In the July 2006 issue of we covered the 2006 KiaOptima on page 37. What physician-consumersshould know is that there areactually two versions of the 2006 Optima:one built before December (photo publishedin the July issue) and one known asthe 2006.5 model (photo above), whichbegan production in December. During arecent press conference, Kia executivesexplained that had production begun inJanuary 2006, the completely new Optimawould have been called a 2007 model.The two actually look quite differentdespite their identical names and yearmodels. The 2006.5 is forward-looking; itwent from a Russian-Asian look withawkward round and square headlights toan Asian-European style. The 2006.5 has anew platform, longer wheelbase, widertrack, and is stiffer. There is 10% moretrunk volume, six standard air bags, 23more horsepower, and 4 miles per gallonmore on the highway. Physician-consumersshould be aware of this differencewhen looking into these models.