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2017 Kia Optima Review

The 2017 Kia Optima places in the top third of our midsize car ranking. It has superb safety ratings, comfortable seats, and attractive list of standard features, including an outstanding infotainment system.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent safety rating
  • User-friendly technology
  • Comfortable, adult-friendly seating
  • Large trunk
  • Bland handling




Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 8.6
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.7
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Kia Optima Overview

Is the 2017 Kia Optima a Good Used Car?

The 2017 Optima is a very good used car that offers a lot of bang for your buck. Its price tag is lower than most other midsize sedans, yet even the base model is nicely equipped. Shoppers will find its outstanding crash test results and above-average predicted reliability rating reassuring, and families will appreciate its spacious cabin. While the Optima's gas mileage isn't phenomenal, the Kia Optima Hybrid (which we review separately) is essentially the same car with better fuel economy.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Kia Optima in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 22 professional Kia Optima reviews.

The Best Cars team – a division of U.S. News & World Report – has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. With more than 75 years of combined automotive experience, our editors, writers, and analysts rank a wide variety of new and used cars and issue three annual awards: Best Cars for the Money, Best Cars for Families, and Best Vehicle Brands. To keep our recommendations unbiased, we decline expensive gifts from carmakers, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Is the 2017 Kia Optima?

The Kia Optima has a below-average price in its class, and can save you thousands over rivals like the 2017 Honda Accord and 2017 Toyota Camry. The average price of a 2017 Optima is $16,100, and prices range $13,600 to $20,900. That’s based on more than 1,500 listings on our used car site. Factors such as optional features, vehicle condition, mileage, and regional demand affect the actual price you pay.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Kia Optima Cost to Own?

Over five years, expect to pay around $23,400 for insurance, fuel, repair bills, and maintenance costs on a 2017 Optima. These estimates are typical for a used 2017 midsize car.  

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Optima?

You'll get a much better deal buying a used Optima over a new one. Prices for the 2018 Optima start at $22,600, which is about $6,500 higher than the average price of a used 2017 Optima. On the other hand, the 2018 Optima may be a better fit if you're looking for a base model. For 2018, Kia added a bevy of standard features, including a larger touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. That said, you might also be able to find these features on some well-equipped 2017 Optimas.  

Read about the new Kia Optima »

You won’t find any new midsize cars that cost less than the 2017 Optima’s average price. However, another option for shoppers set on buying a new car is the 2018 Kia Soul. Though it’s part of the compact car class, the Soul offers more rear-seat legroom and much more cargo space than the Optima. With its quality materials, playful personality, and optional turbocharged engine, the Soul checks off many boxes. Pricing starts at $16,200.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2017 Kia Optima?

The 2017 Optima has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Optima reliability »

2017 Kia Optima Recalls

As of this writing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued no recalls for the nonhybrid 2017 Optima.

See more information on Kia Optima safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Kia Optima Is Best? 

Shoppers will likely want to skip the previous Optima generation (produced from 2011 to 2015). With the previous generation, you’ll miss out on the performance and interior enhancements introduced with the Optima's 2016 redesign. Models from 2016 and later score higher overall in our rankings than earlier models, thanks to handling upgrades, a new powertrain, and numerous interior upgrades. There isn't much difference between the 2016 and 2017 Optima, so if you want to save a little green, go for the 2016 model year.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Optima »

Which Used Kia Optima Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Optima comes in five trim levels: LX, LX 1.6T, EX, SX and SXL. The entry-level LX is likely the least expensive trim level you'll find, and it comes nicely outfitted with basic essentials like Bluetooth and a rearview camera.

If you're looking for an even better value, we recommend the Optima EX. It comes with a better infotainment system that features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7-inch touch screen. The Optima EX also adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Spirited drivers that want the most get-up-and-go should look for a model with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine (found in the SX and SXL trim levels).

See 2017 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 »

How Safe Is the Optima?

