City mpg:
Highway mpg:

Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.

2018 Kia Optima Sedan Overview

The standard features of the Kia Optima LX include Theta II 2.4L I-4 185hp engine, 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 16" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, electronic stability.

2018 Kia
Optima Sedan

Starting at: $22,600

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  • Air conditioning
  • Speed control
  • Power windows
  • 1-touch down
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Illuminated entry
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • Telescoping steering wheel
  • Driver vanity mirror
  • Passenger vanity mirror
  • Emergency communication system
  • Front beverage holders
  • Rear beverage holders
  • Overhead console
  • Driver door bin
  • Passenger door bin
  • Rear door bins
  • AM/FM radio - SiriusXM
  • Internal memory capacity (GB) - 1 GB
  • Radio data system
  • Steering wheel mounted audio controls
  • Speakers - 6
  • Wireless phone connectivity - Bluetooth
  • 1st row LCD monitors - 2
  • Primary LCD size - 7.0"
  • Smart device integration - Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
  • Basic warranty - 60 months/60,000miles
  • Powertrain warranty - 120 months/100,000miles
  • Corrosion perforation warranty - 60 months/100,000miles
  • Roadside assistance coverage - 60 months/60,000miles
  • Max seating capacity - 5
  • Front seats - bucket
  • Power 2-way driver lumbar support
  • Front center armrest
  • Rear seats - bench
  • Split folding rear seat
  • Rear seat center armrest
  • Engine displacement - 2.4 L
  • Engine horsepower - 185hp @ 6,000RPM
  • Engine torque - 178 lb.-ft. @ 4,000RPM
  • Engine bore x stroke - 88.0mm x 97.0mm (3.46" x 3.82")
  • Compression ratio - 11.30 to 1
  • GVWR - 2,060kg (4,541lbs)
  • Exterior length - 4,854mm (191.1")
  • Exterior body width - 1,859mm (73.2")
  • Exterior height - 1,466mm (57.7")
  • Wheelbase - 2,804mm (110.4")
  • Front legroom - 1,156mm (45.5")
  • Rear legroom - 904mm (35.6")
  • Front headroom - 1,011mm (39.8")
  • Rear headroom - 960mm (37.8")
  • Front hiproom - 1,422mm (56.0")
  • Rear hiproom - 1,422mm (56.0")
  • Front shoulder room - 1,476mm (58.1")
  • Rear shoulder room - 1,433mm (56.4")
  • Passenger volume - 2,968L (104.8 cu.ft.)
  • Interior cargo volume - 450 L (16 cu.ft.)
  • Interior maximum cargo volume - 450 L (16 cu.ft.)
  • Rear cargo - trunk
  • Power door mirrors
  • Heated door mirrors
  • Turn signal indicator mirrors
  • Tailpipe finisher - chrome
  • Door mirrors - body-color
  • Bumpers - body-color
  • Engine liters - 2.4
  • Cylinder configuration - I-4
  • Horsepower - 185hp @ 6,000RPM
  • Torque - 178 lb.-ft. @ 4,000RPM
  • Number of valves - 16
  • Variable valve control
  • Variable intake manifold
  • Engine location - front
  • Recommended fuel - Regular Unleaded
  • Transmission - 6 speed automatic
  • Mode select transmission
  • Manual-shift auto - Sportmatic
  • Drive type - front-wheel
  • Fuel economy combined - 29mpg
  • Fuel tank capacity - 18.5gal.
  • Fuel economy city - 25mpg
  • Fuel economy highway - 36mpg
  • 4 wheel disc brakes
  • ABS brakes
  • Brake assist
  • Dual front impact airbags
  • Dual front side impact airbags
  • Overhead airbag
  • Knee airbag
  • Occupant sensing airbag
  • Panic alarm
  • Perimeter/approach lights
  • Security system
  • Electronic stability
  • Traction control
  • Anti-whiplash front head restraints
  • Adjustable head restraints - driver and passenger w/tilt
  • Four wheel independent suspension
  • Front anti-roll bar
  • Rear anti-roll bar
  • Power steering
  • Speed-sensing steering
  • Alloy wheels
  • Front tires - 205/65HR16.0
  • Rear tires - 205/65HR16.0
  • Wheel size - 16"
  • Fully automatic headlights
  • Delay-off headlights
  • Variably intermittent wipers
  • Rear window defroster
  • Front reading lights
  • Display - analog
  • Tachometer
  • Outside temperature display
  • Low tire pressure warning
  • Trip computer
  • Parking sensors - rear
  • Blind spot sensor - warning
  • Rear collision - Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) warning
  • Exterior parking camera rear


  MSRP Engine Transmission City/Hwy mpg
LX 2018 Kia Optima Sedan LX Search New $22,600   185-hp 2.4L 4-cyl  6-spd auto  25 / 36  
S 2018 Kia Optima Sedan S Search New $23,600   185-hp 2.4L 4-cyl  6-spd auto  23 / 32  
LX Turbo 2018 Kia Optima Sedan LX Turbo Search New $24,400   178-hp 1.6L 4-cyl  7-spd auto with auto-shift  28 / 37  
EX 2018 Kia Optima Sedan EX Search New $25,700   185-hp 2.4L 4-cyl  6-spd auto  24 / 34  
SX Turbo 2018 Kia Optima Sedan SX Turbo Search New $30,600   245-hp 2.0L 4-cyl  6-spd auto  22 / 31  


Driving Impression

New Car Test Drive

Mannerly on the road, the Optima yields a comfortable, composed ride. Handling is competent and nicely balanced, if short of sporty. Steering feels crisp when turning and sharp on curvy roads. Body lean is noticeable in quick turns, but appropriate for the midsize-sedan class.

