• Sexier exterior
  • Hybrid engine option, turbocharged engine option
  • Aggressively priced
  • So-so dynamics don't match sporty looks
  • Interior feels cramped
  • Big pool of rivals

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for Optima in 2014

The 2014 Kia Optima receives a mild refresh that includes redesigned front and rear ends. The instrument cluster and the aluminum wheels are redesigned, too...more

Vehicle Summary

The Optima is Kia's best-selling vehicle, but it doesn't sell nearly as well as its competition. That's because it competes with cars like the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, and Toyota Camry. Rivalries among mid-size sedans are fierce, and well-established family sedans edge out newcomers like the Optima. Kia's not very worried, though. There will always be buyers in the market for a mid-size sedan, and the automaker has one of the most attractive mid-sizers available. It's even prettier for 2014, thanks to redesigned front and rear fascias. It's a bold and stylish sedan in a segment full of milquetoast four-doors, but it stands out only because of its styling. The well-established family sedans are polished, and the 2014 Kia Optima needs a bit more of that before it can nip at the heels of Honda's and Toyota's cars.

Overview

With bold, sharp lines, the 2014 Kia Optima looks almost as sporty as the Mazda 6. Unfortunately for Kia, the Mazda 6 is actually sporty. To squeeze any sportiness from the 2014 Kia Optima, you need to opt for an SX or SX-T model, which get turbocharged engines. If fuel economy matters more to you than sportiness does, opt for the hybrid, which is rated at 36 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. If you want the most basic powertrain possible, that's the 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine in the Optima LX and EX. The LX starts at about $22,000, but Kia's volume leader is the Optima EX, which starts around $25,000. The EX comes well equipped at that price, with standard features including seventeen-inch aluminum wheels, push-button ignition, Bluetooth, illuminated front cupholders, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a six-speaker audio system, and leather-trimmed seats.

Except for the hybrid, all Optimas benefit from a mild update for the 2014 model year. Most of the changes are visual: redesigned LED positioning lights, redone aluminum wheels, new seat designs, and reworked front and rear fascias. There's now a 4.3-inch thin-film-transistor LCD instrument cluster that comes standard. Some Optimas can be optioned with a navigation system, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a new blind-spot monitoring system, which includes rear cross-path detection and rear parking sensors.

With this year's update, the Kia Optima is more stylish than ever and continues to be one of the best-looking mid-size sedans on the market.

Key Competitors

  • Ford Fusion
  • Honda Accord
  • Nissan Altima
  • Toyota Camry

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