The new saloon from the Korean manufacturer was first revealed at the Paris Motor Show last year, and has yet to go on sale in the UK.
However, this didn’t stop Cars.com naming it the best car of 2011 ahead of the BMW 5 Series, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Volt.
Opting for a mainstream model, Cars.com Editor Patrick Olsen said: "”The new Kia Optima enters the most competitive segment in the industry and tops it with a lot of value, good looks and a solid ride.
“While there is a lot to be said for the electric vehicles that were contenders for this award, we think it’s even more significant that Kia’s best vehicle to date is one that millions of buyers consider every year.”
The US-based magazine chose the final shortlist from hundreds of cars driven throughout the year and found the Kia Optima to be the best.
The Kia Optima has been designed to replace the Kia Magentis in the UK market, and the mid-size saloon will also offer a hybrid version in future.
Designed to compete with the Ford Mondeo, the Optima boasts the same front end as the popular Sportage crossover courtesy of Chief Designer Peter Schreyer.
The design has even been recognised by the prestigious iF product design awards, one of the top awards for innovative product design in the world.
The Kia Optima will receive the same 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine from the Sportage when it first goes on sale in July 2011.
UK prices have not been revealed, but as with all Kia cars sold in the UK, the Kia Optima will come with the car maker’s generous seven-year warranty.