Turbocharged and agile, classy and well-equipped, the 2012 Kia Optima SX represents the flagship edition of this midsize sedan. Adorned with a sport-tuned suspension, rear spoiler, 18-inch alloy wheels and heated power-adjustable mirrors outside, this turbocharged 5-seater boasts paddle shifters gracing the leather-wrapped steering wheel and simulated carbon fiber accents inside. Then there’s the power-adjustable driver’s seat, leather-wrapped shifter knob and dual-zone automatic climate control to pamper folks, as well as remote power door locks, power windows, a universal remote garage door opener, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering.
Look for 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space to hump stuff in the SX and a cooled glovebox to keep cold drinks drinkable. Finally, this sporty sedan is delivered with Bluetooth hands-free communications and a 6-speaker, MP3-capable single-CD player that’s bolstered by satellite radio and a USB connection.
One of the more popular options packages for Kia’s flagship sedan is the Limited Package, which effectively turns the SX into the SX L sub-trim. Included in this hefty bundle are goodies like hard-drive-based navigation, nappa leather seat trim, upgraded interior accents and upgraded exterior chrome. A number of Premium packages, including the Premium Touring and Premium Technology packages add such niceties as a power sunroof, hard-drive-based navigation, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front passenger seat, memory for driver's settings, front and second-row heated seats, rear-view camera, 8-speaker Infinity audio and power-folding outside mirrors. Lastly, the SX Chrome Limited Package throws red-painted brake calipers and even more exterior chrome and badges into the SX L sub-trim.
The heart of the 2012 Optima SX, meanwhile, is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine, while the brain remains a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. This matchup puts out 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, and mileage stays in the vicinity of 22 mpg city/34 highway with this blown four-banger.
Finally, occupant safety is provided for via standard 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors, front fog/driving lights, self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights and a remote antitheft alarm also come standard, while LED daytime running lights and an electronic parking brake are optional.