By on April 3, 2010

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36 Comments on “New York: Kia Optima And Sportage...”


  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    What’s with the Halloween Jacko’lantern front grille treatment?

    • 0 avatar
      porschespeed

      Perfect analogy.

      Now all we need is a few candles behind the grill…

      In fairness, it’s all been done before, so I do understand why people end up with weirdness like this. Trying to be original is a bitch…

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      You’re being harsh. It’s more of a bat.

      Other than that, I’ve got to hand it to Kia… some nice-looking products.

  • avatar
    mdwheary

    If they refined the buck-toothed grill, it would be a pretty nice looking car.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Is there some sort of Asian rule that cars have to sport a goofy grin? I’m sure the boys at Lincoln could give it the orthodontic treatment, though. And then they’d have a sure winner…

  • avatar

    The Optima successfully borrows cues from some much more expensive sedans. Proportions aren’t quite right, though.

    The Sportage is notably clean compared to the related Tucson.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    IMO Kia has really upped to design quailty of their cars to near top-of-the-class…I find the Optima one of the best looking mid-priced/mid-sized sedans out there. Sexy, with a VW meets Saab vibe about it, and most likely, far better reliabilty than if it wore either of those badges.

    And the Sportage is hip and attractive, and doesn’t look like a cross between an angry warthog and a clown’s shoe…like the Juke.

    Kia/Hyundai continues the winning formula…Toyota, Honda (and Ford and VW) better be on the lookout.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Kia and “sexy” don’t even live in the same hemisphere, let alone neighborhood, SFDennis.

    • 0 avatar
      sfdennis1

      @ General Malaise
      Dude, my eyeballs are working perfectly, and Kia has really upped their design game…do you prefer the looks of a Camry? Or a humpback Passat or an eyesore Sebring? To my eyes, this is one of the better looking affordable mid-sizers…and joins the Fusion Sport and Malibu LTZ (with 18″ wheels) at the, yes, ‘sexy’ end of the mainstream market.

      To each their own I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      When it comes to Hyundai/Kia they can do nothing right by some people — if the elements of their new designs are appealing and mainstream, they’re called “derivative”, while any fresh/unusual elements to try to differentiate themselves are called “weird”.

      I’ve seen the new Kia corporate grilles, and while I can’t say they’re like the most beautiful stying elements, “jack-o-lantern” never once entered my mind.

      And I would say that Kia’s styling cues are the least “smiley” and more aggressive than most Asian makes – I like the Sportage a lot, though I prefer the Tucson’s interior (with the two-tone treatment, because the “chromish” steering wheel doesn’t stand out as much).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      @GM

      So Peter Shreyer, widely regarded as one of the top auto designers, and the one who started the Bauhaus-influenced design language at Audi, as well as penning the Audi TT, suddenly lost his ability to design “sexy” cars just b/c he started working for Kia? lol!

  • avatar
    stuki

    Doesn’t the Optima strike anyone else as what the Buick version would look like, if Chevy built the Civic?

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    …and to add the Forte Koup is a looker as well…yeah, it’s a bit ‘cut-rate’ Audi A5-ish, but waay more attractive than the new Scion TC, or the existing Honda Civic Coupe…not to mention the evil clown Mazda3.

    Been a long-time Japensese buyer/fan, mostly Mazdas and Hondas, but Kia might be the next in my garage if longer-term reliabilty holds up…

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Forte Koup is a decent bargain, SFDennis, but let’s see how reliable it is over the next few years.

    • 0 avatar
      Tommy

      I took some shots of the Forte Koupe also, will try to submit some of those tonight.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Dude…If you live in rust country,do yourself a favour, compare a five year old Honda to a five year old Kia.

      The Honda will look better, {no rust} run better,and the Honda will be worth a whole lot more money.

      This is coming from TTAC’s longest surviving GM fan boy. If you have to buy an import, go with Honda.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      If you are comparing a 5 year old Honda vs a 5 year old Kia right now, I agree completely, the Honda will most likely be in better shape both cosmetically and mechanically.

      The big question for potential Kia customers though is how will a Kia bought today fare vs a Honda bought today. Both Kia and Hyundai have upped their game considerably regarding build quality and reliability, and the safe money is on today’s Kia looking better in 2015 than a 2005 Kia looks today.

      Also, resale value should not factor into car purchases. Cars are not an investment, except for extremely rare cases they lose value, and they lose a lot. Yes, a 5 year old Honda is worth more today than a 5 year old Kia, but 5 years ago someone paid a lot more money for that Honda than they did for the Kia. Everything balances out in the end.

    • 0 avatar
      davey49

      Mikey- completely bogus and wishful thinking. I’m looking at 2005 Kias on autotrader now and they all look perfect. There’s just less of them. The days of one automaker making significantly better cars over another is long over.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      @mikey

      I wouldn’t be too sure of that.

      Honda just issued a TSB about possible cracked engine blocks.

      http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/mechanical-problems-technical-chat/177034-08-044-cracked-engine-block.html

      Add that w/ Honda’s previous problem over blown ATs and Honda’s vaunted reliability doesn’t look so great anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Guys..Its your money,buy whatever floats your boat. With Toyota in sh–,everybody is looking for the perfect vehicle. Huyandai and Kia are the new kids in town.