Most buyers should be satisfied with the smooth-running 2.4-liter engine and 6-speed automatic, though a hard push on the gas pedal may be needed when passing. Torque output peaks around 4,000 rpm. Downshifting becomes necessary on steep grades in mountainous terrain.

The optional 1.6-liter turbo responds more promptly, with greater efficiency, but performance is impeded by the indecisive dual-clutch transmission. Lacking refinement, it tends to lurch through the seven gear ratios.

Greater driving enjoyment comes from the 2.0-liter turbo in the top SX trim level. Downshifts are prompt, and engine output peaks at a low 1,350 rpm. Paddle shifters provide best control over the 6-speed automatic. Vibrations from the 2.0-liter are subdued by abundant sound-deadening materials.

All Optimas have three selectable drive modes, Eco, Sport, and Normal, which alter throttle response and transmission operation. Most of the time, Normal feels best.

Optima Hybrids also ride smoothly, coping with rough roads better than a gas-engine model. Hybrid power is sufficient, despite the additional weight of the battery pack. The electric motor also smooths gearchanges from the automatic transmission. Unlike some competitors, the Optima Hybrid won’t lock in EV mode.

Kia was among the first automakers to limit its midsize lineup to four-cylinder engines, but fuel economy trails some rivals. The base LX 2.4-liter has been EPA-rated at 25/36 mpg City/Highway, or 29 mpg Combined. In EX trim, the 2.4-liter drops to 24/34 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined.

The 1.6-liter turbo is estimated at 28/37 mpg City/Highway, or 31 mpg Combined, while the 2.0-liter turbo is far less thrifty, at 22/31/25 mpg. The Hybrid is EPA-rated at 39/46 mpg City/Highway, or 42 mpg Combined. Fuel-economy ratings for 2018 models have not yet been announced.

Walk Around

New Car Test Drive

Visually, every Optima, including the base model, qualifies as handsome and distinctive, with an appealing profile. Viewed from the side, the Optima looks sufficiently stretched-out to give it almost the look of a sporty rear-drive model.

The Optima isn’t as revolutionary as it used to be, but curves still run rampant on the shapely body. Though highlighted by a coupe-like roofline, it’s not angled steeply enough to threaten headroom. Except for some small badges on front fenders, and a specific grille, Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid models differ little from gas-engine Optimas.

Interior Overview

New Car Test Drive

Unlike some competitive midsize sedans, whose base versions seem a bit cheap, the Optima feels substantial even in base LX trim. Spacious and nicely-appointed, the cabin is sensible and practical, yet attractive.

Though comfortable, front seats are lower than some, but promise space for long-legged passengers. Deep side bolstering provides fine support.

Most back-seat passengers get sufficient head clearance. Six-footers are likely to be satisfied, though taller folks might feel limited by the sloping roof. Wide rear doors ease entry/exit.

Interior designers extended the Optima’s dashboard forward as well as into corners, which helps visibility. Dials, buttons and controls are easy to understand and use, as is the infotainment interface. Excellent fit and finish affirms Kia’s recent efforts to rise from its early role as a low-budget choice, closer to a premium brand.

Occupants can anticipate a quite ride. Steps have been taken at the windshield, front windows, body panels, and dashboard to suppress any engine thrum and other unwanted noise. SX trim benefits even more from bountiful sound-deadening materials. So do the Hybrid sedans, which are even quieter.

At 15.9 cubic feet, trunk space is about average for a midsize sedan. Split rear seatbacks fold down when extra space is needed. Hybrid trunks are less roomy: 13.4 cubic feet in the regular version, and only 9.8 in the Plug-in Hybrid.


New Car Test Drive

Kia offers quite a lot in a midsize sedan. Value is still a strong factor, but Optimas also offer handsomely distinctive design, a comfortable ride, and ample features. Active-safety equipment is available, though most is optional only for upper trim levels. No Optima feels cheap in any way, including the base model. Some Optimas approach premium status, with a premium price.

Driving impressions by Aaron Cole, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.

Model Lineup

New Car Test Drive

LX 2.4 ($22,500) comes with the 2.4-liter engine and 6-speed automatic, cloth upholstery, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, 16-inch wheels, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.

LX 1.6T ($24,300) substitutes the 1.6-liter turbo engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

S 2.4 ($23,500) gets the 2.4-liter engine and 6-speed automatic, adding cloth/leather upholstery, 17-inch wheels, unique rear spoiler, and 10-way power driver’s seat. Options include a panoramic sunroof.

EX 2.4 ($25,600) adds leather seat upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, pushbutton start, and woodgrain trim. Active-safety features are optional.

SX 2.0T ($30,500) moves up to the 2.0-liter turbo, 18-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, ventilated power front seats, dual chrome exhaust tips, glossy black trim, foglamps, and LED headlights.

Hybrid Premium ($25,995) includes cloth seat upholstery, remote keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen.

Hybrid EX ($30,990) adds 17-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio, leather seat trim, power driver’s seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, and power-folding mirrors.

Plug-in Hybrid EX ($35,210) is equipped similar to Hybrid EX.

Active-safety features come in an optional Technology Package.

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