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$22,990 - $31,990
$22,990 - $31,990

Pros & Cons

  • Elegant, spacious interior
  • Top-notch safety score
  • Long list of standard, intuitive features
  • Two peppy turbocharged engine options
  • Less athletic than rivals
  • So-so acceleration with base engine

New for 2019

  • Refreshed interior and exterior design
  • Several active safety features became standard

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 7.6
Interior: 8.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Kia Optima Overview

Is the 2019 Kia Optima a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Kia Optima is a good used midsize car. It boasts a luxurylike, roomy interior, and it has user-friendly tech features. Every model comes with a healthy serving of standard active safety technology, and the car has top-notch crash test ratings.

The Optima's minor downsides deal with performance, but there are remedies for most of these issues. The base engine is a little underpowered and returns subpar fuel economy for the class, but an available turbocharged variant is peppier and pretty fuel-efficient. There's another turbo option that's much more powerful. This Kia offers a comfortable ride, but handling is dull. The top-spec trim aims to change that via a sport-tuned suspension.

Why You Can Trust Us

We analyzed 32 Kia Optima reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 Optima is the right used car for you.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined auto industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much is the 2019 Kia Optima?

Based on listings for the 2019 Kia Optima, the average list price is $17,066. Prices range from $22,990 to $31,990 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2019 Kia Optima Cost to Own?

The 2019 Optima’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, taxes, fees, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $25,400, or $5,080 per year. That’s slightly below average for the class.

2018 vs. 2019 Kia Optima: What's the Difference?

There are a few notable differences between the 2019 and 2018 Kia Optima. For 2019, Kia refreshed the sedan's interior and exterior design. The newer model also has more standard driver assistance features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, driver attention monitoring, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Optima »

Here are key changes for the current-generation Kia Optima over the past few years:

  • 2016: fully redesigned with three new engine options, a newly available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and plenty of new features 
  • 2017: automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive headlights, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control became available
  • 2018: blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay made standard; S trim debuted
  • 2019: refreshed styling; several active safety features became standard

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 Optima, 2017 Optima, and 2018 Optima full reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Reliable Is the 2019 Kia Optima?

The 2019 Kia Optima has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about Optima reliability »

2019 Kia Optima Recalls

There have been 1 safety recalls issued from NHTSA.

FORWARD COLLISION AVOIDANCE: AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING Recall Date: 07/18/2019
  • Summary: Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain 2019 Optima vehicles equipped with Gamma 1.6L Turbo-GDI or Theta II 2.0L Turbo-GDI engines. A software error in the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) system may cause the braking assist function to not engage when a stationary vehicle is detected.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 11423
  • Consequence: Improper intervention of the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist can increase the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Kia will notify owners, and dealers will update the FCA software, free of charge. The recall began August 27, 2019. Owners may contact Kia customer service at 1-800-333-4542. Kia's number for this recall is SC179.
  • Dates of Manufacture: MAY 20, 2018 to MAY 28, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: SC179
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V539000

See more information on Kia Optima safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Optima Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Kia Optima comes in four trim levels: LX, S, EX, and SX. Each trim also carries a numerical designation, corresponding to one of the car's three available engines. We detail which powertrain belongs to which trim below. Front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission come standard in every model.

The EX has a good combination of features and engine power. With this trim, you'll get a turbocharged engine, leather seats, adaptive cruise control, and all the added features from the S trim. That list includes satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and proximity keyless entry.

  • Kia Optima LX 2.4: The Kia Optima LX comes standard with a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats, alloy wheels, and an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth. Standard active safety features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, driver attention monitoring, automatic high-beam headlights, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, and a rearview camera. Available features include a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a panoramic sunroof, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
  • Kia Optima S 2.4: The Kia Optima S adds cloth and synthetic leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, proximity keyless entry, hands-free trunk access, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
  • Kia Optima EX 1.6T: The Optima EX features a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This trim gains genuine leather upholstery, heated front seats, three additional USB ports, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake, and a leather-wrapped shift knob. Available features include navigation, HD Radio, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, ambient interior lighting, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, and a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings.
  • Kia Optima SX 2.0T: The top-of-the-line Kia Optima SX comes with a 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It adds all the available features from the EX trim, as well as LED headlights and fog lights, a sport-tuned suspension, paddle shifters, adaptive headlights, a flat-bottom steering wheel, a color driver information display, a panoramic sunroof, and red brake calipers. Available features exclusive to this trim include Nappa leather upholstery, heated rear seats, a surround-view parking camera system, and power-folding outside mirrors.

