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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 23, 2013, 7:54 A.M.

Kia Optima: The most beautiful family sedan?


Is it possible that Kia has created the best-looking family sedan on the market?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, and all the main contenders have stepped up their games lately (think Fusion, Camry, Accord), so I don’t know that I’m prepared to go out on that limb.

But still.

The possibility occurred to me Monday. Dusk had morphed into full-on dark and my Titanium Silver tester waited for me in the halogen glow of a nearly empty parking lot.

In that light, and with a clear view of the car’s flanks, its crisp clean lines and ideal proportions cohered in a way that belied its modest roots. Quite elegant. Shouldn’t be a surprise, I suppose, since Kia’s lead designer is a fellow named Peter Schreyer*. Schreyer designed for VW/Audi until Kia stole him away.

I do have reservations about the Optima; I find the front fascia/grille underwhelming. In that regard, I much prefer Schreyer's work with Audi. Otherwise, the thing is a home run.

Photos don’t do the Optima justice. Check it out next time you see one sitting by its lonesome in a grocery store parking lot. At dusk. Bathed in a halogen glow.

*Postscript: When I Googled Schreyer to make sure I'd spelled his name correctly, I learned he'd been named president of Kia in December. Two weeks later, it was announced he'd take over lead designer chores for both Kia and its parent company, Hyundai.

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Don Adair
Don Adair is a Spokane-based freelance writer.