The Kia Optima is a remarkably good car for the price. Kia offers a strong value when compared against the big Japanese brands. You get a lot for your money, and unlike earlier Korean attempts at building a mid-size sedan, the Optima achieves a level of sophistication in its engine and chassis that is competitive for its size, and not just its price. For 2004, the Optima's styling is more sophisticated as well, with a new front end that gives the whole car a more subtle appearance. The available V6 engine is exceptionally smooth, and works well with the four-speed automatic transmission that comes with it. The Optima's refined and unruffled road manners will please most of the people who are in the market for mid-size family transportation. Kia Optima is based on the platform of the current Hyundai Sonata and shares the Sonata's engine and suspension layout; if you like one, you'll no doubt like the other. But the Optima offers unique styling, sharing no body panels with the Sonata and offers different features.