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Kia Optima

Power and price keep the competition on their toes.


The Optima sedan was all-new two years ago and, for the most part, has not seen many changes since then. The Optima is still impressive, however, with bold lines and sporty proportions that give it a lot of curb appeal. The Optima is based on the Hyundai Sonata, and although they use the same running gear, the two cars share no exterior body panels. The base engine for the Optima is a 200-hp direct-injected four-cylinder. A 274-hp turbocharged in-line four and a Hybrid model round out the power choices. The Hybrid gets excellent fuel economy but doesn’t have the most polished hybrid powertrain in the segment. The base engine also gets very good fuel economy, and the turbo adds lots of power without much of a mileage penalty. The turbo four can be found in the Optima SX Limited, the newest trim level for the car. It includes nappa leather seats, eighteen-inch chrome wheels, LED daytime running lights, red brake calipers, chrome exterior accents, and wood interior accents. The current Optima has little to do with the milquetoast Optima sedans of the past. The four-door sedan is larger and rides on a longer wheelbase that frees up an additional 2.9 inches of legroom. The Optima is built in Kia’s plant in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Sorento. Optima Hybrids, however, are imported from Korea.


Ford Fusion

Honda Accord

Hyundai Sonata

Toyota Camry

new for 2013

The LX manual transmission and EX turbo models are no longer available. There’s a new “Kia” badge on the hood, trunk, and steering wheel of all Optimas. Remington red replaces spicy red as an exterior color.


Front, side, and side curtain air bags; active front headrests; ABS with brake assist; stability and traction control; and hill assist are standard.

High Mileage


CITY 22–35

HWY 34–40


Sharp-looking design

Good fuel economy

Aggressively priced


Big pool of rivals

Not particularly sporty

Base Price Range: $21,975–$27,250


DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: LX, EX, SX, SX Limited, Hybrid

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.0L turbo I-4, 274 hp, 269 lb-ft

2.4L I-4, 200 hp, 186 lb-ft

2.4L I-4/electric hybrid, 206 net hp, 195 net lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic


CARGO SPACE: 15.4 cu ft

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