The Kia Optima is a midsize four-door sedan. The Optima’s third generation was introduced as a 2011 model. The second-generation Optima ran from 2006 to 2010. The Optima has always been considered a moderately sporty sedan with its variety of V6 and inline-4 engines. Kia continues to aim for sportiness with the inclusion of a more powerful, turbocharged engine in its third generation.
A used Kia Optima sets itself apart from its competitors like the Ford Fusion, Mazda 6, Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata, by offering entry-level luxury and performance at a modest price.
When looking at an Optima, shoppers have three core choices to choose from and each one comes down to desire and intent. One options is the Optima Hybrid which offers great fuel economy in a stylish package. Another option is opting for a manual transmission paired with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine which makes for a very fun-to-drive vehicle. The third option is a 2.4-liter Optima that delivers great performance and fuel economy. The third choice is a nice middle ground between the turbo and hybrid offerings and the most popular.
Because the Optima has been such a hit since the third generation was introduced in 2011, it has seen numerous accolades.
- 2013 International Car of The Year
- 2013 IIHS Top Safety Pick
- U.S. News & World Report 2014 Best Cars for the Money Award
Optima Engine and MPG
The second-generation Optima is available with two engines, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 2.7-liter V-6. While the engines remain unchanged throughout the generation, there was slight, yet negligible performance increase in 2009 that coincided with a mild update.
In 2011, Kia dropped the V6 engine, instead offering a potent turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine. Another addition was a 2.4-liter engine which saw a significant performance and MPG increase. A hybrid version of the 2.4-liter was also available by pairing the engine with a 30kW battery to increase fuel economy.
Second Generation (2006 – 2010)
- 2.4-liter (161-175 horsepower, 163 lb-ft of torque) about 25 MPG combined
- 2.7-liter (185-194 horsepower, 183 lb-ft of torque) about 23 MPG combined
Third Generation (2011 – Present)
- 2.0-liter Turbo (274 horsepower, 269 lb-ft of torque) about 26 MPG combined
- 2.4-liter (200 horsepower, 186 lb-ft of torque) about 28 MPG combined
- Hybrid (206 horsepower, 195 lb-ft of torque) about 36 MPG combined
Optima VS Sonata
The Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata are platform siblings. They offer the same engines, but are wrapped in two distinctive packages. The Kia Optima is the sportier of the two offerings as the Hyundai Sonata tries to surround the driver and occupants in unobtrusive luxury.
Both have similar starting prices and resale value. However, the Kia Optima can get pricey quickly as it does offer more features when directly compared to the Sonata. Ultimately, deciding between the two comes down to what fits best into a budget and which styling is more appealing.
Written by Anthony Alaniz