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 last year, the 2016 Optima shows that Kia has turned a corner. It still looks great, and now it comes with more substance. Why is it that some cars fly under the radar? You think more people would know about a certain vehicle and embrace its goodness.
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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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
NA
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
NA
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
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
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
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
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

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 last year, the 2016 Optima shows that Kia has turned a corner. It still looks great, and now it comes with more substance.

Why is it that some cars fly under the radar? You think more people would know about a certain vehicle and embrace its goodness. And yet, for whatever reason, the model doesn't catch on with the mainstream.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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
  • 7-speed Sequential
  • 6-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 1.6-liter 4 turbo (178 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 turbo (245 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 hybrid (199 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 (185 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2016 Kia Optima owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Android Auto

"It started about 6 months ago. It occurs Daily now. Isdue Not resolved, ongoing."

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Backup or other camera/sensors

"Dealer performed software update. Problem resolved."

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Back up camera fails to come on a few times and some times it will not go off until you place it in park."

Ronald S., FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Has had to go in to dealership twice to be reset"

Ryan T., CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"It was intermittently not available. When trying to pull up navigation, dialog box indicated the smart card was not accessible. Since it was covered by warranty it was replaced."

Anonymous, NC (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"The Blue Tooth system regarding the playing of music works at time.s. I have a Android Smartphone that is tied in with the Audio System."

Anonymous, VA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Speakers

"The Harmon/Kardon sound system is outstanding-- however one of the front dashboard speakers sounds like it is blown (a raspy sound which gets worse if the volume is increased)."

David E., CA (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The upgraded audio system is very poor quality, it sounds like all of the speakers are bad."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Front dash speakers were buzzing and distorting. I replaced them with aftermarket units ($70 for the pair). It took about an hour to do. No problems since then."

Jonathan R., CA (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Steering wheel controls

"some buttons on steering wheel would activate the wrong command. (example: volume up button would cause the voice command activate."

Alan G., SC (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Voice control commands

"Giving a voice command in a clear and strong voice doesn't always connect for the phone call. It may take several times or will not connect at all. Local dealer has acknowledge problem but unable to fix it"

Anonymous, VA (2016 Kia Optima EX 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

Air or water leaks

"vibrating sound in the sun roof"

Anonymous, AZ (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Vibration of sun roof when closed"

Anonymous, NY (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Squeaks or rattles

"The instrument panel directly in front of the driver squeaks and rattles virtually any time there is an imperfection in the road surface."

Anonymous, TN (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"making noise when hitting brake going to dealership soon"

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"There is a rattle in the sunroof"

Anonymous, ON (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Since purchase, I have had popping noises in the rear seat area that are not on a consistent basis. It usually occurs when driving over uneven pavement. Dealer has not been able to determine cause"

Anonymous, VA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Since purchasing the Kia Optima, 12-3-17, the full sun roof pops and snaps when the car makes a turn at an angle. It has been in numerous times and was finally fixed about 5 months ago. However, the same problem has returned and it is scheduled to go in again next week. I first read about this problem in Consumer Reports and brought the report to the Service Department staff. They put some clips in the back left corner of the sun roof. Lasted for awhile. The voice command system is very erratic and has been since purchase. I complained upon purchase and they stated they don't see a problem. But the service department has the same problems I do when a command is given and it may or may not recognize it. Very poor system."

Anonymous, VA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"I purchased this car used in December 2019. This is the plugin EX model with the pano sunroof. I bought the car with a very large rattle (over large bumps) and took it to a dealer to be fixed right away. After a month another rattle surfaced in the sunroof that sounds like a loose bolt in the sunshade cover or glass. When I took it back to the dealer they said that it would most likely be out of warranty and I'd most likely have to pay hundreds of dollars for labor/diagnosis. The problem still remains and I'm trying to live with the noise since a fix is not guaranteed. Ultimately I've been let down by KIA service."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Wind noise

"very quiet on many roads. A high degree of road noise from rough black top highways"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The sunroof"

Anonymous, IN (2016 Kia Optima SXL 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"At highway speeds, the cabin is noisy."

Anonymous, NY (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"The panoramic sunroof required a remounting due to a vibration that was caused by looseness and wind at driving speed, Made a thrumming noise inside the cabin."

James L., NY (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"chips and scratches"

Chuck M., NV (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Paint is peeling off the front fenders. This began less than a year after purchase"

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"paint flecked off the front spoiler"

Robert L., AZ (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Paint is easily scratched and on the front balance the paint is flaking off"

Anonymous, TX (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"door trim on Optima SX faded and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Rust

"When this car was only two years old I found matching rust spots on the rear door."

Matthew G., FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Hood latch scrapes underside of hood paint off causing removal of paint and subsequent rusting of that area."

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 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

Normal routine brake wear

"Brakes started making a funny noise, and I took the car to a trusted shop, which diagnosed pads and rotors wearing down. I had them replaced."

