Kia introduces luxury Optima starting at 35 grand

(July 2, 2012) IRVINE, Calif. — A $35,000 Kia? That would have been laughable just a few years ago for the South Korean brand that disseminated low-priced family transportation.

But the times have changed. Meet the 2013 Kia Optima SX Limited, which is the new top-tier trim level of the ultra-popular midsize Optima sedan line, now arriving in dealerships with a starting price of around $35,000.  First introduced at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show, the upscale Optima Limited went into production at Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia in early June.

Kia says, "It builds on the Optima SX's existing foundation of class-leading horsepower and fuel efficiency while adding a number of exclusive design and feature upgrades, including: 18-inch chrome wheels, red brake calipers, LED lighting and exterior brightwork. Within, the SXL boasts high-grade Nappa leather seating trim, rich wood grain accents and an electronic parking brake, which is exclusive to this trim level."

"With the arrival of the Optima SXL, the Kia brand propels itself into a more premium class, which is something consumers have told us they want to see when they walk into our showrooms," said Tom Loveless, executive vice president of sales, KMA.  "This Optima shows buyers that value and upscale character need not be mutually exclusive.  For this reason, the SXL stands apart from traditional competitors in the midsize segment."

The SXL trim arrives on the heels of the Optima's record-breaking sales success and exceptional residual value from Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG), the industry benchmark for residual value. 

The Optima SXL is based on the fully loaded turbocharged Optima SX, which Edmunds' Inside Line hailed as an "Editors' Most Wanted" mid-sized sedan. Including destination and handling, the manufacturer's suggested retail price for the Optima SXL is $35,275.  Offered exclusively in Ebony Black, Snow White Pearl and Titanium Metallic exterior colors, the Optima SXL features many luxury details, including LED daytime running lights, chrome-accented rear spoiler and lower door sills, and wood interior trim. 

Standout red brake calipers can be seen through the Optima SXL's uniquely designed chrome 18-inch wheels while the 2.0-liter turbo GDI 4-cylinder engine delivers class-leading 274 horsepower and achieves 22/34 mpg.

Inside the cabin, high-grade black or white Nappa leather adorns the seats, door panels, center console armrest and center fascia trim for a premium feel.  Wood accents can be found on the steering wheel, interior door trim and shift knob, and a black tricot fabric lends a premium feel to the headliner, sun visor, and A, B and C pillars. The Optima SXL also boasts an electronic parking brake, which is offered exclusively on this uplevel trim.  A first-aid kit and cloth door weather strip round out the SXL package.

Like every Optima, the SXL projects a refined, performance-oriented aesthetic with a sleek silhouette, aggressive stance and sculpted elements that embodies the styling language chief design officer Peter Schreyer has created for the brand. 

Every 2013 Optima comes well equipped with a generous roster of standard features, and the Optima SXL builds on the technology, performance and convenience features found on the Optima SX, including:  unique front and rear lower bumper design, sport-tuned suspension, HID headlamps, Supervision meter cluster with LCD display, steering wheel paddle shifters, metal pedals, illuminated door scuff plates, panoramic sunroof, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat with memory, four-way power front passenger's seat, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, navigation system with back-up camera and SiriusXM Traffic and Infinity audio system and speakers.