What is it? The mid-sized Optima sedan has been redesigned and substantially changed for 2011. The wheelbase is three inches longer, the cabin is more spacious, and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine was bumped from 175 hp to 200 hp. The car is wider and lower, and the styling is bolder and less bland, and distinctly different from the mechanically similar Hyundai Sonata. The Optima now looks more coupe-like, with a sloping roof and a wide rear roof pillar.
What's new or notable? Instead of a V6, the uplevel engine is a turbocharged version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder, good for 274 hp. A panoramic sunroof lets in lots of light. The alloy wheels, at least those on the show car, are striking-looking 18-inchers. A hybrid version of the Optima and Hyundai Sonata will come next year.
CR's take: The outgoing Optima was a good effort, very pleasant to drive, well finished, and a good value for the money. The new one looks even better, although the wide rear roof pillar likely wont help rear visibility.
When will it be available? Fall 2010