Design & Technology / Product

Optima design story: Interior August 10th, 2010

By now, most of the world has become aware of our newest sport sedan, and we are proud to share with you some of the story behind its creative process!

With each new Design project comes a new goal and Kia was determined that this new Optima was going to be very aggressive, youthful and sporty.

Immediately, we felt very confident that an “aircraft cockpit” inspired theme was the perfect solution for this new interior. This idea was share with great enthusiasm by the Interior Manager and the rest of the design team, as we felt it would help us craft a hands-on “totally-engaged with the machine” experience for the driver , so I began to sketch around this idea.

Every new project is always different from the last. However, the art of creating an automotive interior is a very fluid process; and as a designer I must be able to approach each new project with an open mind about how to make the very best design utilizing the all the tools available.

Sometimes a 2-D sketch, is not always enough. A designer sometimes must also “sketch over the clay,” even before a theme is chosen, to make sure his or her intuitive ideas will work in the real world.

Spacious, concise, comfortable and sporty are words that can be used to describe Optima’s interior. The center fascia is designed to tilt 9.6 degrees toward the driver for maximum convenience, and to convey the feeling that the driver and car move as one. The display and controls are aligned with the driver’s line of vision for greater visibility and ease of use.

The air vent and 3-cylinder vision cluster are grouped together to lend a unique and high-end feel. The door trim employs an armrest with integrated speakers for maximum convenience and storage space, not to mention a simple and sophisticated image. The boot-type AT knob and fold-type cup holder cover adds to its luxuriousness. Meanwhile, the higher console enhances athletic styling.

Diverse driving data are relayed to drivers in graphic form via the TFT LCD Supervision Cluster. The cluster layout offers increased visibility and a futuristic feel. The mood lighting installed in the lower part of the door and center fascia lends an air of sophistication and spaciousness. The spot lighting of the overhead console provides illumination at night for added convenience and functionality.

The ergonomic seat features good side-bolster support, keeping the driver’s upper body in place during sporty driving.

Optima aims to upgrade people’s perceptions of mid-sized sedans, deliver enhanced driving pleasure and safety, while solidifying its position as a main model in Kia’s portfolio.

We are definitely excited and proud to have helped make the Optima interior a reality — and we hope you get a chance to drive one to discover the “driver experience” that we envisioned!

Until next time…

  • Pingback: A look at the new 2011 KIA Optima. - Page 3 - Kia Forum()

  • jtz

    That’s what I like, when designing the interior, you guys didn’t think about the K7, Forte, Mohave, 11′ Sorento or Sportage. You guys that about the Optima. Something sporty. Unlike buick and chevy with the LaCross, Regal and the Cruze’s interiors all looking alike. Does the K7’s interior look like the K5’s? Does the Sportages interior look like the Forte’s? Does the K5’s interior look like the Mohave or Soul’s? Does the Venga’s interior look like the Cee’d’s? Does the Cee’d’s interior look like the Forte’s? I can’t talk about the new Rio or that rumoured RWD sedan yet because I haven’t seen them yer or spy shots. Infact, the Kue, KND-4, Kee, Soul, Soul’ster, Ray ALL have different interiors as well. They all are coupe like and yet they don’t look alike…. and yet thye do. They all have their own interior designs. And remember how I said that each Kia’s exterior is different yet it’s the same. Will don’t get it twisted, each new Kia’s interior also has a related concept. That concept first arrived in the Kue and the Borrego was the first Kia in production to have it. That is the interior red lighting that is on the Kue, Soul, K7, K5, Borrego/Mohave, Forte, Venga, I have not seen the facelfited cee’ds interior but I bet it has red ligthing too. So like the new Kia’s exteriors, the interiors also have something in common and yet have a design that is just for that Kia model and nothing else. Is this amazing or what?

  • Dash

    How long til this car hit’s North America?

  • @Dash –> The Optima will become available in the US in the Fall of this year. Pricing and available options will become known a little closer to the launch of the car. If you would like to share what you would like to see on the car, please visit

    The all-new Optima will become available in Canada in early 2011 – Spring.

  • the really cool part of the site mentioned above is the configurator that allows you to build, equip, color and price the all-new 2011 Optima, well worth clicking and taking a looksie! ;)

  • Great interior and I loved customizing the vehicle on

  • Great interior!

  • raneem alhami


  • SPark

    hmm…I like the way they put the design while progressing.
    Current optima isn’t bad either but I hope they put at least the same 3-Dimensional
    steering wheel in the facelift.

  • Mongo8172

    What would have been a better idea for the interior lighting is to give the driver a way to switch to different colors beside red.