By Mark Kleis
Wednesday, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 12:55 am
 
The Los Angeles Auto Show is yet to swing into full swing, with nearly all of the planned reveals yet to come - including the Optima Hybrid - but tonight we have an update on the 2011 Optima in the form of U.S. pricing.

Kia first officially unveiled the next Optima at the 2010 New York Auto Show, and Leftlane's own Mark Elias even reviewed the car, but no one knew what they would cost - until now. Pricing will begin at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $18,995 with a six-speed manual transmission and the base LX trim level.

The LX trim level comes standard with a healthy list of features, like AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SIRIUS satellite radio, power windows, power door locks, dual exhaust with chrome tips, a cooling glove box and auxiliary USB audio input jacks for connecting MP3 Players6 and Bluetooth7 wireless technology connectivity with steering-wheel mounted voice activation controls. Don't forget six standard air bags as well.

Opting for the simplicity of an automatic will bump the price to $20,495, but also adds alloy wheels, cruise control and Active Eco System to help monitor fuel economy.

If middle ground is your style, then the Optima EX starting at $22,495 may be the ticket for you. The EX adds to the LX's list of features with 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, leather trimmed seats, eaight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic temperature control, push-button start and auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink and compass.

For the big spender, the Optima Ex Turbo comes in at $24,495 and features a 274 horsepower GDI 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This powerful-yet-frugal engine is good for up to 34 miles on a single gallon of gas while cruising at freeway speeds. Of course, Kia also added larger front disc brakes, a unique grille and different wood and metal interior accent pieces as well.

Back to basics
The 2011 Optima is based on the same platform as the recently introduced Hyundai Sonata, and promises outstanding fuel economy and performance to go along with its stunning new look. Underhood, the Optima's powertrain offerings mirror that of the all-new Sonata.

That means buyers will be able to choose from a 200 horsepower 2.4-liter, a turbocharged 2.0-liter delivering 274 horsepower and 34 mpg, and a fuel-sipping hybrid system. Set to hit the market in 2011, the Optima Hybrid will mark the brand's first gas-electric model.

All-new design language
Designed at Kia's Frankfurt and Irvine, California studios, the Optima continues Kia's bold new styling direction. The 2011 Optima is lower, wider and longer than the current model, and also features a sleek, coupe-like roofline.

"The all-new Optima is a new strand in Ki's growing design DNA with a blend of simple and fluid lines and elegant but uncomplicated shapes that draw the attention of the eye in much the same fashion as a perfectly-tailored fine Italian suit," said Peter Schreyer, chief design officer, Kia Motors Corporation. "From the distinctive sweeping chrome accent that stretches through the C pillars to the sleek greenhouse and flared wheel arches, every inch of the Optima projects a distinguished and refined style and extreme attention to detail."

Be sure to check back all this week for live image updates of the Optima Hybrid straight from the Los Angeles Convention showroom floor.

Live images by Mark Elias