Kia Optima sweeps AJAC family car awards

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Kia Motors of Seoul, South Korea has been generating quite a lot of positive interest lately. It wasn't too long ago that the name Kia was a synonym for dreary and uninspired transportation, but now things are much different. A slew of new or revised models along with interesting vehicle designs and competitive technologies have helped Kia garner the respect and interest of industry commentators and consumers alike.

The Association of Canadian Automobile Journalists (AJAC) has taken notice of Kia's efforts and recently awarded Kia's Optima sedan two prestigious titles: AJAC has named the Optima LX the "Best Family Car Under $30,000" and has also named Kia's Optima Hybrid as the "Best Family Car Over $30,000."

The Optima LX competed with vehicles including the Chevrolet Orlando, Chrysler 200, Mazda5, Toyota Camry and Volkswagen Passat TDI in order to win its category.

"The Optima LX further builds on a winning formula providing world-class design, technology, safety and fuel efficiency" said William Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Kia Canada Inc. "The Optima provides an exceptional combination of features and performance that would be typically found in premium class vehicles."

The Optima LX lists at a base price of $21,995 and features a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine which produces 200 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. There's also a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque available in the top spec SX model.

Kia's Optima Hybrid bested such competitors as the Chevrolet Volt, Dodge Charger, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Mini Countryman and Toyota Prius V in order to win AJAC's "Best Family Car Over $30,000" award. The Optima Hybrid also set a Guinness World Record for fuel economy last September when it achieved  an average fuel consumption of 3.64 L/100 km in a drive through the 48 adjoining states of America.

"The Optima Hybrid represents Kia's commitment to building fuel efficient and technologically-advanced vehicles" commented Lee. "The Optima Hybrid provides our customers a driver's car with record-breaking fuel economy including world-class design without compromise."

With a starting price of $30,595, the Optima Hybrid features a 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine that's been paired to an AC permanent-magnet electric motor. Together, the two power sources generate 206 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. In city and highway driving, Kia claims a fuel economy rating of 5.6 and 4.9 L/100 km respectively.

With its recent AJAC success, the Kia Optima is now qualified to win AJAC's 2012 "Canadian Car of the Year" title which will be awarded in February at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. Whether it wins the overall title or not, the Kia Optima is now considered a viable alternative to its more established competition.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sedan, Hybrid, Kia, 2011, Optima, Optima Hybrid, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999, Awards, AJAC,

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