Richard C., NY (2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"normal wear"

Melvin F., OH (2016 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Parking brake

"The second day i parked on a hill and set the parking brake. When we ttied to leabe it woul s not release. We called a service gruck and they were a b le to het it to release. I took it in to the dealer for service and set the brake on a hill in feont of the dealership. The service manager could not hey it to release and after she exited the car the emergency brake released on it's own and the car lurched back. The car went in for service and the result was that i was told not to push the e"

Michael B., PA (2016 Kia Optima EX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Premature brake wear

"squeaking, shaking while breaking and expensive replacement"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Rotors

"rotors warped after 40000 miles seem premature"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaking

"Squeaky brakes. Dealer charged $200 and problem not solved. Personal mechanic replaced and resurfaced rotors anf problem went away."

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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

Glass defects

"Since the panoramic sunroof is not safety glass, and developed looseness requiring repair within two years, it could have caused a serious problem if it fractured and shattered from vibration."

James L., NY (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Sunroof

"There is a rattle in the sunroof"

Anonymous, ON (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Brand new car and sunroof would not close once opened. Took to Car Pros Kia in Carson, California 3 times (total of 17 days). They could not fix it. Then took to Kia of downtown Los Angeles and they told me track was bent so first open / close of sunroof burnt out the motor. They had my car for 23 days and finally fixed the sunroof by replacing it"

Kenneth C., CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The sunroof was improperly fitted and would rattle making a wobbling sound. The problem became worse as the car aged. It started intermittently and then went to pretty much all the time after the first 15 minutes of driving. Three visits to the dealer and they were never able to replicate the sound. I recorded and took video and demonstrated what would trigger and disengage the rattle to finally get it fixed. This problem sucked all the joy out of the ownership experience."

Robert L., AZ (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Panoramic roof developed a low rumble/drumming sound at speeds over 40 and needed to have whatever adhesive method reapplied by the dealer, under warranty"

James L., NY (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

"All 4 window motors stopped working and had to be replaced. I purchased extra warren-tee. TG"

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima EX Unsure)

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

Headlights

"Headlights, when in automatic mode, would shut off for no apparent reason at different times. It took the dealer, who initially said they couldn't duplicate, two weeks to fix it. A warranty is useless if dealers are constantly finding reasons to avoid warranty work."

Matthew G., FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Left headlight assembly did not work at purchase. Was replaced within first week"

Anonymous, IN (2016 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"at times when driving the headlights switch on the dashboard comes on and the headlights go off for about 5 seconds. This happens when I have the "Auto" switch selected"

Anonymous, TX (2016 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Nite beam adjustment"

Anonymous, WV (2016 Kia Optima Unsure Unsure)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"will not work every time."

Ronald S., FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"This system is now working only with a truck in front of me. It does not recognize automobiles"

Anonymous, IA (2016 Kia Optima SXL 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"My brakes went on and stopped the car while going about 30 with nothing in front of me. Scary."

Anonymous, IA (2016 Kia Optima SXL 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Pipes

"There was a recall regarding one of the pipes connected to the turbo which was replaced under warranty."

David E., CA (2016 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

Driveline vibration

"car vibrates at 60 mph"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Driveshaft or axle

"Recall from Kia Motors re: right front axle. Replaced by dealer. There were no problems with the axle before receiving recall notice"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Traction control

"was not working very well in snow and had to turn it off"

Richard H., NY (2016 Kia Optima LX 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

"Engine hesitates up to 6 or 7 seconds, then shifts roughly. They cant find the problem"

Anonymous, PA (2016 Kia Optima 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Immediately had problems with shifting around 30 mph. Took it back at least four times to address the issue. On visit to replace the entire transmission. That didn't work. They finally updated the software and fixed the problem. Ridiculous that the transmission had to be replaced to figure out it was the software. Overall I'm happy with the car but it takes many visits to fix even the simplest things. They never have parts in stock. Never !"

Anonymous, MA (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"sensor needed to be replaced as the transmission was slipping"

Richard H., NY (2016 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"engine smoothness connected with vibration"

Anonymous, CA (2016 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Oil leaks

"uses oil"

Anonymous, KS (2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"The technicians' could not fix the rough shifting problem, so the transmission was replaced. That did not work and the 'Lemon Law' option was successfully invoked"

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"This replacement was just part of the mindless, brute force replacement of parts until the problem is solved. It's really sad that they cannot correctly diagnose simple computer software problems. I really can't be the first one reporting the problem. It's all over the internet. Too bad, I like the car overall but the service and available parts are sub-par."

Anonymous, MA (2016 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

Evaporator

"The evaporator system failed and was replaced,"

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6-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

"I took the car to dealership for an aligment which was done wrong. On the second try they kept the car in the shop for six hours and finally the car tracked well but suddenly after that the car was bouncing over bumps to the point that the service representative mentioned it during the ride. I mention this as an example of how so many times I have take the car to dealer for a simple fix and they have returned it with the repair undone or with additional problems that did not exist prior to this. This happened with> A/c, a coolant exhange, a check-up, etc. etc. Each time a new problem popped up immediately after takint the car to the dealer. On the last time, I found that the dealership mechanic had spilled coolant over the alternator. The cleaned it but then I had a window malfunction, rims damaged and tired unevenly inflated 5 psi over the max allowed on the tire!"

Anonymous, FL (2016 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

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

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

Engine Cooling

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

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.

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