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May 17, 2013

Kia Optima is a hit with the buying public

(Continued)

Parked at the curb, the Optima takes on an aggressive look with the addition of large red brake calipers on each of its 18-inch chrome wheels, a Limited package option.

Stitched material gives the steering wheel and seats a distinguished look and feel with Nappa leather used throughout. While the console and door trim displayed some soft materials here and there, hard plastics seemed to be overused in an otherwise elegant interior.

Kia engineers put some careful thought into the layout of its gauge cluster, recessing the panel a full three inches to shade the readouts from sunlight. The mix of high tech touch controls with knobs and buttons strikes a healthy mix with dual climate control knobs easily accessible at center console.

A graphic display above climate controls shows current settings of air directional flow throughout the cabin on a seven-inch screen. The same screen illuminates radio settings, navigation maps, phone, backup camera and auxiliary audio from your favorite device.    

While not perfect, the Optima has enough refinement to satisfy the checklist of many families' needs. If you happen to add the heated and cooled ventilated seat option, however, the controls are blind from the driver's position while in gear.

Overall, the Optima is a must drive if you are in the family sedan market. It is sure to impress.

Len Ingrassia is an automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at editor@ptd.net.

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