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Kia's recently redesigned Optima midsized sedan packs a lot of substance and value. It drives nicely, with a firm yet absorbent ride and responsive, secure handling. The mainstream 2.4-liter four-cylinder is pleasant and unobtrusive, and returned 28 mpg overall in our testing, and the uplevel 2.0-liter turbo four packs more punch. New to the line is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. At around $26,000, the EX trim features comfortable leather seats, automatic climate control, a roomy rear seat, and heating for the seats and steering wheel. The controls are very intuitive to use. Low-positioned dash vents are our only gripe. The latest version of Kia's UVO touch-screen infotainment system works with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A hybrid is also available.

Road Test

Kia has been offering buyers competent, stylish cars at prices that undercut rivals. But that low price came at the expense of refinement. As with the Sorento, the Optima shows that Kia has turned a corner. It still looks great, and now it comes with...

Highs

  • More stylish than the typical mid-sized sedan
  • Lots of equipment for the money

Lows

  • Not as reliable as a Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy, or Honda Accord
  • Fuel-economy falls short of the best in the class

Best Version to Get

We think the sweet spot is the EX trim; it gives you upscale features like leather seats, heated front seats and steering wheel, driver's seat memory, and dual automatic climate control for less than $26,000. However, we're frustrated that you can't get advanced safety equipment, like forwar...

Specifications

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
  • Basic: 5 year/60,000 miles
  • Powertrain: 10 year/100,000 miles
  • Rust through: 5 year/100,000 miles
  • Roadside aid: 5 year/60,000 miles
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 7-speed Sequential
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 1.6-liter 4 turbo (178 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 hybrid (193 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (245 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 electric (202 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 (185 hp)

Ratings

Safety
Performance
Comfort / Convenience
View Full Test Results