TEST DRIVE: The Kia Optima Is A Turbocharged Alternative In A Bland World

Kia Optima

Photo: Chris Tracy / Every Man’s Auto

This post originally appeared on Every Man’s Auto.
The Kia Optima was redesigned for 2011 and is no longer a bland family sedan. The Optima’s updated styling and powertrains have put it at a level that rivals and even outperforms industry heavyweights like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

The pillars of the family sedan class both have V6 options that don’t produce as much horsepower or MPGs as the Optima’s turbo-charged four cylinder engine.

If you’re looking for a family sedan and have become tired with the usual contenders, then it might be time to do a hamster dance. Don’t buy the Soul, just do the dance.


Base Price: $26,500
As Driven: $31,600
Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder Turbo, 274 hp
Transmission: 6 speed Shiftable Automatic
Curb Weight: 3,385 lbs.
Wheelbase: 110 in.
MPG Rating: 24 city/ 35 highway

Chris Tracy spends his days wading through the minefield that is middle school in middle America. He rarely says the right thing and continually sticks his foot in his mouth. When he’s not moulding America’s youth, he can be found at the nearest road course obsessively trying to get faster. Check out more of his work at Every Man’s Auto. If you are starting a car search and want help narrowing it down, send Chris an email at [email protected].



We love the look of the new Optima. From the side it looks like an Audi A6. From the front it has an accented black grille with chrome outline. The Optima also has side vents just in front of the driver and front passenger doors.

To offset the bright Xenon bulbs at the front, there are LED taillights out back. LED's will last forever and definitely look very modern and stylish. We can't wait to see how people react to LED's in 15 years, but they're futuristic enough that they still might be up to date.

We really liked the look of our Titanium Grey test car. The 18' eight-spoke wheels were a nice touch and looked great. The car had a fantastic stance.




Overall we liked the Optima. As you come down from the SX model, the suspension becomes less sporty and it loses horsepower.

The price drops accordingly, but the SX was the most entertaining model. There isn't an all-wheel drive option, but the front wheel drive should be enough, unless you live in Northern Minnesota. The cargo volume is acceptable and rear seat room was great.

The Optima is definitely a car to put on your list if you're in the market for a family sedan. We are still leaning towards waiting for the 2013 Ford Fusion, but that's just us.

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