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!

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

  • nuhu bappa

    Impressive…its a nice car kudos guyz!!!

  • jtz

    You know what amazes me about Kia’s designs now? Each Kia’s face from the Kue concept to the new Sportage, all have the same face, yet, each of them have their own character. Think about it:, The Sorento and Sportage look alike and yet, they have their own designs in the face like the headlights. The Sportage’s headlights are less horizantal than on the Sorento’s. The girlles are different and yet, they are the same. For example, both of the CUV’S have developed the design cue from the Kee concept showing the Tiger nose and yet, the grilles are differen. Unlike Mistubishi’s 2010 Outlander that is just a click and paste from the Lancer’s. The Optima’s face is different from the Sportage’s and yet they look alike. Same for the Cadenza when the LED’s are lit up. It too has the Kia signature face and yet, it is different from all the other Kia faces. I can go on forever. the Ray also has the family signature face and yet it too has it own design character. Same for the Forte and Koup

  • jtz

    While I’m talking about car designs. Take the Sorento SX and Forte Koup’s face. They too look alike yet have their own little character. Also, what also amazes me is each new Kia design each took a part of the Kia Kue’s design. Think about it. The Sportage took part from the Kue because of the greenhouse. The Optima also took part from the Kue. It’s almsot like the sedan version of the Kue. The Sorento sure it took part from the KND-4 concept however, the KND-4 its self came from the Kue. The KND-4’s bumper came from the Kue. So the Sorento’s design came from the Kue. And speacking of front bumper, the Optima’s front bumper has a animal like face that is found on the KND-4 and the Kue. Tha animal like face on the front bumper is also seen on the new Sportage. The Sorento SX’s front bumper also has this animal like face yet yeach Kia’s front bumper has its own little style

  • jtz

    And speaking of designs. Which really amazes me is that no Kia interior is totally the same from each other. For example, the K7’s interior doesn’t look like the Optima’s. But Buick on the other hand has lazy designers that has the LaCross and Regal’s interior looking alike. that’s easy to do. But coming up with different designs on the interiors is pretty hard to do I bet. The Sportage’s interior is different from the Sorento’s. The Forte’s interior is different from the Optima’s. The Soul’s interior is diffrent from the Venga’s. The Venga’s face looks like the other Kia’s and yet has its own front end. It also takes after the Kue just look at the greenhouse. The Ray concept’s interior is diffrent. I can go on and on about Kia’s designs.

  • jtz

    Last and not least. Hyundai’s designs and Kia’s desings. HKAG now does a better job differing their cars than GM and Toyota. For example, take a look at the Sonata and K5 (I like the K5 name better). They look less alike than the Camry and the Lexus ES. The Sorento and the Sante Fe look less alike than the Traverse, Accadia, Enclave and the Outlook. The Forte and next Elantra look less alike than the Sentra and Mazda 3 sedan as well as the Saturn Ion and they aren’t even a team.

  • jtz

    Lastly. Did you guys ever notice that Audi’s designs became popular ever since the word got out that Kia was getting the ex Audi designer? Think about it? Since when did the Toyota Tundra look like an Audi? Since when did the next Aveo look like the next Audi? Since when did the Lancer look like an Audi? Since when did the Outlander look like an Audi. since when did the new Mailibu look like an Audi? Since when did the Suzuki Kinishi concept look like an Audi? Since when did Honda CR-Z look like an Audi. Since when did the Acura MDX take the Audi’s taillights? Their is hundreds of more Audi wanna be cars out there but if I were to name them all, I would have to make a novel. Also, VW copied Kia now, take a look at the animal like face front bumper on the new boring face of the VW and tell me it didn’t come from the Kia Kue. I’m jtz have a nice day.

  • jtz

    Look at that animal like face, it looks like a wild cat just waiting to attack its prey. Stand back because if you get too close, the K5 just might roar.

  • derrious

    wow i didnt know your on the forums on here as well JTZ….true Kia player/..

  • jtz

    Also, did you guys notice another Kue developement found so far in the Sorento, K7, K5 and Sportage? It is the panaramic sunroof. The first Kia to have this was the 2005 Kia Mesa concept followed by the Multi S then the Soul. And fianlly the Kue. Even the cee’d concept had it as well as the Ray concept. This practice with Kia making skylights evolved so well with them that it is now available as a feature. The Sorento’s skylights are bigger than the GMC Accadias. The K7’s skylights are bigger than the LaCross’s. Another design coming from the Kue. All the new Kias have the same face…. and yet they are totally diffrent. Toyota tried this but they don’t do a good job at it. For example, take a look at the 2010 Avalon and the current Corolla. The headlights are the same. But the K7 and Forte’s headligts are not and yet they are. That has to be difficult to do.

