THIS WEEK'S CONTEST
Can you tell us the make and model of this 2011 vehicle? Call (706) 823-3419 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We need your name, telephone, and city or community. Your deadline is noon Wednesday. A winner will be chosen randomly, and the results will be printed Friday.
Last week's photo showed the upcoming 2011 Kia Optima, a complete turnaround from the 2010 model. For a better look at the sedan, see this week's story about the new models from Asia's smaller manufacturers.
Randomly selected from the readers who identified the Optima was Ken Smith, of Graniteville. He wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle.
Other readers identifying the car were:
AIKEN: Bob Hardt wrote: "Good looks and a pair of strong engines for the redesigned Optima. Distinct-looking wheels and ask-a-friend got this one for me, the 2011 Kia Optima. Not an easy one, at least not for me."
AUGUSTA: Carolyn Ogles wrote: "This is the third-generation Kia Optima, with advanced styling inside and outside with outstanding performance. It is longer, wider, lower, in competition with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. There are many innovative features with a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, backup camera and a cooling glove box."
CANTON, GA.: David Anderson wrote: "Wow! I almost gave up and cried uncle on this one. This month is the "official" introduction for this redesign, and the front page of the corporate Kia Web site still shows images of the 2010 model (which of course bears no resemblance to this one). It is only when you click on the page for the current Optima that you are shown a link to preview the 2011 model -- and the images shown there are small. I finally located the publicity shots of the unveiling on another site and, voila!
"The one-two punch of Hyundai/Kia continues with this introduction following on the heels of its sibling stable-mate, the Hyundai Sonata. Both of these redesigns really raise the bar for this market, and if I were an exec at Honda or Toyota, I would certainly be looking over my shoulder, because the hounds are closing in for the kill. Billed as a midsize, the Sonata/Optima are aimed squarely at the Accord and Camry.
"With an extensive list of comfort and convenience features as standard and trim levels that encompass everything from the entry level market to the turbocharged enthusiast and a hybrid version for the green among us, it would appear that they have the entire potential market covered. Of course, customer service and vehicle reliability (e.g., little or no factory recalls), will tell the tale of these two Davids taking on two Goliaths."
CUMMING, GA.: Chris Rhodes wrote: "Like the recently released Sportage and Forte, the Optima continues to showcase Kia's recent design resurgence. No longer considered a Korean alternative to basic transportation, Kia (and its parent company Hyundai) is now a full player in the automotive market with seriously competitive models in every segment of the industry. The Optima is no exception.
"Built on the same chassis as the wildly successful Hyundai Sonata, the Optima offers the same refined powertrains and comprehensive warranties as its sister vehicle. In addition, the new Optima's styling is far edgier than the sedan it replaces. Like the aforementioned Sportage and Forte, the Optima has sharper sheet metal creases and more complex head lamp and tail lamp assemblies. Instead of blending into the crowd as previous Kia models have done, these new models virtually scream 'look at me!'
"With the release of the redesigned Optima and the upcoming Forte five-door hatchback, mothership Hyundai will have nearly completed its current plan to offer two very distinctive design themes: While the Hyundai model lines look and feel more mature, upscale and formal, the Kia models are the younger, cooler, more hip kids in the house.
EVANS: Bill Harding wrote: "That is a 2011 Kia Optima. The 'dog-leg' side window styling treatment is what gives it away. Pricing starts at just under $20 grand. Buyers will have a choice of either manual or automatic six-speed transmission and a normally aspirated or a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Eighty-seven octane gas is OK except in the turbo, which will require 91 octane for maximum performance.
"Both engines feature direct fuel injection, rather than port injection. This means that similar to diesel engines, the fuel is sequentially injected directly into the individual combustion chambers, adding precision to the metering of fuel and allowing compression ratios up to 11:1 on regular fuel without knock. Direct injection calls for higher-pressure fuel pumps, and this means that you will hear a clicking sound every time a cylinder gets its squirt of fuel.
"The nonturbo motor is 2.4 liters (146 cubic inches) but the turbo in only 2 liters (122 cubic inches). Kia, like parent Hyundai, offers a 10-year limited powertrain warranty. Fuel economy for the 2.4 is 24/35 with the six-speed manual and 24/34 with the six-speed automatic. Two-liter turbo models are EPA-rated at 22/34. Turbo engine's available only with automatic."
Also, Jerry Paul
MARTINEZ: John Hayes