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.
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"This car has "pulled to the left" from the I felt it the day I bought it. I am dissatisfied in that Kia had never fixed the problem and has even forced me to pay for alignments which did not fix the problem anyway. Other issue appears to be an electrical one that has been ongoing: they claim that they cannot "duplicate" the again for me: no satisfaction."

CHERYL S., FL (2012 Kia Optima)

"The 4 cylinder automatic is lively. Drive is firm."

Anonymous, ON (2012 Kia Optima)

"After styling, handling and performance is my next important criteria for selection of a vehicle. Since I drive 600 miles per week, I needed a compromise between good gas mileage and good performance. The Optima provides that compromise. I get up to 34 MPG on the highway. (most of the 600 miles per week are highway miles, thus I average 31 MPG on a tank of gas). However, the efficient 4 cylinder engine comes with a turbo, so when I do want to quickly accelerate, the power is there. For a mid-s"

Anonymous, MI (2012 Kia Optima)

"Acceleration is s little uneven, brakes gran a little at times, gas mileage is excellent, dependable."

TONY T., CA (2012 Kia Optima)

"car does not brake gradually. A light tap and it almost stops short and almost causes accidents"

STEPHEN F., VA (2012 Kia Optima)

"The only gripes we have about this car, so far, is it's handling and acceleration/braking. The car is kind of like driving a boat---or a Cadillac. The suspension is loose. The acceleration as well as the breaking is very touchy/sensitive. Otherwise the car is pretty powerful."

ROGER K., CA (2012 Kia Optima)

"Has a sporty feel and good acceleration -- but lousy gas mileage"

EVELYN H., VA (2012 Kia Optima)

"Driving on highway requires constant re-centering the steering wheel. Wheel alignment doesn't help. It has been reported by numerous owners but Kia would not make recalls. It is a decent vehicle but Kia is a lousy manufacturer."

Anonymous, NJ (2012 Kia Optima)

"Had steering linkage problems within first 10K miles. However, was fixed by the dealer under warranty and was fixed quickly with no problems."

PAUL R., LA (2012 Kia Optima)


Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"The suspension system gives a hard ride on rough city streets at slower speeds. It is good at highway speeds with some road noise on rougher surfaces. I think it is improved on later models."

JOHN H., KS (2012 Kia Optima)

"Passenger side front seat is extremely low and there's no power seat adjustment to raise it. My wife keeps a pillow in the seat when I'm driving so she doesn't feel like she's sitting down in a hole."

JERRY K., TX (2012 Kia Optima)

"The passenger seat sets too low and there is no adjustment to raise it. This makes the passenger seat uncomfortable to ride in for any distance."

KENT B., NY (2012 Kia Optima)

"Seats are only OK and not the most comfortable I've had in a car. Also noisier than I would like on many roads."

Anonymous, NY (2012 Kia Optima)

"Passenger seat is too low. Short passengers complain that they can not see out the front windshield"

ART P., AZ (2012 Kia Optima)


JASON C., MN (2012 Kia Optima)

"The seats are heated or air cooled. Ride is fine"

BILL T., GA (2012 Kia Optima)

"No adjustment on passenger seat. Sits too low with no adjustment possible."

TOM L., WI (2012 Kia Optima)

"Seats with cooling and heating are nice, but are hard and not comfortable on long drives."

SIRI V., WA (2012 Kia Optima)

"Heated and cooled front seats. Heated rear seats. Driver lumbar Memory 2 positions of driver seat"

PHILIP K., WI (2012 Kia Optima)

"I am only 5'9" tall but the seat to door entrance height is so low that I have to bend my head to my chest to enter onto the drivers seat - even with the seat in its lowest position. Other than that I love this car."

KENT V., GA (2012 Kia Optima)


Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Gas mileage is worse than I thought it would be."

MARY G., MO (2012 Kia Optima)


How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"Always getting compliments, and asked what the vehicle is."

KARIN L., MO (2012 Kia Optima)

"Still looks very current almost 5 years later. The newer Optima turbos actually have less horsepower than mine. The warrranty can't be beat and they extended the drivetrain warranty to 120k miles."

CLINT J., UT (2012 Kia Optima)

"Of course, styling is objective... however, for both my wife and me, styling is one of the major criteria for selecting which auto to purchase. Both of us were very excited about the styling, both inside and out, of the 2012 Optima."

Anonymous, MI (2012 Kia Optima)

"The side and rear styling is very nice in white with the black all glass sunroof. People often think it's much more expensive than it is."

SIRI V., WA (2012 Kia Optima)

Would you buy this car again?

2012 vehicles
Ford Fusion
Honda Accord
Hyundai Sonata
Kia Optima
Mazda 6
Toyota Camry
Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
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