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2016 Kia Optima Review

The 2016 Kia Optima ranks in the top third of the highly competitive midsize car class. It has an upscale interior, strong performance, and top safety rankings. Adding to its appeal is an easy-to-use infotainment system.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly tech
  • Roomy cabin
  • Overly sensitive steering

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Kia Optima Overview

Is the 2016 Kia Optima a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Kia Optima is a very good used midsize car with composed handling, a spacious interior, and all-day comfort in the front seats. Its most notable flaw has to do with its steering, which may feel overly sensitive to some.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 19 professional evaluations for this 2016 Kia Optima review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing pricey gifts and trips from auto manufacturers and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Kia Optima?

Based on the nearly 1,200 listings on our site for the 2016 Kia Optima, you can expect to pay between $12,900 and $24,900. The average list price is $17,000. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Kia Optima Cost to Own?

Buying a car is just the beginning of your expenses. Estimated five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Optima are about $21,900, which is a little less than the class average. In comparison, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu will cost you an estimated $22,800 over five years, the 2016 Honda Accord will cost around $23,100, and the 2016 Hyundai Sonata will cost roughly $21,300.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Optima?

The 2018 Kia Optima’s starting price is $22,600. That’s $5,600 more than the average price of a 2016 Optima – but the extra cost may be worth it for tech enthusiasts. The 2018 model gets standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7-inch touch screen, as well as active safety equipment including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. If these features aren’t important to you, go with the 2016. It’s an excellent vehicle and will save you a lot of cash.

Should you opt for the 2018 Optima, you may be able to bring the price down using our Kia deals page.

Read about the new Kia Optima »

If you want a new car for about the price of a 2016 Optima, step down a class and check out the 2018 Kia Forte. This compact car starts at $16,800. The Forte has less front-seat legroom than the Optima, but its rear legroom is comparable. The Kia also has much better fuel economy, at 29 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The Forte sedan’s cargo space is 14.9 cubic feet, slightly smaller than the Optima’s 15.9 cubic feet of space. You’ll also get a new car warranty with the Forte.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Kia Optima?

The 2016 Optima has a reliability rating of 3.5 out of five, which is above average for the industry. However, it’s slightly lower than the reliability ratings of other top-ranked midsize sedans, including the Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, and Chevrolet Malibu.

Read more about Optima reliability »

2016 Kia Optima Recalls

At the time of this writing, there were three safety recalls for the 2016 Kia Optima. The first two involve air bags: the driver’s side air bag may not inflate, and the air bags’ second-stage inflation may not work properly. The third recall involves potential failure of the right front axle driveshaft.

See more information on Kia Optima safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Kia Optima Is Best?

The Optima was completely redesigned for 2016, and there’s little difference between it and the 2017 model. The 2018 model adds technology upgrades like Apple CarPlay, as well as several active safety features, but it’s much more expensive. Models from 2013 to 2015 are good vehicles with overall scores ranging from 8.1 to 8.3, but they belong to an earlier generation. Thus, they don’t benefit from all the improvements the new generation introduced. Still, with so many good models, you’re likely to find one that will fit your needs and price range.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Optima »

Which Used Kia Optima Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Kia Optima comes in five trims: LX, LX Turbo, EX, SX Turbo, and SXL Turbo. The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid is reviewed separately. The LX and EX trims come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the LX Turbo has a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and the SX Turbo and SXL Turbo have a four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The LX has a good deal of standard equipment, including satellite radio and Bluetooth. The EX and SX Turbo trims add leather seating, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic temperature control. The SXL Turbo has premium features like a 10-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat with power lumbar and bi-xenon HID headlights with high-beam assist. The base model offers a lot, but if you want more robust power, go with the LX Turbo.

See 2016 Kia Optima trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. 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 comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts after the five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

Read more about the Kia certified pre-owned program »

How Safe Is the Optima?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Kia Optima a 2016 Top Safety Pick+. The Optima scored Good, the top rating, in all five IIHS crash tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Optima five out of five stars in all its crash tests.

