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MSRP: $22,990 - 31,990

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Kia Optima ranked #3 in Midsize Cars. Currently the Kia Optima has a score of 8.2 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 32 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 8.1
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Kia Optima Review

The 2019 Kia Optima finishes in the top half of our midsize car rankings. It has one of the best interiors of any car in the class, but it lags behind some of its competitors when it comes to performance.

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior
  • Spacious, comfortable seats
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Smooth ride
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Some class rivals are more fun to drive

Is the Kia Optima a Good Car?

Yes, the Kia Optima is a good car. Its cabin looks and feels great, and there's ample room for both passengers and cargo. Plenty of active safety features come standard, as does an intuitive infotainment system. The Optima has decent handling and a comfortable ride. However, many rivals deliver better fuel economy. 

Should I Buy the Kia Optima?

The Optima is a good choice that deserves a look from midsize car shoppers. Still, a few other sedans provide everything the Optima does and then some. You should also consider an engaging ride like the Mazda6 or a well-rounded competitor such as the Toyota Camry.

Compare the Optima, Mazda6, and Camry »

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Optima?

The 2019 Optima is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. For 2019, the Optima gains several standard driver assistance features, including forward collision avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane change assist, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring. Beyond that, the 2019 model closely resembles the 2018.

The 2018 model got several new features compared to the 2017. The 2018 Optima was the first model to come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by shopping for a used model instead of a new one, but note that you may miss out on some of the newer model's features. If you are interested in a used model, check out our reviews of the 2018 Kia Optima and the 2017 Kia Optima, and be sure to scope out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Optima »

We Did the Research for You: 23 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Optima generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Kia Optima Cost?

The 2019 Kia Optima starts at $22,990, which is about average for a midsize car. There are three higher trim levels, and the upper two trims each have a distinct and more powerful engine than the base powertrain. The Optima S starts at $24,990, the EX starts at $26,890, and the range-topping Optima SX starts at $31,990. 

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Optima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Optima or Mazda6?

The Mazda6 is one of the most athletic midsize sedans out there. It boasts sharper handling, better fuel economy, and stronger engines than the Optima. Inside, the Mazda looks great and features quality materials, though it doesn't offer as much rear-seat space as some competitors, and its trunk is smaller than the Optima's. The Kia also comes standard with more driver assistance features than the Mazda. At the end of the day, these are two good cars and they finish neck-and-neck in our rankings. The right choice comes down to whether you prefer the Optima’s better interior or the Mazda6’s better performance.

Which Is Better: Kia Optima or Toyota Camry?

The Toyota Camry is one of our highest-rated midsize cars. It offers better performance than the Optima while also providing one of the best interiors in the class. The Camry has comfortable seats and offers plenty of tech features, including a lot of driver assistance tech. An above-average predicted reliability rating vaults the Camry to the very top of the class. The Optima is a good car, but the Camry is an excellent one, and it's the better choice here.

Compare the Optima, Mazda6, and Camry »

Optima Interior

How Many People Does the Optima Seat?

The Optima accommodates five people on two rows of spacious, comfortable seats. In fact, 6-foot-tall adults can ride in the back even if tall people are in the front seats, which is not something you can say about every midsize sedan.

Optima and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The lower anchors are set deep in the seat, but there are no other major problems with the system. It earns an Acceptable rating (the second-highest possible) for ease of use from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Optima Interior Quality

The Optima's cabin is replete with premium materials, and it has a clean, upscale look and feel. Simply put, few other midsize sedans have cabins as nice as this Kia.

Optima Cargo Space

With nearly 16 cubic feet of trunk space, the Optima provides room for all your bags from a grocery store trip or for the family's luggage on a weekend getaway. Some rivals do have larger trunks, but the Optima's is still among the largest in the class. One neat feature is the hands-free trunk, available on upper trims, that makes it easier to get your stuff into the trunk when your hands are full. Just stand behind the car with the key fob on your person, and the trunk lid will automatically pop open after a few seconds.

Optima Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Optima include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, and the UVO infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen. Available features include navigation, a sunroof, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

The UVO infotainment system lets you easily control in-vehicle functions with the responsive touch screen or easy-to-reach physical buttons. The touch screen features crisp graphics that make it easy to read from the driver’s seat.

Read more about interior »

Optima Performance

Optima Engine: Turbo for More Go

The Optima's 185-horsepower base engine does just fine for your daily commute and running errands. But if you want a little more spice in your life, choose one of the two turbo-four engines, which put out 178 and 245 horsepower, respectively. The turbocharged options feel more energetic than the base engine and move this Kia with more purpose.

