You've Come a Long Way - 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: You've Come a Long Way

October 18, 2011


When I first saw the current-generation Optima in the flesh, I was blown away. What's really impressive to me, though, is how far the model's design has progressed over the last decade. It's gone from bland to hurl-inducing and black to bland in a fairly short period. Click through to see what I mean.


2001: Honestly, if you took off the Kia badge, I'd struggle to identify this as anything but a "car."


2003: This was not a solution. Those inboard headlights are atrocious as is the grille that seems to have been inspired by the Deathmobile from Animal House. To compound matters, this is actually a flattering shot of this car. It's even more ungainly in person.


2005: The grille is gone, at least, but now it's heading back to bland.


2006: Blandsville achieved. This is as generic as the Optima got.


Finally, a hint of personality. But really, it just screams "rental car."

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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Past Long-Term Road Tests