The 2011 Kia Optima has just joined an exclusive automotive fraternity. It’s the first Korean car and among only 13 vehicles awarded in 2011 a five-star rating under the recently revamped crash safety testing system conducted the National Highway Transportation Safety Administation (NHSTA).
The midsize Optima, redesigned for 2011, achieved an overall five-star rating after attaining five stars in each of the ratings categories.
The additional 12 vehicles earning five-star NHTSA ratings for 2011: Acura MDX, BMW 5 Series, Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Cruze, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, GMC Sierra, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Volvo XC60 and Honda Odyssey.
In all, 24 passenger cars, 20 sport utility vehicles, two vans, and nine 2011 model year pickups were rated under the new system that not only includes tougher crash tests, but, for the first time, provides consumers with a single overall safety score per vehicle.
The new testing program also provides consumers with information about new advanced crash avoidance technologies, such as lane departure and forward collision warning systems.
Like the rest of Kia line-up, the 2011 Optima comes equipped a varied and lengthy list of standard safety equipment: six airbags(1) (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), ESC, a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.
Article Last Updated: March 4, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.