A rearview camera is standard in the Optima. Available active safety features include rear parking sensors, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and a surround-view monitor.

See Optima safety scores »

2016 Kia Optima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Optima or 2016 Honda Accord?

The 2016 Honda Accord delivers a smooth ride and composed handling, thanks to an electric steering system that responds quickly. Both cars have roomy cabins, but the Accord has better interior materials. In contrast, the Optima has a better standard infotainment system. While both are good midsize cars, the edge goes to the Optima because of its lower ownership costs.

Which Is Better: 2016 Kia Optima or 2016 Mazda6?

The Optima and the 2016 Mazda6 are both good midsize sedans – and closely ranked. Some might prefer the Kia because it has one of the nicer interiors in the segment and a more user-friendly infotainment system. However, the Mazda6 has nimble handling and great fuel economy for the midsize class. Your choice comes down to personal preference.

Compare the Optima, Accord, and Mazda6 »

2016 Optima Performance

How Does the 2016 Kia Optima Drive?

The 2016 Kia Optima has a 185-horsepower four-cylinder base engine. Two four-cylinder turbocharged engines are available: one with 178 horsepower, and the other with 245 horsepower.

The base engine has plenty of power, but some might prefer the power of the 245-horsepower turbocharged engine. The 178-horsepower turbocharged engine provides adequate power for most drivers, but it struggles on hills and leaving traffic lights. The 245-horsepower turbocharged engine delivers seamless acceleration from a stop, but rivals' available V6s – like those found in the 2016 Honda Accord and 2016 Toyota Camry – are stronger. A seamless, quick-shifting six-speed automatic transmission is standard, though models with the 178-horsepower engine have a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission.

The Kia Optima has standard front-wheel drive. It feels composed on the highway and on winding roads. The Optima's steering is overly sensitive, but it feels better weighted when in sport mode.

Does the 2016 Kia Optima Get Good Gas Mileage?

With its base engine, the 2016 Optima earns an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, which is close to average for the class. The Optima’s turbocharged fuel economy ranges from 22/31 mpg city/highway with the 245-horsepower turbocharged engine, up to 28/37 mpg city/highway with the 178-horsepower turbocharged engine. Looking for better fuel economy? You may want to consider the 2016 Optima Hybrid, which is rated at 35/38 mpg.

Read more about Optima performance »

2016 Model Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Optima Seat?

The 2016 Optima seats five and has standard cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, heated front seats, a cooled driver’s seat, heated rear seats, and power-adjustable front seats are available. The front seats offer long-haul comfort and more legroom than competitors like the 2016 Accord and the 2016 Camry, but the Optima’s rear seats have less legroom than both rivals.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Kia Optima?

The Optima has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the second-row outboard seats. There's an additional upper tether anchor on the second-row middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Optima an Acceptable rating, the second highest offered, for ease of use. It noted that the lower anchors are positioned too deep in the seat.

2016 Kia Optima Features

Standard features in the 2016 Kia Optima include satellite radio, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a cooling glove box. The Optima can be equipped with a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, a proximity key, dual-zone automatic climate control, and Kia’s UVO infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The Optima's dashboard controls and infotainment system are smartly arranged, easy to see, and simple to use, but some may find the touch screen a bit far from the driver’s seat.

See 2016 Kia Optima specs »

Read more about Optima interior »

2016 Kia Optima Dimensions

Kia Optima Cargo Space

The 2016 Kia Optima has 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is above average for the class.

2016 Optima Length and Weight

The 2016 Kia Optima is 15.9 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,219 pounds to 3,594 pounds, depending on how the model is equipped.

Where Was the 2016 Kia Optima Built?

The 2016 Kia Optima was built at the Kia plant in West Point, Georgia, along with the 2016 Kia Sorento.

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