Kia has managed to hold the line on pricing on the somewhat larger, swoopier, better-looking, all-new 2016 Optima

2012 Kia Optima SXL

Kia Optima

The Optima first graced our shores in 2000, but it wasn't until the 2011 model year that Kia's once-forgettable sedan, now penned by designer Peter Schreyer, became a serious player in the midsize sedan segment.

The importance of that third-generation Optima cannot be overstated, as Michael Sprague, Kia's COO, portrayed it as "a game changer for Kia and a wake-up call to the midsize sedan segment. As KMA’s top-selling vehicle for three consecutive years, and the first model to sell more than 150,000 units annually, its importance to the brand can’t be overstated."

2016 Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima prices

Needless to say, the Optima's continued success is critical to Kia. According to Sprague, "With a starting MSRP of $21,840 (not including $825 in destination charges), the all-new Optima offers more standard features than before yet holds the line on pricing from the outgoing model, which underscores Kia’s commitment to offering tremendous value."

Getting into the details, the 2016 Optima will be offered in five trim levels – LX, LX 1.6T, EX, SX and SXL.

2016 Kia Optima

2016 Optima LX

With a starting price of $22,665, the LX comes with a 6-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats, 5-inch touchscreen, rear view camera, Bluetooth, 1 USB port, satellite radio, keyless entry, 16-inch alloy wheels and a normally-aspirated 2.4-liter inline-4 making 185-hp and 178 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

A convenience package ($1,850) offers blind spot detection, lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert and a rear parking assist system.

2016 Kia Optima

2016 Optima LX 1.6T

It's all in the name as the $24,815 LX 1.6T trades the 2.4 I-4 for a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-4 that generates 178 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. Additional features include unique 16-inch alloys, power-folding and heated outside mirrors, push-button ignition, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, auto up/down front windows and an acoustic glass windshield.

In addition to the LX convenience package, LX1.6T buyers are offered a Technology Package ($2,600) that includes navigation, SiriusXM Traffic, LED taillights and rapid-charge front and rear USB ports.

2016 Kia Optima

2016 Optima EX

$25,715 EX models revert to the LX's 2.4-liter four, but add 17-inch alloys, LED running lights and tail lights, dual projector-beam headlights, automatic climate control (dual zone), 2 additional rapid-charge USB ports, leather seats and a heated steering wheel and front seats (12-way power driver's).

The EX Premium Audio Package ($1,200) includes a Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic7 audio system (includes 10 speakers, Clari-Fi7 technology and a 630-watt amplifier).

2016 Kia Optima

2016 Optima SX

Stepping up to the $29,690 SX gets you a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (245 hp and 260 lb.-ft. of torque) matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission. There's also a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, 18-inch alloys, dual exhaust, red brake calipers, self-leveling HID headlights, rear spoiler with gloss black exterior trim, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, gauge cluster color screen, interior metal trim and rear side-window sunshades.

The SX Launch Edition package ($2,700) includes special18-inch alloys, merlot leather seating a tricot black headliner and roof pillars, a panoramic Sunroof, and a Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic audio system.

The SX Technology Package ($4,800) includes adaptive cruise control, front collision warning system, an electronic parking brake, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.

2016 Kia Optima

2016 Optima SXL

At $36,615, the SXL trim level adds quilted Nappa leather seats, wireless electronic device charging, silver perforated stitched instrument panel and front door trim, 10-way power passenger seat, automatic high beams, LED reading lamps, heated outboard second-row seats, unique 18-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, front collision warning system, an electronic parking brake, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking.