Kia's Optima has been axed

Optima axed as wraps come off new Sonata

Riley Riley

At a time when Kia has just dropped its slow selling Optima sedan, Hyundai has just revealed images of its next-generation Sonata — Optima twin under the skin.

Optima was hailed for its fresh, Peter Schreyer-inspired good looks on its launch here in 2011.

Initially available with the one 2.4-litre four cylinder engine, performance received a major lift with the inclusion of a torquey 2.0-litre turbo in 2015.

But as good as it was the car has failed to fire the imagination of the Australian buying public, with sales continuing to slide — down 42 per cent to the end of February this year.

Optima can still be ordered, but will cease to be produced for Australia in November.

Soul and Rondo are confined to existing stock, which is reportedly quite low.

“There are some cars which, as good as they may be, simply do not resonate with buyers in a particular market,” a spokesman for Kia said.

“That has been the case with these three models and simple business dynamics dictate that there is no longer a place for them in Kia’s Australian model lineup.”

Hyundai on the other hand is upbeat about the prospects of its new Sonata, due here in the second half of the year.

But its arrival may see the demise of the similarly sized but almost invisible i40.

The new Sonata adopts a sportier profile, with a short rump and long bonnet, sitting lower, wider and longer, with a 35mm longer wheelbase.

In a first the Daytime Running Lights include hidden lighting lamps.

The hidden lights appear to be of a “chromic” material when switched off but become dramatically lit when turned on.

The light architecture was initially revealed in Hyundai’s HDC-2 concept car at the Busan Motor Show in June last year.

It was created by fleshing out the form of the light and making it into a powerful design element.

The light architecture is also applied to the interior space with the ambient mood lamp illuminating dashboard and doors.

Along with the Sensuous Sportiness concept, Hyundai says the light architecture defines the design identity of its future cars.

CHECKOUT: Kia tries to kick start Optima

CHECKOUT: Tough road ahead for classy Sonata

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