      The Koreans have made some forward steps,but they are still pieces of sh–. Buy one if you must,but be prepared,to throw it away in about five or six years or 60,000 miles.

      I personally couldn’t give a f— ,cause it ain’t my money.

  • avatar
    Tommy Yoo

    I liked the Optima and Sportage, and Kia’s lineup is overall not that bad.

    However:

    The designs and proportions feel familiar in a weird deja-vu kind of way, and that should be no surprise seeing as how derivative the styles are. The Forte Koup feels like a strange amalgam of Honda Civics of the past five years. The Optima feels like a chewed in Camry/Accord love child. The Sportage too doesn’t stray too far from past CUVs before they were called CUVs.

    And none of this is all that bad, mind you – it’s just not achingly good either. But just like with Hyundai, price, warranty, and the fact it’s not one of the tired and true brands could be enough to see the brand through. Just as long as it doesn’t keep bumping heads with Hyundai. Overlap, overlap, overlap.

    Good thing the two Korean automakers’ displays were far apart (on different floors).

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Forte Koup has a Teutonic look – which makes sense considering that Schreyer is German.

      As for the Optima, it has similar downward sloping rectangular headlights as the Ford Fusion, Saab 9-3 and Lexus RX – but it, as well as the new Sportage, take their headlight design cues from the Kia Kue concept (dating back to 2006) which predates the Fusion, 9-3 and RX.

  • avatar
    davey49

    The new Kias have “Bangle hood” or “Bangle bonnet” it seems like
    with the seam on the side and the center bulged up

  • avatar
    brazuca

    This car has striking good looks and even better than the new Sonata which I also like a lot. I’ll need a new family sedan in July / August and KIA-Hyundai will be on my short list (Accord / Fusion) are the other two. I indeed believe that KIA-Hyundai moved away from the ’80s stigma and will gain significant market share.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    I like them both. They look a lot cleaner and don’t have a lot of cheap styling gimmicks. I think these designs will age well. I also appreciate the steps they are taking to differentiate Kias from Hyundais, developing the respective brands. They’re doing much better at this than Ford has done with Ford/Lincoln/Mercury. And I’m a Ford guy.

    Compare the style of these to some of the offerings from Honda, Toyota, or Nissan, and IMHO, they have winners here. Depending on the specs, the Sportage might be a contender for my next car.

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    That optima is really good looking! Better looks than the sonata, looks more upscale. The other simili-truck….meeeeh, i guess for suburb and walmart crowd….

  • avatar
    Geo. Levecque

    the Kia brand in the United Kingdom is known for “Rust”, they have to be at the bottom of the heap after a number of years and I agree with Mikey living in a Winter world of Salted Roads, you have to look further that current appearances would indicate! Also Kia is relative unknown to most people here in Ontario or at least in my area and despite how Hyundai has thrown money at, Kia still has a long way to go versus Honda and Toyota, besides I would never purchase a Korean vehicle as they don’t manufacture them here in Canada!

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      I admire a fellow Canuck who only buys locally-manufactured products. It must be tough going through life without a refrigerator, television, clothing, or food during the winter.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Just give me my smoked meats and Molson, eh.

    • 0 avatar
      rockit

      I admire a fellow Canuck who only buys locally-manufactured products. It must be tough going through life without a refrigerator, television, clothing, or food during the winter.

      You dare question a Hyundai??? Hyundai fanboys attack!!

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I attended media days at the auto show myself. And, I have to say, perhaps the only non-supercars that prompted an emotional response from me this year were on the Kia stand.

    It’s clear that not all find the new Optima as attractive as I do. But, for me, there is no question: If the car works as well as the new Sonata, then the Kia is the car to have. The new Optima – at least the silver one I saw in person (and pictured in this report) – looks like it should have a name like Lagonda instead of Kia on it.

    I also have to say that I like the new Forte five-door. Sure, it’s a restyle/rebadge of the Elantra Touring. But I like the Kia’s looks a lot more. What’s more, the Kia will offer the 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed manual transmission. To me, the new car could be strong competition for the Mazda3 hatch. The Elantra Touring, limited to a 2-liter engine with 138-hp, comes up a bit short against the Mazda.

    In fact, I also prefer the styling of the new Sportage over the new Tucson. Styling is a matter of personal preference, of course, but I think the new Kia’s look particularly good these days. I wouldn’t have a problem buying a Kia these days. My wife still loves her problem-free 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. And I’m sure a 2011 Kia is as good as – or better than – a 2002 Hyundai.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    The Forte, Soul, and Sorento all look great, but I can’t get over the grille on this car.

  • avatar
    srogers

    I get so tired of the “derivative Korean styling” parrots. Kia has hired one of the world’s great designers, Peter Schreyer, and is producing fine looking cars.

    Give your heads a shake and leave the past behind, or least tell me which competitors are making cars that are so much more original and attractive than Kia.


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