Hi, similar to you, I also the first time Kia Owner but just 2 months early than you.
I would say Kia Optima is superb, value for money. I've made a lot of comparison, test drive, ...... end up was I got a great discount and just pay a litre bit extra for less than US$1K as compared to the same cc national car but got the best of every things - leather seat, dual air-bag, sunroof, ABS, EDB...... and all this are missing in our national 2-litre car!!!! Furthermore, the whole car is CBU!!!!
I become the focus point with my new Kia Optima, everyone in my company asking how the performance, ....... and my answer is "value for the money!!!!" I really happy and enjoy driving with it & hope you too enjoy........
Value for money ... me too; I bought it in Aug'04 ... till now at 11,000km mileage, every day was a driving pleasure. I've even upgraded the tire with 17" rim chrome alloy with high performance tire R17/55/215. It looks sheer elegant; it really gives me awesome comfort ability, pleasure ride and control. But I do loose a bit on acceleration pick up, anyway I’m driving in suburb, what the hurry, this is not 2 fast 2 furious kind of car.
Just hope the Korean remains honest and not resorting to wasteful commercials, misleading gimmicks and over-pricing when it is now comparable to what others can offer. And KIA can always remains the best value even after it surpasses some others.