The Kia Optima stands out among typical humdrum midsized sedans with a well-tailored coupe-like silhouette. It also comes with a generous helping of standard equipment for the price. But look past these initial draws and the Optima proves quite ordinary. Neither noise isolation nor ride comfort are stellar. This iteration of the Optima remained a good choice, but was showing its age relative to the newer-designed competition.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
NA
2004
NA
2005
NA
2006
NA
2007
NA
2008
NA
2009
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS available, standard from 2009. Side air bags standard. Head protection air bags standard from 2007. ESC available from 2006, standard from 2010.
Road Test

The Kia Optima stands out among typical humdrum midsized sedans with a well-tailored coupe-like silhouette. It also comes with a generous helping of standard equipment for the price. But look past these initial draws and the Optima proves quite ordinary. Neither noise isolation nor ride comfort are stellar.

This iteration of the Optima remained a good choice, but was showing its age relative to the newer-designed competition. The Optima has secure, if uninspiring handling and the engine and transmission are unobtrusive. At 27 mpg overall, fuel economy was respectable, but fell short of the 30 mpg competitors were doing at the time. A hybrid was available too.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (274 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 hybrid (206 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 (200 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2011 Kia Optima owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"HAD A NEW ENGINE AT 64000 MILES. THE NEW ENGINE HAD CONTINUAL PROBLEMS WITH THE COOLING SYSTEM"

Ray M., UT (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The engine began knocking last spring; took to dealer we purchased from. The engine was in group of engine blocks with issues, so they promptly replaced it. Then took car back multiple times to fix subsequent oil gasket and exhaust leaks"

Ruth M., MD (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Strong knocking sound coming from the lower part of the engine"

Anonymous, PA (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"It has been shop a number of times with engine problems. At one point the talked about an engine replacement. Not sure if the replaced total engine or just multiple parts"

Anonymous, AZ (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Bad connecting rod caused the engine to seize. This was covered under Kia's extended warranty for that model year"

Chad C., CO (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Sudden engine failure with no warning lights. empy of engine oil. Replaced by extended warranty"

Anonymous, OH (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Without warning the engine began making a rattling/grinding noise. The mechanic had to replace the engine with a used engine because Kia didn't make the faulty engine any longer. Now the second engine is beginning to make ticking noises"

Peg O., OH (2011 Kia Optima Unsure Unsure)
Head gasket

"HEAD GASKETS WERE REPLACED ON A NEW ENGINE WITH ONLY 14000 MILES"

Ray M., UT (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Turbo or supercharger

"Had to be replaced. Would not cover under warrantty"

Anonymous, IL (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The tech said it was something to do with the turbo exhaust. Took it in and it was fixed in less than an hour. I think it was just an adjustment"

Michael A., NV (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Warning light"

Anonymous, PA (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Smell of raw gas inside cabin, still unresolved"

Anthony C., MN (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Multiple returns to the dealer. Several misdiagnosis. Problem finally corrected"

Anonymous, VA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Fuel cap

"Can almost never get it to register full"

Jay O., NJ (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Broken cap triggered check engine light"

Anonymous, CT (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Fuel pump

"Hi Pressure pump failed"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

"pauses during sat. radio use"

Anonymous, FL (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"Part of the electrical issue is a surge that causes the radio display to brighten and dim"

Jonathan M., SC (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Radio loses power completely several times each day, and speaker cones are broken"

Anonymous, MN (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The back-up camera failed at 65000 kms. That's way too early in its service life and the replacement cost is absolutely outrageous...$850 Canadian for the dealer to replace. Wish the car also had back-up sensors...these worked well in my previous car"

Rick E., ON (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"When using a smartphone to make or receive a call, the entire interface loses power and the call is dropped"

Anonymous, MN (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Fog light switch inoperative; was replaced twice in earlier years"

S P., VA (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"replaced interior dome light panel"

Anonymous, WV (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Keyless entry

"There are times when the trunk will not open using the key fob and it must be opened from inside the car"

Anonymous, IL (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
USB port

"Does not work with any Iphone...Why put it there"

Jay O., NJ (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Heated or cooled seats

"The switch for turning on the passenger heated/ventilated seat needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, NC (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Shocks or struts

"Shocks required replacing due to poor performance"

Jon S., WA (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Wheel bearings

"Wheel bearing, right front, failed st approximately 84000 miles. Left front bearing is starting to become noisy at 90000 miles"

Anonymous, IN (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Rubber steering coupler failed causing loud steering noise and vibration. Had coupler replaced"

Craig B., CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tie rods

"Both left and right front 'axles' needs to be replaced at $500 a pop. Mechanic said this should not happen at 50,000 miles and contact Kia. Kia dealership said no recall. Will not buy another Kia"

Mark M., CT (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I expected these to last much longer than the service they provided. The tie rods had to be replaced at 60000 kms. and the trailing arms replaced at 35,000 kms. Seems to be poorly lubricated joints at the factory (this unit is Korean built)"

Rick E., ON (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"Transmission would shift roughly on upshifts and downshifts"

Craig B., CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"VERY HARD shifting, repaired with a software update"

Larry P., IL (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The car always shifts rough from 1st to 2nd gear. Repair shop said this was typical of Kia Optimas"

Anonymous, OH (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission computer

"Computer was rweprogrammed to repair rough shifting"

Craig B., CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"It broken during the first 60,000 miles. Should have been covered by warranty but our repair guy did not mention it. We had to pay $1100 to fix the air conditioning system"

Anonymous, VA (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Compressor operation was intermitant. Kia relpaced it under warranty and i works fine now"

Anonymous, CA (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Refrigerant leaks

"I've had multiple refrigerant leaks, a compressor failure, and a control valve failure. Now the blower is making noise. I also have a persistent electrical bug that two dealers can't find, and that may be directly related to some of the A/C issues"

Jonathan M., SC (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"front bumper rubber,kept loosening and had to be replaced"

William S., NY (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"trim piece on front grill kept falling off. Poor design - kept bumping cement stops in parking lots. Kia was supposed to call after the fourth time we had it in to the dealer but we have not had any response"

P S., VA (2011 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"paint in general does not hold up. easily scratched"

Anonymous, WV (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

"Door sensor issue - the "open door" light stays on. Told it would require the entire door to be taken off and repaired from inside the door. This wouldn't be covered by warranty so we've had to live with it"

Linda A., NC (2011 Kia Optima LX Unsure)
Locks and latches

"RR door latch stopped working from the inside"

Robert R., FL (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"electrical problems with switch. had to take it to dealers four (4) different times before it was fixed (or at least we haven't had problems with it since)"

P S., VA (2011 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

"The clutch quit working and we were 30 miles from home. We called a tow truck and took the car to a local repair shop. The transmission had to be removed to fix the problem. It cost $900 to repair"

Anonymous, OH (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

"transmission failed a computer analysis yet do not remember the specific problems warranting a full replacement of the transmission"

William B., AZ (2011 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"Dash speaks and rattles and pacemakers can't or will not help. kia CA is giving me the run around"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The problem started after a repair to Nav system. KIA unable and unwilling to fix"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Took several trips to dealer to resolve, but finally temp sensor replaced"

Richard H., ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Extreme cold caused a turbo charger waste gate problem greatly degrading engine performance. A program change was needed to correct"

Samuel Z., NJ (2011 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

"Needed new brakes"

Anonymous, ON (2011 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

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