The Optima is one of the few midsize cars with a perfect safety score. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Optima a 2017 Top Safety Pick+, the agency’s highest award. The IIHS also gave the 2017 Optima excellent ratings in every crash test, along with a Superior rating for the available frontal crash prevention technology. The 2017 Optima received five out of a five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also earning five stars in all three subcategories (frontal crash, side crash, and rollover).

Every 2017 Optima comes with a rearview camera. Available safety features include a surround-view monitor, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, cornering headlights, automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning.

See Optima safety scores »

2017 Kia Optima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Kia Optima or 2017 Toyota Camry?

If driving a reliable, practical sedan is your goal, you can’t go wrong with a Toyota Camry. It showcases quality materials throughout its cabin. The Camry is expected to be one of the most dependable cars in its class, and it performs well in crash tests. Though it will cost a little more to own than the Optima, the Camry makes for a pleasant and spacious daily driver.

Which Is Better: 2017 Kia Optima or 2017 Honda Accord?

Honda is often synonymous with dependability. But this maxim doesn't pertain to the 2017 Accord, which has one of the lowest predicted reliability scores in our midsize car ranking. The Accord will also take more of your money than most rivals, between its high purchase price and steep ownership costs. Out of these two, we recommend the Optima.

Which Is Better: 2017 Kia Optima or 2017 Hyundai Sonata?

If you want to keep your costs as low as possible, you should pick a Hyundai Sonata over the Kia Optima. The Sonata’s average price is about $1,000 lower than the Optima’s, and the Sonata costs around $800 less over five years for fuel, insurance, repair bills, and maintenance. Despite these savings, you won't feel like you're settling for second best with the Sonata. The Hyundai has a generous number of standard features that includes a larger touch-screen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.

Compare the Optima, Camry, and Accord »

2017 Optima Performance

How Does the 2017 Kia Optima Drive?

There are three different engines for the 2017 Optima. The base 185-horsepower 2.4-liter engine is perfectly fine for daily driving. A 178-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter engine comes in the LX 1.6T. There’s also a 245-horsepower 2.0-liter engine that powers the SX and SXL trim levels, offering more punch and polish than the 1.6-liter engine. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard, but the LX 1.6T features a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic.

The Optima feels surefooted and smooth in most driving situations. Drivers that lust for sporty dynamics may find this sedan to be a bit boring.

Does the 2017 Kia Optima Get Good Gas Mileage?

For better fuel economy than most midsize sedans, pick a model with the 1.6-liter engine, which gets 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The Optima's base 2.4-liter engine is rated at 24/34 mpg city/highway, which is also good. The fuel-sipping Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-in Hybrid (which we review separately) are even more fuel-efficient.

Read more about Optima performance »

2017 Optima Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Optima Seat?

The Kia Optima seats five. The cabin is roomy enough to accommodate adults comfortably in both rows. Cloth upholstery is standard, though some models are outfitted with opulent upgrades like leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Kia Optima?

There are two complete sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the Optima’s rear outboard seats, along with a tether-only connection in the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2017 Optima’s LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable, citing lower anchors that are too deep in the seat cushions.

2017 Kia Optima Features

The Optima's infotainment system is one of the easiest to use. The base version comes standard with Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, and a 5-inch touch screen. But we recommend stepping up to the optional system. In addition to getting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it has a larger touch screen that is more convenient. The buttons and knobs are a nice addition for those who don’t want to use the touch screen. 

See 2017 Kia Optima specs »

Read more about Optima interior »

2017 Kia Optima Dimensions

Kia Optima Cargo Space

At 15.9 cubic feet, the Optima’s trunk is one of the largest in the class. You can easily fit one carryon suitcase for every traveler on board and still have room for a few smaller bags. The 60/40-split rear seats also fold down to fit larger items. All but the base trim level comes with a hands-free trunk lid that opens automatically when you stand behind the car with the key in your pocket.

Kia Optima Length and Weight

The Optima measures almost 16 feet long. It has a curb weight that ranges from 3,219 to 3,594 pounds.

Where Was the 2017 Kia Optima Built?

Kia built the 2017 Optima in Georgia.

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