Kia's entrant in the hotly-contested midsize sedan segment, the Optima, has been known for adventurous Euro-styling as well as satisfying value and features. Redesigned for 2016, the fourth-generation Optima didn’t change dramatically in appearance, though it grew slightly and adopted some European design touches. With the Optima, Kia competes against sedans like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Ford Fusion. Like many rivals, the Optima's available equipment and trimmings push toward near-luxury territory.
What's New for 2017
After redesigning its most popular model last year, Kia is bringing the Optima into 2017 as a carryover with no significant changes. The redesign included the addition of a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and dual-clutch transmission for the LX trim level. New for 2017 is a completely redone Hybrid model and a brand-new Plug-in Hybrid model (both listed separately).
Choosing Your Kia Optima
Kia’s base engine, installed in LX and EX trim levels, is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 185 horsepower. SX and SXL versions get a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder that achieves 245 horsepower. Kia paired both engines with a six-speed automatic transmission.
A 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, rated at 178 horsepower, goes into the LX 1.6T, paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Owners can add bi-xenon headlights that bend around corners on upper trim levels.
The LX 1.6T gets a fuel-economy estimate of 28 miles per gallon in city driving and 37 mpg on the highway, versus 24 city and 34 highway mpg for 2.4-liter models and 22 city and 31 highway mpg for the 2-liter turbo.
Kia offers the Optima in five trim levels:
Only option groups and port-installed accessories are available. Kia offers no individual factory options. Therefore, selecting one of the five trim levels dictates everything from engine to minor conveniences, so choose carefully. Remember, too, that most of those option groups aren’t cheap.