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8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 7.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.7
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Kia Optima Review

The 2015 Kia Optima has plenty of pep, a smooth ride, a polished interior, and easy-to-use tech features. However, its lackluster handling, subpar fuel economy, and headroom-challenged rear seats contribute to its midpack ranking.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable ride
  • Quick acceleration
  • Straightforward infotainment system
  • High-end interior
  • Less nimble than rivals
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Rear seats cramped for tall passengers

2015 Kia Optima Overview

Is the 2015 Kia Optima a Good Used Car?

Although the Kia Optima is a good car, other midsize cars have better road manners and can more easily accommodate taller passengers in the rear seats.

Used 2015 Kia Optima Performance and Interior

The Optima's standard four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission work well together to deliver brisk acceleration, even when passing and merging on the highway. An available turbocharged four-cylinder provides quicker acceleration that puts the Optima in line with V6-powered rivals. The Optima has a pleasant ride and stable handling, but it doesn’t feel as nimble as some other midsize cars. Front-wheel drive comes standard. The Optima returns 20-23 mpg in the city and 30-33 mpg on the highway, which is below the class average. We review the Kia Optima Hybrid separately.

Read more about Optima performance »

The Optima’s premium interior materials complement its handsome cabin design. Cloth upholstery and seating for five come standard. Available seating amenities include leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and power-adjustable front seats. The Optima has plenty of legroom in both the front and the back. However, the sedan’s sloping roofline cuts into rear-seat headroom, which may be a problem for taller folks.

Standard features include a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a USB port, and a cooling glove box. Upper trims and various packages add more features, like a panoramic sunroof, an eight-speaker Infinity audio system, navigation, push-button start, a proximity key, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Look for models with the UVO eServices system, which is one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems on the market.

Read more about Optima interior »

Used 2015 Kia Optima Prices

The average price of a used 2015 Kia Optima ranges from about $13,600 for a base model LX trim to around $23,100 for the SXL Turbo. Prices fluctuate with demand and depend on the vehicle's condition, mileage, and location.

We Did the Research for You: 45 Reviews Analyzed

Our reviews do not reflect our personal opinions. Instead, we make our recommendations after pulling together and examining other professional reviews, reliability ratings, and safety scores.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for 10 years. Our autos team has over 75 years of automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't take gifts and trips from car companies, and a third party handles our advertising.

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How Reliable Is the 2015 Kia Optima?

The 2015 Kia Optima has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power and Associates, which is typical for the midsize car class.

Read more about Optima reliability »

How Safe Is the Optima?

The 2015 Optima has fantastic safety scores. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a Top Safety Pick, one of the agency's top awards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave it a perfect five-star overall rating. 

Available driver assistance features include a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Some of the Optima’s rivals offer more sophisticated driver assistance features, like adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

See Optima safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Optima?

The Optima’s third generation includes the 2011 through 2015 model years. For 2014, Kia updated the Optima’s styling and added new available features, like keyless entry, push-button start, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and new infotainment screens. Kia updated its UVO eServices system for 2015, adding functions like speed alerts and curfew reminders. You can save some money by getting a 2014 Optima, which offers many of the same features as a 2015 model.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Optima »

Which Used Kia Optima Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Kia Optima comes in five trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, and SX-Limited Turbo. To get a good amount of features without going broke, go for the EX trim. It comes with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat. The Technology package adds the UVO eServices system, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

To minimize many of the risks associated with buying a used car, consider a certified pre-owned model. 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.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

2015 Kia Optima and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Optima or 2015 Hyundai Sonata?

Although the Hyundai Sonata shares its platform with the Optima, the Sonata is an overall better car. The Sonata is better on gas and offers more rear-seat space, making it more accommodating for taller rear-seat passengers. The Sonata also earns a higher predicted reliability rating than the Optima, and it has more available driver assistance features, like forward collision warning and lane departure warning.

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Optima or 2015 Nissan Altima?

The Nissan Altima and the Optima have much in common, including strong engines, a classy and high-quality interior, and limited rear-seat headroom. The Altima is more fun to drive, returns better fuel economy, and offers an available V6 engine (the Optima’s upgraded engine is a turbocharged four-cylinder). However, the Altima doesn't ride as smoothly as the Optima, and it lacks some of the Optima's standard features, like satellite radio, a USB input, and a cooling glove box.

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Optima or 2015 Honda Accord?

Instead of the Optima, go for the Honda Accord. Its standard four-cylinder engine offers superior fuel economy to the Optima’s, and it has more rear-seat legroom. The Accord comes with more standard features, like dual-zone automatic climate control and a rearview camera. While the Optima focuses primarily on ride quality, the Accord strikes a good balance between composed handling and a smooth ride. Unlike the Optima, the Accord offers an array of configurations, like a coupe body style and manual transmission availability. The Accord's engine upgrade is a V6, while the Optima has an available turbo-four.

Compare the Optima, Altima, and Accord »

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