Optima, the biggest and most luxurious Kia to reach American soil, will come with either a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine or a 2.5-liter V6. The standard four-cylinder engine is expected to produce 149 horsepower, while the optional V6 is expected to produce 170 horsepower.
"Most people in the focus groups associated the name with being optimal, outstanding or top of the line," said Dick Macedo, Kia's executive vice president of marketing and sales. "They thought the name was very appropriate for the way the car looked."
The introduction of the Kia Optima will conclude the most ambitious year in Kia's brief history in America. In May, Kia introduced the Spectra hatchback sedan and, in August, the company will launch the Rio subcompact sedan.
Kia Motors America is the sales, distribution and service arm of Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea.