Kia Motors have made and sold their mid-sized four door sedan since 2000 and, although the model name Mangetis was used in some parts of Europe and Canada, the Optima is the most commonly known designation for the car. Between 2000 and 2005 Optimas were little more than rebadged versions of Hyundai’s Sonata, however since then – with the launch of the second and third generations - the differences have been much more pronounced.
The first generation of the Optima was offered with three engine sizes – 2.4, 2.5 and 2.7 litres. A four speed automatic and a five speed manual transmission were sold. The car underwent some minor restyling with new headlamps and a front grille that was specifically made for the American market.
The second generation Optima was launched in 2005, when it was also offered in a 2 litre version. The Optima won a four star rating for crash testing by EuroNCAP, the body responsible for measuring safety measures in the European market. Kia engineers went on to revise and update the car in 2008, which saw a re-launch at the New York International Auto Show of that year in a version presented as the 2009 model.
In 2011, Kia completely redesigned the Optima, which went on to share the same car platform as its sister model, the Hyundai i40. Now offered with a new 1.7 CRDi turbo diesel engine as well five other options, the Optima was given a six speed transmission for both manual and automatic gear boxes.