Optima Gas Mileage: Not So Great

With its base engine, the Optima gets 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which are worse ratings than most other midsize sedans. However, the smaller turbocharged engine gets slightly better gas mileage, earning 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Compared to driving the Optima, the Mazda6 will save you about $100 on gas per year, while the Toyota Camry will save you about $350 per year.

Optima Ride and Handling: A Serene Sedan

This Kia rides smoothly on roads of all conditions. It also provides composed, capable handling, though it doesn't have the athletic feel of some other cars in the class.

Read more about performance »

Optima Reliability

Is the Kia Optima Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Optima a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Kia Optima Warranty

The Kia Optima comes with a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. Those are better warranty terms than you get with most competitors.

Read more about reliability »

Optima Safety

Optima Crash Test Results

The 2019 Optima earned an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with five stars in each of the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Optima the highest score of Good in six crash tests. The Optima recieved a rating of Superior for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention features and a score of Good for how well the headlights illuminate the road ahead. To top it all off, the Optima was named a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick+, the agency's most prestigious award.

Optima Safety Features

Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane change assist, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

Available features include forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a surround-view camera.

Read more about safety »

Which Kia Optima Model Is Right for Me?

You have four trim choices when picking out an Optima: LX, S, EX, and SX. If you don't need one of the turbocharged engines or some of the higher-end comfort and driver assistance features, then the Optima S makes a fine choice. The EX makes a good choice as well. It comes with the smaller of the two turbocharged engines, and nearly every feature you can get in an Optima is either standard or available in the EX.

Kia Optima LX 2.4

The 2019 Kia Optima LX starts at $22,990 and comes standard with a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard infotainment features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, and the UVO infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen.

Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, forward collision avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane change assist, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

An optional Premium package costs $2,000 and includes a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and satellite radio.

Kia Optima S 2.4

The Optima S, which retails for $24,990, features the same powertrain as the base trim. In addition to the LX's features, the Optima S comes with a hands-free trunk lid, cloth and leatherette upholstery, a power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

A panoramic sunroof is optional for $1,000. 

Kia Optima EX 1.6T

Starting at $26,890, the Optima EX comes standard with a 178-horsepower turbo-four engine and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Standard features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, three additional USB ports, and adaptive cruise control.

The $3,100 Premium package includes a panoramic sunroof, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, HD Radio, navigation, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

Kia Optima SX 2.0T

The $31,990 Optima SX comes with a 245-horsepower turbo-four engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The SX comes with a panoramic sunroof, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, HD Radio, and navigation.

The Limited package costs $3,800 and includes Nappa leather upholstery, heated rear seats, rear-window sunshades, and a surround-view camera.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

See 2019 Kia Optima specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Kia Optima boasts a great interior, and it delivers pretty decent performance for a midsize sedan. This car finishes in the top half of a class full of several stellar entries. The Optima is definitely worth buying, but be sure to shop around because you may find something else you like better.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The Kia Optima might not be your first thought when it comes to midsize sedans, but with its good looks, strong turbo engine and huge smattering of onboard tech, it's certainly worth your attention. And with a number of updates for the 2019 model year, the Optima is better suited to battle fresh-faced competitors like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry." -- CNET
  • "In short, the 2019 Kia Optima is an impressive everyday sedan. It's well built, quiet and composed, with good driving manners and easy-to-use interior controls. Moreover, the Optima occupies a sweet spot in overall size -- it's large enough to carry four full-size adults comfortably to, say, dinner, but not so big as to feel ponderous or ungainly on a curvy mountain road. And now, for 2019, the Optima is even better, blessed with some standard advanced safety technologies that complement its slick style and outstanding powertrain warranty." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Kia Optima has always offered a strong value proposition, but the current-generation model takes it a step further with a upscale cabin and all the latest driver aids and luxury features a buyer can expect from a midsize sedan. Competitive pricing, a host of newly standard features and a robust warranty keep the Optima in the running for top-of-class honors." -- Edmunds (2018)


Expert Advice

Last Updated: August 15, 2019

Steady Demand: Sales of the Optima this year are in line with sales from the same period in 2018. The Optima sits in the middle of the midsize car sales rankings; it’s being outsold by dominant competitors like Toyota Camry and Honda Accord more than 2 to 1. 

Research more buying advice »
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