Current Model
Kia's midsized sedan drives nicely, with a firm yet absorbent ride and responsive, secure handling. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder is pleasant and returned 28 mpg overall in our tests; the uplevel 2.0-liter turbo engine packs more punch.
Both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions are available. The EX trim features comfortable leather seats, automatic climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a roomy rear seat. The controls are very intuitive to use, but the low-mounted dash vents tend to blow more air on the driver's hands than on his face. All 2020 models have a suite of standard advanced safety features, which include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, and rear cross traffic warning.
Road Test
Predicted Reliability
Predicted Owner Satisfaction
2016-2019
2016 Redesign Year
Riding on an all-new chassis shared with the Hyundai Sonata, the redesigned 2016 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, while 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. The EX trim features comfortable leather seats, automatic climate control, a roomy rear seat, and heating for the seats and steering wheel. We got 28 mpg with the 2.4-liter. Low-positioned dash vents are our only gripe. The latest version of Kia's UVO touch-screen infotainment system works with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A hybrid is also available.
$16,425 - $23,200
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$14,325 - $19,675
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$12,875 - $20,625
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$11,650 - $19,325
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2011-2015
2011 Redesign Year
A major redesign for 2011 made the Optima much better, with nimble handling, but a stiff ride. The up-level engine, a lively turbocharged four-cylinder, returned a respectable 24 mpg, but exhibited less refinement than a V6.
The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder performs well. An unrefined hybrid is offered too. The coupe-like styling detracts from rear visibility and cabin access. We'd try to find an Optima LX with the Convenience Plus package in order to get the power driver's seat and rear camera. Our other favorite combination is the Optima EX with the Premium and Technology (navigation and blind spot monitoring) packages.
$10,200 - $16,000
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$8,300 - $13,675
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$7,200 - $11,325
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$5,650 - $8,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$5,225 - $7,750
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2006-2010
2006 Redesign Year
The 2006 mid-model year redesign maintained the comfort of the quiet cabin and the composed ride, while improving handling. ABS and ESC were common with the EX, but hard to find in the LX.
Controls are easy to use, the interior is nicely detailed and the rear seat is among the most comfortable in its class. Optional, power-adjustable pedals help all drivers find a comfortable position. Outward visibility is very good, but the high rear deck lid limits the view when backing up. Overall, it's a nice sedan at a low price, with engines delivering competitive fuel economy and performance.
$5,125 - $5,925
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$4,525 - $5,825
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$3,775 - $4,350
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,775 - $3,350
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,525 - $3,175
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
2001-2005
2001 Redesign Year
The midsized Optima delivers a lot of content at a reasonable price. Comfort, quiet and refinement are numbered solidly among its attributes.
The Kia also has very good fit and finish. The engine, while smooth, isn't very fuel efficient, despite its small displacement. Agility is lacking too. Limited headroom, inhibited access and a somewhat compromised driving position are issues as well. With all of that said however, its Poor score in the IIHS side-crash test is our most significant concern about this model.
$2,525 - $2,875
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,525
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,525
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,525
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
$2,525
Average Retail Price
RELIABILITY VERDICT
OWNER SATISFACTION
OWNER REPORTED MPG
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