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#14

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $21,500 - $35,300
Invoice: $20,579 - $32,963
MPG: 23 City / 34 Hwy
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Kia Optima Review

The 2014 Kia Optima ranks 14 out of 21 Affordable Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Kia Optima, as well as reliability and safety data.

Test drivers think the 2014 Kia Optima is a good value among midsize cars because of its high-end available features, long warranty and strong engines.

The front-wheel drive Optima is available with a four-cylinder engine or a turbocharged four-cylinder engine on higher trims. Reviewers like the base engine’s ample power, and they’re very impressed with the turbocharged engine’s generous power, saying it feels like a V6. Both engines have an automatic transmission that test drivers praise for its fast, smooth shifts. Base Optimas get 23/34 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is about average for a four-cylinder car in this class. Turbocharged Optimas are estimated at 20/31 mpg. Test drivers say the Optima is more athletic on a winding road than other midsize cars, and they like that it’s still comfortable enough for daily driving duties. Some reviewers think the Optima has numb steering, while others think it’s well-balanced, but all test drivers agree that the Optima has powerful brakes.

Auto writers like that there is plenty of trunk and passenger space in the 2014 Optima, though they note that the sloping roofline can make taller back-seat riders uncomfortable. Reviewers like the upscale amenities that are available on the Optima, like a heated steering wheel, high-end leather seats, heated front and rear seats and cooled front seats, saying that you can equip the Optima similarly to a more expensive luxury car. They also say the touch-screen interface makes it easy to use the audio and navigation systems. The 2014 Optima comes standard with satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth and a cooling glove box. The Optima can be equipped with power-folding mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, HD Radio, navigation, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot detection with cross traffic alert, Kia’s UVO infotainment system, push-button start, proximity key, dual-zone automatic climate control with back-seat vents and an electronic parking brake.

  • "Up until just a few years ago, buying a midsize sedan required sacrificing style at the altar of practicality. However, one look at the Kia Optima's striking sheetmetal reveals that such a tradeoff is a thing of the past." -- Left Lane News
  • “Whether you seek the most basic LX or the top-of-the-line SX Limited, the Optima always delivers more than what its asking price suggests." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Optima aims to deliver upscale accoutrements and a sporty, driver-oriented demeanor at bargain prices, and it mostly succeeds." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "In short, it’s perfect for the majority of people searching for an above average midsize sedan with good manners at a reasonable price." -- Road and Track (2011)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Hyundai Sonata also has a roomy, comfortable interior and critics like the cabin’s styling and build quality. Test drivers are also impressed with the Sonata’s powerful four-cylinder engines and balanced handling.

Reviewers say that if you want a fun-to-drive midsize car, the Nissan Altima’s nimble handling and ample engine power fit the bill. The Altima also has better fuel economy than the Optima.

Compare the Optima, Sonata and Altima »

Details: 2014 Kia Optima

The five-seat 2014 Kia Optima comes in five trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo and Limited. The Kia Optima Hybrid is reviewed separately. LX, EX and SX models have the base four-cylinder engine, while SX Turbo and Limited models have the turbocharged variant. All models have a six-speed automatic transmission. The Kia Optima was last fully redesigned for the 2011 model year and has seen only minor changes since, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2014 model years.

See full 2014 Kia Optima specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/15/14

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