See 2019 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 as well as a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts. 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Optima an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in each of the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 Optima the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. The IIHS awarded a Top Safety Pick+ designation to the Optima’s top SX trim and its adaptive LED headlights, which earned a Good rating for how well they illuminate the road ahead. The headlights in all other trims received the lowest rating of Poor.

The IIHS uses a different scale for grading collision avoidance features. The Optima earned the highest rating of Superior for its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention technology.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Driver attention monitoring
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Pedestrian detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Surround-view parking camera system

See Optima safety scores »

2019 Kia Optima Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2019 Kia Optima or 2019 Toyota Camry?

The 2019 Toyota Camry is one of the few midsize cars that outranks the Optima. Both cars are great picks, but the Camry rates much better for performance. It's more athletic and fun to drive than the Optima, and its base engine returns some of the highest fuel economy numbers in the class. The Toyota also has a much stronger available engine, a 301-horsepower V6.

These cars have several similarities, including perfect safety scores, long lists of standard safety features, user-friendly technology, and good predicted reliability ratings. The Optima has a larger trunk and comes standard with Android Auto, which is not available in the Camry. Also, you'll likely see a lower price range for used Optima models by a few thousand dollars. If you have a higher budget and prioritize a fun drive, pick the Camry. However, the Optima provides a little more value for your money.

Which Is Better: 2019 Kia Optima or 2019 Kia Forte?

The 2019 Kia Forte earns an impressive ranking in the compact car class. It has one of the largest trunks in its segment, nearly matching the capacity of its larger Optima sibling. However, while the Forte's second-row space is good for its class, the Optima is noticeably better in that regard, and it has a much nicer interior quality compared to the many hard plastics in the Forte. The Forte is only available with one weak engine, and it has a lower safety score than the Optima. You’ll likely pay several thousand dollars more for it, but the larger Kia is the clear winner if it fits within your budget. If it doesn’t, the Forte is a solid consolation.

Compare the Optima, Camry, and Forte »

2019 Optima Performance

How Does the 2019 Kia Optima Drive?

The 2019 Kia Optima delivers a comfortable and composed ride over most pavement and keeps you undisturbed from larger bumps in the road. Handling is just OK. You won't notice much body roll around corners, but there's little feedback from the road. Many class rivals are more athletic overall.

The Optima comes standard with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. It's fine for everyday commuting, but it's pretty uninspiring. Two turbocharged four-cylinder engines are more attractive. One has less horsepower than the standard engine, but the turbocharger and added torque provide livelier acceleration. The other turbo-four mill is a lot more authoritative.

  • Base engine: 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:
    • turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque
    • turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard six-speed automatic; available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Does the 2019 Kia Optima Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2019 Optima's fuel economy is all over the place. With its standard engine, EPA estimates are a little below average for a midsize car. The smaller turbo-four rates better against some rivals, but the larger turbo-four gets poor fuel economy compared to the rest of the class.

  • 2.4-liter four-cylinder: 25/35 mpg city/highway
  • 1.6-liter turbo-four: 27/37 mpg
  • 2.0-liter turbo-four: 21/30 mpg

Read more about Optima performance »

2019 Optima Interior

How Many People Does the 2019 Optima Seat?

The 2019 Optima sedan seats five people in two rows. Both rows offer ample comfort and plenty of space, and even taller people are able to stretch out. The Optima's cabin is full of top-notch materials, and everything is wrapped up in a handsome design. Simply put, this is one of the nicest interiors in the class.

Standard seating features:

  • Cloth upholstery
  • Six-way manually adjustable front seats

Available seating features:

  • Cloth and synthetic leather upholstery
  • Genuine leather upholstery
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • 10- or 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat
  • 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat
  • Driver's seat memory settings
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Heated rear seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2019 Kia Optima?

The 2019 Optima has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the rear outboard seats and an upper tether for the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use because the lower anchors are set too deeply in the seats.

2019 Kia Optima Features

Kia's UVO infotainment system is user-friendly and straightforward. The touch screen responds quickly to your inputs, the menus are easy to navigate, and it’s simple for the driver to reach the screen and all the physical controls that make up the rest of the dashboard and center stack.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a USB port, a six-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: navigation, satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, two rapid-charge front USB ports, a rear USB port, and HD Radio
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient interior lighting, a color driver information display, and a panoramic sunroof

See 2019 Kia Optima specs »

Read more about Optima interior »

2019 Kia Optima Dimensions

Kia Optima Cargo Space

The Kia Optima has 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is pretty good for a midsize car. Hands-free trunk access is available.

2019 Kia Optima Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 11 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,230 to 3,558 pounds

Where Was the 2019 Kia Optima Built?

Kia built the 2019 Optima in Georgia.

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