As the arrival of the all-new, fourth-generation Kia Optima GT nears in Malaysia, Naza Kia Malaysia presented a trace back of the Kia Optima’s origin. The fourth-generation Kia Optima, introduced in April, is a step up of the Korean marque’s one and only midsize sedan model. The model has gained quite a bit of stir in the United States.

Here’s a glimpse of the previous generations of the Optima, and behind the inspiration and groundwork that have shaped the evolution of Kia’s midsize sedan into the latest Kia Optima.

Kia Concord (1987): The origin of Kia’s midsize sedan dates back to the Concord in 1987. Even then, the Concord boasted the kind of power that rivaled larger sedans, paving the way for Kia in the midsize sedan market. Thanks to its laudable dynamics and performance (at one point, even being used for motor sports), the Concord was affectionately dubbed “the king of the highway.”

Kia Credos (1995): The Kia Credos succeed the Concord in 1995. Named after the Latin root ‘credo’ meaning belief, Credos caused a stir in the market for its responsiveness and outstanding handling. The Credos also received recognition for its excellence in design and its 1.8L DOHC engine performance.

First Generation Kia Optima (2000): The release of the first generation Optima marked a major turning point for Kia’s midsize sedans. Incorporating a unique grille and an unprecedented 4-headlight design and establishing the signature Kia face, the sleek silhouette of the 2000 Optima would become the benchmark for future models to come.

Second Generation Kia Optima (2005): The second generation Optima, also known as the Lotze (named after the Himalayan peak, Lhotse) in Kia’s home market of Korea, featured the optimized handling of its ancestor, the Credos, and enjoyed immense popularity, becoming a top-seller in its segment in the Korean market only behind the Hyundai Sonata.

Third Generation Kia Optima (2010): The third generation Optima, known as K5 in the Korean market, debuted in 2010 and featured a sportier, more sophisticated profile. The refreshed look, under the direction of President and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer, was honored at the 2011 iF Design Awards and was named the “best of the best” at the Red Dot Awards for its groundbreaking design.

Kia Optima Fourth Generation

Remaining true to Kia’s dedication to quality and perfection, the fourth generation Kia Optima has emerged as a creation that is, at once, sophisticated and powerful. Boasting extensive enhancements and options including a luxurious color range, the Optima has been refined and perfected thanks to the foundation set by its predecessors.

With the new Optima standing as the quintessential embodiment of style, innovation and power, Kia continues to set the bar and push the boundaries of conventional midsize sedans.

The new Kia Optima GT is offered in three colors (Gravity Blue, Aurora Black and Snow White Pearl) and already available in showrooms nationwide, starting 24 May.