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2011 Kia Optima Review

The Kia Optima received a full redesign for 2011 and reviewers were impressed with the changes Kia made. High on their list of pros were its sleek, sporty styling and its roomy, upscale cabin, which comes with lots of standard tech features.

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome styling
  • Exceptional safety scores
  • Spacious, well-built cabin
  • Some reviewer complaints of thin seat cushioning




Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Kia Optima Overview

When Kia redesigned the Optima for 2011, they replaced the 2010 model’s bland looks with attractive, eye-catching sheet metal and sporty wheels. Critics loved its exterior when the 2011 Optima was new, saying it was one of the best-looking cars in its class. The interior received positive comments for its voluminous passenger and cargo space, numerous standard features and upscale materials. Reviewers liked the 2011 Optima’s overall performance, saying that they were happy with the base engine’s power. The Optima also has outstanding safety scores and gets up to 24/35 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class.  

While the Optima has numerous positive attributes, some test drivers noted that the Optima’s seats had thin cushioning and were uncomfortable on longer road trips. Another potential downside is that a few reviewers said the 2011 Optima’s handling wasn’t as sporty as the car’s looks would suggest. 

The 2011 Kia Optima has either a four-cylinder or turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels. The base Optima comes with keyless entry, Bluetooth and a stereo with USB/auxiliary connections, CD player and satellite radio. Higher trim levels add navigation, push-button start, dual-zone climate control and leather seats to the list of standard equipment. Standard safety features include six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and traction control.

See the full 2011 Kia Optima specs »

Other Cars to Consider

Another stylish car to consider is the redesigned 2011 Hyundai Sonata. Test drivers liked its dramatic looks, spacious interior and good fuel economy. The Sonata’s solid safety ratings help make it a top contender among used midsize cars.

The 2011 Honda Accord is available in sedan and coupe body styles with a wide variety of powertrain configurations. The Accord’s available V6 engine was well-liked for its smooth acceleration, and overall, reviewers praised the Accord’s good steering and controlled handling. Additionally the Accord’s higher safety ratings may make it a more appealing used car than the Optima.

Compare the Optima to the Sonata and Accord »

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