“With the arrival of the Optima SXL, the Kia brand propels itself into a more premium class, which is something consumers have told us they want to see when they walk into our showrooms,” said Tom Loveless, Kia Motors America executive vice president in a press release today.
Based on the fully-loaded Optima SX which is already well into the mid 30′s, the Limited version uses the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine to offer 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The pricier package adds 18-inch chrome wheels, red brake calipers, and LED lighting. Inside, Kia takes a further stab at luxury with the cabin, adding wood grain accents, high-grade Nappa leather and an electronic parking brake.
But can a Kia really compete in the luxury market? Even with premium features, can you picture choosing the Optima SX Limited over a similarly-priced German sedan? There’s no denying that the $13,875 gap between the entry-level Optima LX and it’s lavish top trim sibling is a staggering one. Now all that remains to be seen is how many will bite.