Kia Optima

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Kia Optima

The family car market is a ferociously competitive place, but Kia is still hoping its new Optima will take more sales than the Magentis it replaces late next summer.

This doesn't look like too difficult a job as the Optima is much better in design and cabin quality than the car it replaces and, Kia reckons, the family car market is set to grow by one million cars, to 5.3 million, by 2013.

The Optima is longer than the Magentis, so there's more room to stretch out it's a great place to put your aching feet up for a few minutes before the next press conference.

Prices are likely to start at around 18,000 for a 1.7-litre diesel developing 136bhp and emitting as little as 113g/km of CO2 with an optional stop/start system fitted.

A 168bhp 2.0-litre petrol is also on offer from launch, while a higher-rated 1.7-litre diesel with 158g/km will join the range soon after. A hybrid is expected in 2011, and a range-extended electric vehicle - with a small on-board engine to generate more battery power when needed - could be ready in two to three years.

We'd expect all models to be well equipped when they go on sale in the UK early next year.

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Anything else?
Kia is looking at expanding the Optima range with an estate and a smart big coupe such as the Peugeot 407, something chief designer Peter Schreyer must want to get his teeth into considering he's the man behind the first-generation Audi TT.