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2013 Kia Optima Review

The used 2013 Kia Optima boasts a class-leading safety score and an upscale interior with roomy seats and straightforward technology. Still, it ranks in the middle third of a very competitive class. Its reliability scores are good, but not great. 

Pros & Cons

  • Athletic handling
  • Intuitive tech features and upscale available features
  • Good fuel economy
  • Limited rear headroom




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.8
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2013 Kia Optima Overview

Is the 2013 Kia Optima a Good Used Car?

The used 2013 Kia Optima is one of the better midsize sedans available. It offers a handsome, well-made, spacious cabin with high-tech features. It also has two strong engines and enjoyable driving dynamics. Tall passengers, however, may find back-seat headroom lacking.

Used 2013 Kia Optima Performance and Interior

Powering the front-wheel-drive 2013 Kia Optima is a 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine that generates zippy acceleration for both city and highway cruising. A peppier available turbocharged four-cylinder engine generates 274 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The base Optima gets up to 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is impressive for a midsize sedan. The Kia Optima has agile handling, powerful brakes, and a refined ride. However, its steering doesn’t provide much feedback.

Read more about Optima performance »

The five-seat Kia Optima sedan has an upscale interior featuring top-quality materials that are unexpected in an affordably priced sedan. The dashboard’s audio and climate controls are well laid out. There is plenty of seating space for adults, though the sedan could use more headroom for tall riders. There are complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats, as well as an upper tether anchor on the rear middle seat. At 15.4 cubic feet, the Optima has plenty of trunk space for a midsize car.

Standard features include satellite radio, USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth, and a cooling glove box. Some used Optima models may have an eight-speaker Infinity surround-sound stereo, HD Radio, voice-controlled navigation, Kia’s user-friendly UVO infotainment system, a proximity key with push-button start, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Read more about Optima interior »

Used 2013 Kia Optima Prices

The average price paid for a 2013 Kia Optima ranges from about $11,000 for the base trim up to about $14,800 for the top trim level. 

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We Did the Research for You: 39 Reviews Analyzed

Our used car rankings are based on our analysis of professional automotive reviews alongside data like crash test scores, reliability ratings, and ownership expenses. We researched 39 Kia Optima reviews to help you decide if the 2013 Optima is the right used car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, our staff never takes expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2013 Kia Optima?

The 2013 Optima has a reliability score of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is average for the automotive market as a whole.

See Optima reliability scores »

How Safe Is the Optima?

The 2013 Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid (reviewed separately) have the highest safety scores in the class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+ and gave it the top rating of Good in four out of five crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2013 Optima a perfect five stars for overall safety, as well as in all three of its crash evaluations. Some used Optima models come with a rearview camera.

See Optima safety scores »

Is the 2013 Optima the Best Model Year to Buy?

The 2013 Optima is part of the car's third generation, which ran from the 2011 to 2015 model years. You could save money by choosing a used 2012 Optima instead of a 2013 model. However, you should also consider the 2014 Optima; it offers notable upgrades, including interior and exterior styling, infotainment improvements, and more available active safety features.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Optima »

Which Used Kia Optima Is Right for Me?

The Optima has three trims: LX, EX, and SX. The Optima LX – the base model – should satisfy most shoppers, as it comes well-equipped for the class. The Optima EX adds some styling upgrades, heated rear glass, power-folding outside mirrors, push-button start with a proximity key, rear air conditioning, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver's seat. The Optima SX doesn’t add much besides its turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and sport seat trim.

You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Optima. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile Platinum warranty for non-powertrain parts. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully. The model's original sale date determines whether or not it is eligible for the CPO program.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »
Read more about the Kia certified pre-owned program »

2013 Kia Optima and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2013 Kia Optima or 2013 Honda Accord?

Both cars are good, but there are trade-offs with each. The Accord's four-cylinder engine gives you slightly better fuel economy, while the Optima's offers 15 more horsepower. The Accord has a better reliability rating and more standard features, including a rearview camera. Still, the Accord isn't nearly as fun to drive as the Optima.

Which Is Better: 2013 Kia Optima or 2013 Hyundai Sonata?

The Sonata and Optima are similar in several ways, including fuel economy estimates, interior styling, and overall size. Although the Sonata has a better reliability score, the Optima is the superior midsize car for a few reasons: it has a better safety score, stronger and quieter engines, and sharper driving dynamics.

Compare the Optima, Accord, and Sonata »

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