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#13

in Affordable Midsize Cars

MSRP: $21,650 - $35,500
Invoice: $20,715 - $33,140
MPG: 23 City / 34 Hwy
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Kia Optima Review

The 2015 Kia Optima ranks 13 out of 19 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.

Critics like the Kia Optima’s upscale features and powerful engines, though they suggest checking out the competition before you decide.

The 2015 Kia Optima has a four-cylinder engine, and a turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes with higher trims. Test drivers think both engines deliver plenty of power, and they’re really impressed with the minimal turbo lag and added power of the turbocharged engine. All models have an automatic transmission that test drivers say makes good use of the engines’ power. The base 2015 Optima gets an EPA-estimated 23/34 mpg city/highway, which is a little low for the class. Most test drivers think the Optima is capable on a winding road, and they like that it delivers a comfortable ride. Some reviewers think the Optima has numb steering, while others think it’s well-weighted.

Car reviewers like the abundant legroom and trunk space in the 2015 Kia Optima, though they caution that the sloping roofline cuts down on back-seat headroom. The Optima is praised for its high-end materials and handsome cabin, and critics like how many upscale features are available, like a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats. They also like that the touch screen makes it easy to use the audio and navigation systems. The 2015 Kia Optima comes standard with Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs and a cooling glove box. Available features include power-folding mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, an Infinity surround-sound audio system, HD Radio, navigation, leather seats, heated front seats, a cooled driver seat, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, Kia’s UVO touch-screen infotainment system, push-button start, proximity key and dual-zone automatic climate control.

  • "The 2015 Kia Optima has evocative styling and an impressive set of features, but there are several other exceptional midsize sedans available that are also worth a look." -- Edmunds
  • "Along with a shapely form, the Optima also offers class-leading power and a long list of standard features, meaning it deserves consideration from utilitarians in addition to aesthetes." -- Left Lane News
  • "If you're from the school of thought that says family sedans equal boring rides, then you need to take a spin in the 2015 Kia Optima. The Optima's seductive styling makes this reasonably priced 4-door look more like a $50,000 sport sedan. Where most midsize sedans follow a rather conservative path, the Optima ventures toward the exotic." -- AutoTrader
  • "With the Optima, Kia strives to provide high-end features and an engaging driving experience at bargain prices, and it mostly succeeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • “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 (2014)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Subaru Legacy is fully redesigned for 2015 and comes standard with all-wheel drive, which isn’t offered on the Optima. The Legacy gets better fuel economy than the Optima and test drivers praise its nimble handling, sharp steering and powerful brakes.

Critics like the Mazda Mazda6’s high-end cabin materials and ample rear-seat headroom. The Mazda6 is also considered one of the most athletic handlers in the class, and it gets great fuel economy for a midsize car.  

Compare the Optima, Legacy and Mazda6 »

Details: 2015 Kia Optima

The five-seat, front-wheel drive Kia Optima comes in five trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo and SXL Turbo. The Kia Optima Hybrid is reviewed separately. LX, EX and SX models have a four-cylinder engine, while SX Turbo and SXL Turbo models have a turbocharged four. 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 2015 model years.

See 2015 Kia Optima specs »

Review Last Updated: 11/10/14

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