The midsized car market is probably the most competitive among the US auto industry. Every year a rotation of automakers substantially update or redesign their midsized vehicles with the goal of taking a chunk out of the segment dominated by the Toyota Camry. Kia has refreshed their stylish yet aging Optima for the 2014 model year.
Kia’s President and lead designer Peter Schreyer has revamped Kia’s generic styling that they were known for. Kia was remembered more for their 10 year/ 100,000 mile warranties than their actual vehicles a few years ago. Schreyer's leadership has helped form Kia into a trendsetting brand that is now being rivaled by other automotive companies. He is known a revolutionary designer; accredited for designing the original Audi TT and the VW New Beetle. He also deserves to be accredited for setting the direction of how to bring style, distinction, and expression into the midsized car market. Schreyer has aided the change of the landscape away from a variety of inexpensive vanilla styled midsized cars that have dominated the US market for decades. Under his direction cars like the 2011 Kia Optima and sister car Hyundai Sonata brought sophistication and sporty design to the masses. Although 2011 doesn’t seem long ago it is in this highly competitive segment. Both sedans have been sold in their current form since early 2010, and have aged gracefully since their introduction.
Over the last year Ford, Honda, Chevy, and Nissan have redesigned their midsized sedans; Chrysler is reading theirs for the new calendar year. Chevy has even mildly refreshed their 2014 Malibu despite a complete redesign of that car for the 2013 model year. The styling of the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord has stolen the attention & sales away from the Optima and Sonata this year. Kia isn’t going to sit on the sidelines and watch their midsized car sales get grabbed by the competition. So they did a slight nip/tuck to their top selling model for 2014.
Updates for the refreshed 2014 Kia Optima are:
- Redesigned front and rear fascias
- Redesigned positioning of the LED lamps
- Redesigned instrument cluster with larger 4.2-inch TFT LCD screen
- Interior enhancements including: brushed metal, black high gloss and chrome finishes
- Navigation system with 8-inch touch screen, telematics and HD radio
- Kia’s second-generation UVO with eServices
- Redesigned D-shaped leather wrapped steering wheel
- Blind Spot Detection System and rear parking sensors
- Keyless entry and smart key
- Added a new alloy wheel design
The mild refresh has brought the Optima in line with its new big brother the Kia Cadenza. The up-scale top of the line Optima Limited gets an array of LED fog lamps that mirrors the headlamps of Kia’s RWD luxury concept sedan the “K9” which evolved into the Quoris in outside markets (its rumored that Kia will bring the Quoris stateside in the near future). The refreshed 2014 Kia Optima starts at $21,500, which still includeds 10 year/100,000 mile warranty.
We’ll have to have to wait and see if Kia has done enough to update the 2014 Optima to maintain or gain sales in the tough midsized market.
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