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, the 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 2 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, the 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-liter 4 electric (202 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 hybrid (193 hp)
  • 2.4-liter 4 (185 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2017 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

Backup or other camera/sensors

"Backup short distance proximity system did not work from purchase date. Dealer performed a Firmware update in order to make backup proximity sensors active."

Anonymous, ON (2017 Kia Optima Plug-in 2.0-L 4 Cyl plug-in hybrid)
Display screen freezes up

"When shifting into reverse, the display screen would occasionally freeze to an image of when the vehicle was turned off. Any other vehicle or pedestrian would not appear. My wife and I got into the habit of moving the steering wheel slightly to see if the backup rectangles would move at all. If they didn't we had to turn the vehicle off and on again to fix the problem. We worried that a parking lot attendant could kill or injure someone, by running into this problem. After months of complaints and visits to the Kia dealer, they finally replaced the display unit. This seems to have fixed the problem."

Harry G., CA (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"Since I bought the vehicle, my backup camera/backup display freezes intermittently. The display shows what I presume is what the camera sees when the vehicle is turned on, but doesn't update. This is highly dangerous, since pedestrians or other vehicles may be behind it. I have taken to moving the steering wheel slightly to see if the yellow box moves. If it doesn't I put the vehicle in park and then reverse again. This seems to clear things up. I am extremely concerned that anyone who gets behind the wheel might experience the problem and not know it, causing damage, injury or even a fatality. I have taken the vehicle to the dealer to resolve the problem over 10 times, since I purchased the car, but they have been unable to reproduce the intermittent problem."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Display screen goes blank

"Another issue with the display that still hasn't been fixed. Three or four times when turning on the car, the display would stay blank. Turning the car off and on again has fixed the problem. The Kia dealer has not been able to fix the problem."

Harry G., CA (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"Spotify on phone or Phone Navigation only works sometime, and only if plugged into the USB port, will not work with Bluetooth."

Anonymous, HI (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"gps is out of date, dealer wants $180 to update. I thought s was by satellite. this caused a lot of friction between myself and the dealership. VERY poor service!"

Anonymous, NV (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"started @ purchase, every time we use it it seems to have a different problem,takes us to a wrong address i.e. we needed to go to an ER in a different city and it took us to a residential area. told the dealer about this, they said it was just a glitch."

Anonymous, NV (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"GPS system must have a poor database as about 30 - 50% of the time, it couldn't find businesses that have been around for a long time."

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Radio

"Extremely spotty reception on my side of the island (Oahu). Other cars in the area do not have this problem."

Anonymous, HI (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Routine software updates

"Again dealership did nothing."

Anonymous, NV (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)
Speakers

"Driver side speaker works intermittently. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to when it works or doesn't work. It is not tied to the HD availability with stations. But it was not able to be reproduced at the dealership, so they can't fix it. It is just frustrating to have the speaker right next to me going in and out randomly. It does not affect the safety or drive-ability of the vehicle."

Pamela P., MN (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Transmission Minor

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

What Owners Say

Gear selector or linkage

"Would not move out of park"

Anonymous, NC (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"The dealer make an upgrade but did not retighten properly"

Anonymous, NC (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rough shifting

"down shifting into first and second gears when in traffic or approaching a stop light or sign was like climbing on the brakes! When I took it in to be checked out, there was a service bulletin addressing the issue so it was known."

Anonymous, MN (2017 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Transmission computer

"There was a service bulletin addressing the issue. The dealer did a software update that corrected the issue"

Anonymous, MN (2017 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Engine (rpm) began racing when gas pedal depressed but no increase in speed. After arriving home, I could not get the car into Park and all systems were inoperable. I called a tow truck and the driver showed me how to reset the system with the shift lock release."

Bruce J., FL (2017 Kia Optima)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

"Failing to shift properly"

Mark F., VA (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"Vehicle would not start. Get hybrid battery checked light was on. Dealer had several parts replaced: electric oil pump assembly, sealing, seal-oil, bolt-seal, etc."

Anonymous, WA (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Minor scrapes of the front bumper cause significant patches of paint to come off."

J M., CA (2017 Kia Optima Plug-in 2.0-L 4 Cyl plug-in hybrid)

"The paint chipped easily from stones etc."

Anonymous, (2017 Kia Optima Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Rust

"Surprised to see rust behind the back right wheel well."

Doug K., MN (2017 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Small rust spots have appeared in lower front fender area."

Michael H., LA (2017 Kia Optima EX 1.6-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

Doors or sliding doors

"bottom on drivers door stuck out from body 1/4 needed adjustment."

Anonymous, IA (2017 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Locks and latches

"Left rear door handle fell off. Covered under warranty. Made it unable to secure vehicle door locks."

Michael H., LA (2017 Kia Optima EX 1.6-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Trunk wouldn't stay shut/latched."

