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.
Uplevel Optimas offer a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in lieu of an optional V6. Acceleration is quick and 24 mpg overall is impressive, given the added power. Larger wheels and more sporty suspension tuning give higher-trim Optimas more agile handling. But SX and Limited models suffer from noticeably more road noise and a stiffer ride, partly due to their low-profile tires.