  • jtz

    Did you guys notice the Koup came from the KND-4 too? Just look at their side profiles. So when the next Rio comes out, expect it to look like the rest of the Kia gang…. and yet be different in its on way. I don’t know why but I have the stranges feeling the Rio design is going to have a greenhouse I can’t quite explain. I’m thinking it will be a mix of at least 2 kia concepts. The Kue I’m pretty sure of but the other could be the Ray, KND-4 or even the Kee. Speaking of the Kee, you guys do realize it was the first Kia to have LED headlights. That’s why it is on the K7, K5 and the Sportage!!! Another Kia Cue design coming from one of their conepts.

  • jtz

    Do you guys know where the idea of the K5 and K7 having badges on their hoods came from? I’ll tell you the 2006 Kia Soul. Infact, if you look close at the Ray and the K5, their fronts are round and curvy just like the Soul…. YET, they have their own little cuts and curves becasue it has its own character…. unlike what Mazda is doing to each mazda model by clicking and pasting that’s easy to do. Those new bumpers with animal like faces is so aggressive looking. The Kue’s A pillars are found on the Sportage, Forte, K5, K7 and the Sorento.

  • jtz

    The Kue’s A pillars are also on the Kee, and Kia Ray concept as well. Specking of Kia Ray concept. Did you guys notice something completely different in its design other than the hood lighting up? By looking at it, you can tell the Ray plays two rolls for Kia. The first roll is to show the world it’s hybrid by the lithem battery. The second roll it plays is a new design language. Something that my be possible to put into production. It could be on so many cars like the Carens, Rio, Picanto or cee’d. And could even be a new design language for the Pro-cee’d as well. Also, expect more coupes coming from Kia. You know how I know, Look at all the concepts: Kue, KND-4, Kee, Koup, and Ray. You know what they all have in common? I’ll tell you, they are all coupe like concepts. Therefore, it tells me they are working on a design lanague for at least another coupe that may not just take after the Kee 100%. I have a feeling, they are making a Kee mixed with the Ray design. They are up to something I tell you. Just wait and watch.

  • jtz

    Now for the Borrego. Sure by looking at the face you see the Kia Mesa however the body style is from the Kia Multi S concept found on the new Rondo. Infact, if you look at the K5, and the K7’s D pillars, the front of those pillars slump up just like the Borrego and Multi-s’. What’s strange is that the Borrego also has gotten two design cues from the Kue. That is the Kue’s V8 engine as well as the red interior lighting. Therfore, this makes the Borrego the first Kia to have the red interior lighting after the Kue concept. Kia also helped designed the 2012 Ford Explorer, just look at the 2005 Kia Mesa’s roofline and look at the 2012 Explorer’s roofline.

  • jtz

    Speaking of 2012 Explorer, I can add this CUV to the traditional slanted C pillar list. Here is the list: Chevy Blazer, Honda Passport, 2005 Honda CR-V, 1st generation Lexus RX, 1st generation Saturn Vue, 1st generation Acura MDX, Izuzu Rodeo, Toyota 4Runner, 1st generation Chevy Equinox, 2nd generation Chevy Equinox, Mercedes M class, Ford Escape/Tribute and now the 2012 Ford Explorer and the 2012 redesigned Dodge Durango yet when the 2003 Kia Sorento arrived, blogs only said this was the copycat. That makes a total of 18 SUVs I listed.

  • jtz

    Opps, I forgot the new Saab 9-4X to add making 19!

  • @derrious –> Yup! jtz is a big fan of Kia’s! Are both of you on Facebook or Twitter? You can get updates through there, too.

  • JG

    Beautiful! This car is a work of art!

  • Very impressive! Such a sophisticated design.

  • jtz

    No sorry Pamela, I’m not on Facebook nor Twitter. I should since I’m a pretty big fan and all.

  • JC

    what peter is doing with kia,is one of the must amazing performance,with all the beatyfull designs,that he is doing with kia,the price of this vehicles is amazing what you get for your money.Gogogogogogogogogogo Kia

  • BernardP

    What Peter Schreyer has brought to Kia that most non-luxury automakers lack is a sense of design unity. Other popular japanese brands are still launching all-new vehicles that look like they have been slapped together with leftover parts.

