NEW YORK – Kia Motors America released a refreshed version of its Optima today, with a focus on bringing more luxury and comfort to the 2016 sedan.
Most changes are subtle. Unlike other releases at the New York Auto Show (like the chiseled new look Lexus gave its RX crossover), the Optima’s modifications are mostly to its footprint and trim packages.
“The all-new Optima retains the signature personality of its predecessor, but we’ve literally improved everything, providing more space, better ride and handling, more technology and greater refinement,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Kia Motors America.
What didn’t accompany the Optima refresh is any update on the Optima Hybrid or any mention of an upcoming plug-in version.
It’s expected, however, that Optima will continue following the path set by the closely related Hyundai Sonata – the Optima has already borrowed the Sonata’s platform and runs a similar powertrain. After the conventional Sonata was released, the Sonata Hybrid came afterward, followed later by a plug-in version.
The Optima Hybrid is currently in its second production year, so it’s likely that a plug-in version will be on the way soon.
We reached out to Kia to find out more, but a spokesman said there is currently no update for either the Optima Hybrid or a potential plug-in.
A larger, more luxurious Optima
The 2016 Optima “maintains its athletic identity but rides on a chassis that is longer, wider and stiffer for improved ride and handling and a more spacious cabin,” said Kia.
The refresh has added 0.4 inches to the length of the car, while widening the car by one inch. This gives the new Optima a wheelbase of 110.4 inches and a width of 73.2 inches.
Three trim options have also been added. In addition to the currently available LX and EX, Kia is deleting the SX option and adding in LX Turbo, SX Turbo and SXL trim packages.
Available with the new HID headlights are optional Dynamic Bending Lamps, which help illuminate the roadway around corners, and High Beam Assist to switch automatically between low and high beam headlights.
Kia didn’t announce which of these design elements will transfer to the 2016 Optima Hybrid, which currently sports a unique front end that includes exclusive front LED lighting. Only two options are available on the 2015 Optima Hybrid: LX or EX.
The 2016 Optima will go on sale at the end of the year.