Specific details and real photos will have to wait until closer to its formal debut at the New York Auto Show in April, but the Korean automaker has just released a first glimpse of the all-new 2011 Kia Optima, which goes on sale in its home market in May and will arrive at Kia dealers here in the fall.
Kia has confirmed that this new generation of its mid-size sedan is longer, lower and wider than the car it replaces, and has a longer wheelbase as well as more passenger and cargo space. If it follows the trend set by the 2011 Hyundai Sonata with which it shares basic platform architecture, that extra scale could see it transfer up into the full-size arena. Like other recent additions to its lineup, the new 2011 Kia Optima reflects the unmistakable influence of chief designer Peter Schreyer in its far more expressive exterior styling. While we suspect the production vehicle will have a slightly larger greenhouse area, the bold front and rear treatments presented in the preliminary sketches should carry over pretty closely.
Kia provided no insight into powertrain combos for the next-gen Optima lineup. However, we anticipate a good deal of commonality with the new Sonata will remain there, as well. If so, the new "corporate" 2.4-liter direct-injected Theta II inline-four is apt to be the 2011 Kia Optima's standard motivator with a 2.0-liter turbocharged version as an option as well as a gas/electric hybrid variant at some point. We'll keep you posted.