Design & Technology / Product
The Next Level of Kia´s Design Revolution: All-new Optima July 26th, 2010
By Kia Design Center
Exterior Design Story
These are exciting times to be a member of the Kia Design Team. We have the opportunity to shape our brand through the creation of outstanding design statements with many new projects in succession, with the rapidly changing global awareness of Kia.
We set our internal benchmark for design quite high. Our recently launched products like Sorento, Cadenza, Venga and Sportage are already emotional “must have” products with strong global appeal; they demonstrate Kia´s amazing transformation towards being a design driven brand. These cars are strong statements of Kia´s holistic design approach and of our increasing focus on design and feedback integration. To go forward in this new direction, we rely heavily on comments from the media, consumer groups and our customers to make better products for Kia´s future.
In this regard, it was clear that the Optima/Magentis successor must again raise the bar to a higher level. With the new Optima, we have created a product that people previously would not have expected from Kia and that’s exactly what we set out to achieve!
When we started working on the all-new Optima, we created a ‘mood wall’ with images of inspiring cars. This ‘wall of fame’ consisted not of cars which most of our customers would have in their minds when dreaming of midsize sedans, but rather of inspiring cars which have set the benchmark in automotive design.
From the beginning it was our clear intention to design an outstanding car that would influence the future mood walls of other design studios.
Our Optima is more than one step ahead of the car it replaces – it’s a clean sheet design that owes nothing to its predecessor. In every detail you will recognize our bold declaration of intent. This has not been achieved through gimmicky or gauche styling cues but rather through the balance of its muscular proportions and the elegant simplicity of its raked roofline.
The result of our design approach is a car that radiates self-assurance and confidence from every angle. Key to achieving the Optima’s athletic stance was making it significantly lower, wider and sitting on a longer wheelbase than its predecessor. The visual muscularity is reinforced by its high and pronounced shoulders, boldly flared wheel arches and a shallow glasshouse.
Optima’s coupe-like profile is further enhanced by the sweeping chrome arc that flows from the A to the C pillar. This bold design motif visually lowers the car and enhances its ‘cab-back’ proportions.
We gave the new Optima a striking new interpretation of Kia’s ‘tiger’ family face. Flanked by piercing projector headlamps, both grille and lights are set into a glossy black band that runs across the car’s front.
The result is a confident look and immediately identifiable as a Kia on first sight. The broad shoulder line that runs along the car’s cleanly sculpted flanks flows seamlessly from the headlamps at the front into the distinctive rear lights.
The Optima also draws on Kia’s current design direction – like the new Sportage, the Optima features castellations along the leading edge of its windscreen, and its body side vents form a bold visual link with those on the award-winning Soul.
Our entire team is proud of the new car’s presence, proportion and flair, and we are sure that our new Optima will soon appear on the ‘mood walls’ of other automotive design studios around the world!