The 2012 Kia Optima brings daring design to the midsize segment, and you could call the luxury and performance of the top-of-line Optima SX Limited pretty daring, as well. This new model dares you to compare its luxury and performance to sedans costing many thousands of dollars more.
With an MSRP of $34,900, the recently introduced Optima SX Limited also proves that even luxury sedans have a thing or two to learn from Kia. Scan the automotive media and you’ll quickly see that the $35,000 price point is the cost of “entry luxury” with such cars as the Acura TSX V6, Lexus ES 350, Mercedes-Benz C300 and a few others.
“Entry” in some of those cars means you then need to add numerous options, and several thousand dollars, to get true luxury and performance. For example, once you add features like heated and cooled front seats, navigation, premium audio, a panoramic sunroof and HID headlights to a Lexus ES 350, you arrive at a MSRP more than $43,000. Even at that price, however, you still can’t get the heated rear seat cushions that come standard in the 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited.
The 2012 Acura TSX V6 with its top option package carries an MSRP of $38,450, and likewise lacks some of the amenities found in the top-of-line Optima SX Limited, including heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seat cushions. What may surprise luxury sedan shoppers, too, is that, of all the cars mentioned here, only the Kia Optima comes with a five-year/60,000-mile Limited Basic Warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty.
To create the 2012 Optima SX Limited, Kia started with the SX, which comes standard with a 274-hp 2.0-liter Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) turbocharged engine and six-speed Sportmatic® automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters. That alone puts the Optima SX ahead of the new turbocharged four-cylinder engines in the Mercedes-Benz C250 (201 hp), Audi A4 (211 hp) and BMW 328i (240 hp).
Luxury sedan engines are known not just for their power, but for the character of their performance – how they make the car feel to drive. The Kia 2.0-liter GDI turbo unleashes 269 lb/ft of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. Compare that to the Audi A4 2.0 TFSI turbo, which offers 258 lb/ft. For the driver, that Kia advantage translates not only to quick acceleration, but also to instant, powerful and smooth response when merging or passing. Couple that power with sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels and 225/45R18 tires, and you have a world-class sport sedan that will satisfy your urge to take the scenic routes.
The 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited departs from luxury models in one key area of performance, and that’s in its superior fuel efficiency. Proving that power does not need to be an expensive luxury, the Optima SX Limited achieves a 34 mpg highway fuel economy rating and uses regular-grade fuel, not more expensive premium.
Iconic fashion and design magazine Esquire selected the Optima as the “Most Gorgeous Car” in its class, and the top-of-line SX Limited model sharpens the looks that garnered that award. You’ll know the SX Limited by its unique front and rear lower bumpers and side sills, a rear lip spoiler, chrome-finished 18-inch wheels, red-painted front brake calipers, chrome-accented side sills and a chrome finished rear spoiler. LED daytime running lights accentuate the distinctive Kia signature front styling.
Inside, the Kia Optima SX Limited pampers you and your passengers by combining the Premium and Technology Packages that are available for the standard Optima SX model. You’ll enjoy first-classing seating comfort thanks to an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power passenger seat, and soft leather seat trim exclusive to the Optima SX Limited. Special wood trim and a luxurious headliner, also exclusive to this high-end model, add to the premium ambience.
Comfort and infotainment also reach top-of-line status here, with dual-zone automatic air conditioning that includes rear seat vents, and a powerful Infinity® premium audio system with HD Radio. This special model also comes with driver’s seat memory and power-folding exterior mirrors. The Navigation System combines with SiriusXM Traffic™ with real-time updates to keep you on track, and the back-up camera adds extra peace of mind.
Come in and drive the 2012 Kia Optima SX Limited, the $34,900 luxury/performance sedan that delivers more than cars costing $40,000-plus.