Kia cars have been a staple of the affordable car market for decades. The brand’s name has been synonymous with affordable yet high-quality vehicles that cater to a whole range of markets: from luxury cars to commercial vehicles, Kia has made a name for itself in the car manufacturing industry. This article talks about the company’s history as well as its latest and best car models.

Kia Cars Rising Out of Asia

The First in Korea

Kia was founded in 1944 as a manufacturer of steel tubing and hand-made bicycle parts. It was first called the Kyungsung Precision Industry before changing their name to Kia in 1952, which stood for “rising out of Asia.” Oddly enough, Kia started out with making motorcycles and trucks before eventually going into car manufacturing in 1974. They came out with the Brisa 1.0 during this year, although it only lasted until 1981 when production was ended by military dictator Chun Doo-hwan. They focused on making light trucks during his reign.

1986 marked the year when Kia returned to the automobile industry, forming a partnership with American manufacturer Ford. Mazda-derived vehicles fueled Kia’s comeback, which included the likes of the Kia Pride (based on the Mazda 121), and the Avella (sold in the US as the Ford Festiva and Ford Aspire.

1997 saw the Korean company declaring bankruptcy. It was subsequently purchased by Hyundai Motor Company in 1998, although they never got full ownership of the company.

Today, Kia continues its steady growth as one of the world’s leading car manufacturers.

Kia’s Pride: The Optima

Kia cars come in a wide range of models and body types, like their line of sedans (Picanto, Rio, Cerato, Cadenza), or SUVs and MPVs (Carens, Carnival, Sportage, Sorento). But there’s one vehicle that takes the cake as the torch bearer among all Kia cars: the Kia Optima.

The Optima’s style defines Kia’s vision to become the world leader in car manufacturing. The Optima is one of the few cars to feature front and rear parking sensors, something that a lot of manufacturers may have but only as an optional feature. It also has a built-in CD player with MP3 playback capability as well as Auxiliary, iPod and USB input. The Infinity Sound System gives the car interior a rich, luxurious feel with whatever music is being played.

It has a 2.4-L GDI four-cylinder engine for its LX, EX and SX models, while the SX model can also come with a much more powerful 2.0-L GDI turbo engine that delivers the power of a V6 in a four-cylinder package. It has a stellar fuel economy rating of 34 MPG on highways and 23 in city streets. This is way better than any other car at its starting price point of US$ 21,500.

Other features for the Optima include a Panoramic Sunroof (for those who want a bit of sun and fresh air in their car), ventilated seats (which can be heated on cold days or kept cool on hot days), paddle shifters, and UVO eServices Infotainment system (for hands-free operations), drivers can be assured of a smooth and easy ride.

A Blind-Spot Detection System lets drivers know if something is in their blind spot via warning lights in the side mirrors. The Back-Up Warning System and Rear Camera Display lets the driver shift into reverse with confidence. Standard safety features include Antilock Braking System, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control System, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, and a Brake Assist System allow drivers of all levels to feel confident while driving, as well as letting the passengers know that the car can help keep them safe.

The Optima comes in 5 models: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, and the Limited edition. By far, the best of these is the SX Turbo, which has the 2.0-L, Turbocharged Inline 4-cylinder engine at only US$ 27,500.

Kia really is making huge waves in the automotive industry. With the Optima leading the way, no one can tell how far Kia cars will go. No one, except Kia.