Kia Optima facelift revealed in New York Auto Show. New engine power has been added to the 2.4-litre plant. Exterior changes present, but minor.

Kia’s midsized sedan has received a nip and tuck for the New York Auto Show. Going on sale in a couple of months’ time, the Kia Optima also receives new power in the form of a 2.4-litre gas engine with an increased output of 175 horsepower and 169 lb-ft of torque. Sprint times and top speed at this juncture, are not available. They probably don’t count for much for this type of vehicle anyway. The 2.7-litre 5-speed automatic version remains the same. Available automatics feature Kia’s Sportmatic clutchless shifting.

For ICE look no further than the in-dash DVD navigation system, a USB port and SIRIUS satellite radio capability, in case you get bored with the 3000 MP3s loaded on your CDs. The DVD nav is a first for Optima, marking some ground-breaking stuff for Kia. A few changes have been effected for the centre fascia too, making things look a bit tidier as well as sportier for 2009. The barrel-like instrument cluster is a nice touch.

Exterior changes have not been drastic, true to the latest trends in automotive design. Some of the new looks are wider side garnishes, narrower headlights and taillights, and sharper front lines that flow towards the back.

“Optima is in a strong position to change the way consumers think about midsize sedan offerings,” said Tom Loveless, vice president, sales of KMA. “Already known for its exemplary quality, safety and value, Optima’s sleek new redesign provides consumers with a sporty, fuel-efficient choice and showcases Kia’s commitment to providing the best all-around vehicle package.”

The Kia Optima targets such cars as Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata.

Be part of something big