The Kia Optima is a stylish midsize sedan that features two four-cylinder engine options and an affordable price tag that has made it a favorite choice in recent years. This year’s model returns mostly unchanged after some substantial updates for the prior model year.
This version of the Optima made its debut in 2011 and promptly launched Kia into a hot streak that has continued ever since. With its sporty and luxurious looks and reasonable cost, it became a choice that consumers flocked to and it was accompanied by a strong marketing push.
Styling cues include optional LED fog lights and rear LED tail lights that curve around the sides of the body. There are standard 16-inch alloy wheels, with 17- and 18-inch wheels available as options. Other standard features include dual exhaust pipes and heated side mirrors with turn-signal indicators.
Engine choices feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 274 horsepower and 269 pounds-feet of torque and is available in the SX Turbo and SXL Turbo. The other engine in the LX, EX, and SX trim levels is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 192 horsepower and 181 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines are linked to a six-speed automatic transmission with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy is rated at 23 mpg city, 34 highway for the 2.4-liter and 20 and 31 for the turbo.
In the previous model year, Kia changed the seats in the Optima to make them more comfortable and added bigger screens for the instrument panel. An optional navigation system and a sportier, flat-bottomed steering wheel was also inserted in turbo models. For the most recent model year, Kia added UVO eServices technology, which integrates with smartphones and delivers services such as Geo Fencing and Speed Alerts for parents with teen drivers, Parking Minder and Vehicle Diagnostics.
Add in standard features such as Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, air conditioning, power windows and locks and satellite radio, and the Optima presents a compelling value. There is an optional navigation system with an 8-inch display that takes voice commands and comes with a rearview camera. Other options include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and HD radio.
When it comes to safety, the Optima is highly rated, gaining a full five-star ranking from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Standard safety features include six airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts and rear parking sensor are optional.
The Optima starts at around $23,000 and ranges to around $37,000.
For a stylish, comfortable and highly functional midsize sedan, it’s hard to beat the Kia Optima.