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Windows

"Wind noise on right rear window. Dealership could hear it, but did not fix it. When I picked up the vehicle they claimed it was fixed. It was the same."

Doug K., MN (2017 Kia Optima SXL 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)

"notified of emission problem by service people"

Anonymous, AZ (2017 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Fuel injection system

"It was a factory recall to repair potential problems with the GDI system. I experience no issues. Kia was being proactive, which is yet another reason I have been totally satisfied with Kia in general."

Dorothy L., GA (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Check engine light came on at about 7500 miles. Initially was told the gas cap wasn't tightened. But the light persisted. Required the dealer to remove the gas tank and replace some sensor only accessible then."

Anonymous, CA (2017 Kia Optima Plug-in 2.0-L 4 Cyl plug-in hybrid)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Rear right passenger window toward the back has wind noise when traveling over 35 mph. Brought into dealership twice. The last time during a ride along they confirmed they heard it too, claimed fixed. Same sound in same location still present. It is disappointing although not worth a third visit."

Doug K., MN (2017 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaks or rattles

"Rattle in sun roof which was corrected"

Anonymous, TX (2017 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Loose or improperly installed sun roof. Required two days of repair."

Anonymous, MD (2017 Kia Optima SXL 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"code indicates AEB not working. came on twice. took in to dealer to check out.could not find anything wrong. i'm still worried"

Anonymous, IL (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

"They said I must have hit something, like a curb, that damaged the frame holding the automatic braking mechanism. I certainly don't remember that; was surprised to encounter the problem."

Kenneth G., VA (2017 Kia Optima Hybrid 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"Light came on went to dealer for diagnosis, took 2 hours for diagnosis. They had to order parts as they never have parts in stock. Had to return 2 weeks later to have parts put in."

Anonymous, PA (2017 Kia Optima EX Unsure)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"a link between the gas engine and the electric power broke"

Norman O., CA (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.0-L 4 Cyl hybrid)

"Kia had a recall to install updated software with a Knock Detection System. I've heard Kia has had many complete failures of the 2.4 L 4-cyl engines (Theta engine)."

Anonymous, OR (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

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

"left side of air vents blew cold and right side blew warm. dealer went thru 4 steps before replacing heater box and condenser"

Anonymous, IL (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Automatic climate control

"worked on and off since car was 4 months old dealer unable to locate problem finally stopped working all together they do not know why"

A T., NH (2017 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

"While going 70mph on an interstate, the car suddenly began sputtering, bucking, slowing down considerably with the Check Engine light blinking. It basically left me stranded on the highway. Luckily I was near an exit ramp and was able to nurse the car off the highway. Got towed to an auto garage where they could not find the problem. They did manage to get it running smoothly, and sent me on my way. Took to a Kia dealer who, after three days, told me they replaced the wiring harness. All is working fine, but I just don't trust it any longer."

Mark H., NY (2017 Kia Optima EX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)
Electrical failure

"control modular failure started last august 800 miles no ac heater climate check eng light on problem was intermittend went back to dealer i bought the car from twice could not locate problem told me i had to drive car at least 15 miles for control modual to respond problem continued to get worse check eng light now stays on steady brought car to another dealer said sensor was bad replaced sensor problem is now worse said to bring car back they are not sure what the problems is Have tried to call kia national service center several time with no luck was on hold for two and a half hours before i hung up"

A T., NH (2017 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)

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

Body control module

"ac stopped working heat ran on hotest setting all the time temp sensor read -20 when working found problem on line dealer said it wasnt problem brought car in twice couldn/\'t fix it left car for almost 3 weeks fixed problem which was the original problem i found on line usb port not working when car came back kia factory srvice very poor"

Alan T., NH (2017 Kia Optima SX 2.0-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Headlights

"The mentioned problems were all the result of a computer glitch and Several months before the dealer accepted the problems and took action. I do not have any problems since they took action."

J S., QC (2017 Kia Optima Plug-in 2.0-L 4 Cyl plug-in hybrid)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Car would not drive more than 15 mph. Dealer replaced the transmission."

Bernie K., CA (2017 Kia Optima)

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

"Engine computer indicated an internal malfunction and put the engine in”limp home” mode (I.e. partially disabled). Was told that engine would require replacement. After waiting over 3 months for the replacement engine, during which time we were provided with a rental car, Kia finally decided that the problem was in a wiring harness. After that was repaired, we received the car back. That was about a month ago and so far no further problem."

Anonymous, NY (2017 Kia Optima 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

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

Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"the steering wheel was stiff at 40mph and above..Steering wheel would jerk as you made fine steering adjustments. It has been repaired with a new steering column done under warranty."

Anonymous, FL (2017 Kia Optima LX 2.4-L 4 Cyl)

Brakes

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

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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