  • @BernardP –> Ouch! But thanks for the compliment on our Ka designs! Our design team, led by Mr. Schreyer, has definately brought our brand image up over the last few years. We’re definately excited about the direction Kia is heading. Thanks for being a fan. Are you currently a Kia driver?

  • farah

    kia buzz

  • farah ryad zaki soudi

    Kia Optima

  • mike

    i loooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee the new optima.brilliant design

  • Andrea

    Lovely vehicle. Very well designed. I hope by the time it hits the South Africa market, the issue with the seats is addressed. Hard to believe that the two vehicles at the top of my shopping list are both KIAs in the Optima and/or the Sportage. You guys are doing a fantastic job.

  • digiNuck

    I had a really good look at the new Optima at the NAIAS today and I have to say that I was floored. The level of craftsmanship in the interior and how great the exterior looked was just absolutely fantastic and unexpected in a Kia. If this car drives even half as well as it looks, it will definitely be in my driveway in the fall.

  • Jonjo1

    an absolutely stunning car!

    it will definitely make me consider the optima on my next car purchase this year!

  • Moh338

    Wounderfill Car

  • BlazingSwordofTruth

    the new optima is absolutely beautiful. it has the flowing lines of a modern jaguar combined with the chiseled, no nonsense ethos of a german sports sedan. those side vents and tail lights could easily have come from an aston-martin and taken together, they give the optima the look of a german high-performance sedan. if it’s built as good as it looks, you’ve got a real breakout vehicle on your hands. congratulations on a truly lovely design

  • likes to drive

    I really like your new vehical, but I do have a sugestion to make. All car companies slide in a MT into their lowest grade of each car. I want the goodies that come with upgraded versions but with a MT as well because they are a much more fun way to drive, but if you want the fun factor of a MT you have to give up all the the goodies of the upgraded levels. Would it be possible to have your engeneering team make all the connecting points on the engine, in car stick and back axil the same on both the MT and AT so that they are easily swaped in and out of various models and/or level upgrades? Why don’t you give this problem to your enegeneers and see what they can come up with.

  • MVA1

    I agree with Likes to Drive. This is the first time that I’m looking at a KIA in part because I can’t find a vehicle that I prefer matched to a manual transmission. If the New Optima MT could be matched up with an upgraded level with all of the goodies, I would buy the vehicle in a heart beat

  • Anonymous

    My wife and I had the opportunity to be among the first to testdrive the new Optima EX+ Nav demo in St. Catharines, Ontario yesterday – and I must say it was one of the nicest vehicles I’ve had the pleasure of driving. We absolutely love the body styling and all the features (especially the dual sunroof option). The 2.4L engine @ 200HP felt very capable and provided lots of acceleration when needed. My wife already owns a Forte and I drive an ’04 Sedona (which I still really love) – but I’m looking forward to picking up an Optima the moment the dealership has them on the lot. Congrats to Kia for a superb design job – you’ve really outdone yourself with the Optima.

  • Dfsdgrt


  • ChicoJuan

    i have one question? Kia has upped their game in the exterior styling of the optima and interior of this vehicle too. i would have to say the car looks nice inside and out but under the hood does it lack a problem like most of Koreans engines do or has Kia/Hyundai changed the engine concept and improved on it in order to avoid the reputation of Korean engines ???

  • thisisshane

    Stunning design! I want this car…

  • zan


  • Hab

    I would lover to know more about Kia’s  reliability

  • Adeelbaba

    Last day,I had a chance to take a test drive of Optima…I am so impressed with this car that i made the decision to sell my camry and go with this…lets see when I get my Optima.Good Job Kia Motors.

  • Pang

    I first saw it last week when I travelled to korea. It just fantastic. The most beautiful car in Korea!!! But it’s out of my budget >.<

  • Bob Wiebe

    Kia: As opposed to Derek of Calgary, I am not in favour of remote starters on any vehicles. They waste fuel and contribute to our global pollution problems. I live in a cold winter climate and am not bothered by driving in a cold vehicle until it warms up naturally. I also don’t need to wonder, if I buy a used vehicle, how many hours are on the engine if it doesn’t have a remote starter.
    Incidentally, if I were to buy a new car today, my research and desire says it would be a Kia Optima.

  • Sanjiv Purmanund

    I got my new Kia Optima EX 2.0 in Oct 2011. So far, an impressive vehicle, though I would strongly suggest that Kia put some effort in improving the comfort inside + improving the engine noise isolation, since beyond 2,000 RPM it is a bit of a discomfort. Once these done, am sure this car will do even more justice to its pretty unique silhouette.