill is a knock off of the BMW, the headlamps scream Honda to me and the dash screams Subaru.

Does Hyundai /Kia have any of their own DNA / Style trends or is it just copy bits and pieces from other car companies?

Over all long term reliability and Resell value along with them finding their own style is their biggest challenges.

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Gotta say, it's going to give many cars a run for their money..

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like the style of the writeups. Sounds like a good car, the Sonatas are nice. I think the big question is still long term durability on the Hyundai Kia recent products...

And if the long term durability is good, they will get repeat business and positive press. They are on fire even with no track record, imagine what they will do with 10-20 years of a solid reputation. Honda and Toyota must be nervous.

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Honda and Toyota are not on their A or B game even it seems most of the time now.

Here is where Honda does seem to get it right yet...the new CRV as milquetoast as it is, is right on target. The new RDX is a major successful market correction. The ILX is a partial hit....a legitmately nice car that is basically a Cimarron Civic.

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I came back to look at this again... that interior still looks about as close as you can get to an Audi without buying the real thing.

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