2008 Kia Optima


$3,838 - $4,420

2008 Kia Optima Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2008 Kia Optima was new.


Interior: 7.8

The 2008 Optima's five-seat interior is well-received for comfort and style. Car and Driver writes, "Stuffed with people, the Kia proved spacious and well planned." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the cabin "isn't fancy, but it's neatly designed and functional."

Adding to the comfort of the interior is the Optima's extremely quiet cabin. In fact, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "this is one of the quietest cars on the road -- including luxury vehicles that cost two or three times as much." MSN also notes "the Optima's quiet new interior is more upscale and will accommodate four tall adults, or five in a pinch."


With 104.2 cubic feet of passenger space, the Optima is "one of the more spacious cabins in the midsize segment," according to Automobile.com -- and roomier than "most midsize sedans," according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. On top of that, reviewers generally find seats to be comfortable. Of the front, Car and Driver says "Posteriors in front sink into buckets with a cushy top layer akin to a pillow-top mattress. Side support is wanting, but few complaints were noted during long freeway slogs." Consumer Guide notes "Sufficient leg room" and "adequate head room for tall drivers." Edmunds offers a final bit of praise, commenting "Front seat passengers will be especially grateful for the class-leading 43.7 inches of legroom."

The rear seat receives praise too, although it doesn't fare quite as well as the front. Car and Driver likes that "The rear bench is high off the floor, keeping knees at a happy angle while toes have room to park under the front seats." Cars.com finds the three-seat rear bench better suited for two passengers, noting "The backrests of the outboard seats are angled for comfort and there's enough legroom for adults. A little more headroom wouldn't hurt, but it's adequate. The center position's upright backrest, lack of headroom, and hard cushion and seatback won't win over passengers." Consumer Guide says there's "Adequate room and comfort for two adults." But, knee room becomes tight "if front seats are far back."

Cars.com issues a warning about the cloth seats, which are standard in all Optimas: "I found the cloth front seats to be very uncomfortable; my lower back was sore after a 45-minute trip. The leather front seats are firm and have seat cushions that feel narrow due to bolstering, but they are much more comfortable than the cloth ones." On either model, the leather seat is available with the optional Leather Package, which also features heated front seats and more power features.

Interior Features

For 2008, the Optima has more standard and optional interior features than ever. As Car and Driver puts it, "this car is stuffed with stuff." Design and quality upgrades also impress. About.com says "The highlight of the Optima is its interior, which is built to Japanese levels of quality, functionality and decor. Take the dash: It's made of good quality plastics in various colors and finishes." Kia updated its Supervision gauges for the Optima's 2008 model.

The base LX Optima "come standard with a high level of comfort and convenience features," according to Cars.com. These include air conditioning, cloth seat trim, power windows and door locks, an AM/FM/CD audio system, six speakers with door-mounted tweeters, and front and rear height-adjustable headrests. The more luxury EX adds automatic temperature control, keyless entry, an upgraded Infinity AM/FM/MP3/Casette audio system with in-dash six-CD changer, Infinity speakers with subwoofer and amplifier, steering wheel audio controls, a tilt and telescopic steering column, a trip computer, an 8-way power driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob. For 2008 the base Optima no longer features a cassette player, but instead adds an auxiliary input jack.

Stereo and Entertainment

Reviewers love the Optima's upgraded Infiniti audio system, which is optional on the base model and standard on the EX. It features an AM/FM/MP3/casette audio system with in-dash six-CD changer, and six Infinity speakers with a subwoofer and amplifier. Edmunds says it's "fairly exceptional, especially when you consider the Optima's price" and notes "Bass is deep and adds to the overall rich, full quality of the sound, and the highs and mids are also clear. Separation is good but not excellent but the system is not prone to distortion even at high volume." The reviewer also appreciates the controls, which are "straightforward and easy to use." The icing on the cake is a cassette player, which has become a rare feature in new cars.


The 2008 Kia Optima provides 14.8 cubic feet of cargo space, an increase from the previous 13.6-cubic-foot model. Cars.com finds this capacity "comparable to its competition," while the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says it's "significantly less than the 16.3 cubic feet in the Sonata, but roomier than the 14.0 cubic feet in the Accord sedan." The 60/40-split rear seats fold down to increase cargo room, although they don't sit completely flat according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Several reviewers, including MSN, comment on the ease of opening the large trunk, which has a "low, wide opening and a lid that rises easily on gas struts." The Auto Channel says the trunk is "one of the largest in the class, with external struts to prevent luggage damage and a convenient power outlet."

Reviewers find that there are a decent number of in-cabin storage spaces in the Optima. Auto Mall USA describes the glove box as "easily large enough to accommodate gloves plus the owner's manual, a cell phone and a radar detector." The Optima also features magazine pouches on the back sides of the front seatbacks and four cup holders.

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