The 2018 Kia Optima returns once you get your sportier trim and wide-ranging flexibility to get a compelling price.
The 2018 Kia Optima plays to the base. It improves on all the jobs that individuals liked from last year—sharp-ish looks, great safety, and tremendous value—but it’s still a sedan after all.
This year’s sportier trim and common-sense safety measures that will help it ace our safety test may go missing on buyers who’re racing toward crossovers. Slow and check out sedans just like the Optima, we’d say.
The 2018 Kia Optima earns a 7.4 on our overall scale, which reflects our high opinion of their safety and style. Its performance and luxury are the only places for improvement, but it’s worth noting that the Optima continues to above average inside respects.
2018 Kia Optima
Take a walk around a Kia lot and you are obviously likely to search for the usual suspects for the Optima—a budget-friendly Optima LX that starts at $23,395, including destination, all the way to the fully loaded Optima SX for $31,395.
Wedged in between for this holiday season is a fresh Optima S trim that adds a sportier look: a fresh front bumper, rear decklid spoiler, 17-inch wheels, as well as a dual-pane sunroof for $24,395.
Across all purchases this holiday season, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking assistance are standard, which shore up a lot of our concerns that active safety measures were being kept from almost the most costly models.
A comparatively large numbers of powertrain options await Optima shoppers, not including Optima Hybrid models thatwe cover separately.
Along the range, the 2018 Kia Optima is powered using a bevy of inline-4 options, including some turbocharged options. The camp 2.4-liter inline-4 is located on Optima LX and the brand new S trim level, a 1.4-liter turbo-4 is optional on the LX trim, as well as a 2.0-liter turbo-4 is located on pricier SX trims. All models are front-wheel drive and manage combined gas mileage at 25 mpg or higher.
All models really benefit from a very good ride and handling setup, making the Optima comfortable, in any other case particularly sporty.
2018 Kia Optima Styling
Every trim of your 2018 Kia Optima is handsome, which suggests even base models are value for money on the subject of looks.
The 2018 Kia Optima hasn’t changed because it was new for 2016, along with the roots for that car go back further to 2011 when it fundamentally shifted how you take a look at mid-size sedans.
On our style-o-meter we allow the 2018 Kia Optima a spot above average for its exterior profile and attractive interior. It earns a 7 out of 10.
From the outside, the Kia Optima embodies technology in mid-size moves over the last decade. Its shapelier and curvier body starts at its coupe-like roofline that descends gradually enough to gift rear-seat riders with plenty head room. The actual proportions are elongated plenty of to present the front-drive Optima a sportier, rear-drive profile that the brand new Kia Stinger (which is actually rear-drive) earns and improves upon.
Every competitor has adopted similar dimensions, so that the Optima just isn’t as revolutionary because it once was.
Inside, the Optima pushes its dash further forward and into your corners, which improves outward visibility.
The cockpit just isn’t as driver-focused as last iterations, but the fit and take care of accounts for for all those shortcomings. The Optima’s luxury-influenced facts are reasonable improvement over last-generation sedans, befitting Kia’s rise as an increasingly premium brand. We like the interior look, particularly in top trim levels, just like the Optima SX.
One nitpick: We’d probably delete the “Turbo” badges on the front fender portholes near a back corner doors on SX trims. We would like that word revisit its 1985-pinnacle of popularity, for now it seems a bit gratuitous.
2018 Kia Optima Performance
Quiet and composed, the 2018 Kia Optima has good table manners, but it’s not necessarily too spicy.
The 2018 Kia Optima’s chief appeal can be its ride quality and competent handling—as it ought to be to get a mid-size sedan.
Balance, neutral ride and crisp turn-in make it earn some point above average, and other tale from the tape with the Optima maintain it to remain mid-pack with its competitors. It earns a 6 out from 10 due to its trio of inline-4s, many of which are turbocharged, and middle-of-the-road transmissions.
Let’s talk numbers. Base Optima LX, Optima EX, and Optima S sedans and will be fitted having a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline-4 which utilizes direct injection to increase fuel economy. That’s suited to a 6-speed automatic that convincing to create very busy 2.4-liter inline-4 into its sweet-spot for passing power. Its peak torque output happens at 4,000 rpm, which is gloomier in comparison to the top turbocharged offerings, so kicking down several gears to secure is the specific game on steep mountain inclines. We’ve used in our drives that this base 2.4-liter inline-4 is smooth and has to be adequate for almost all buyers’needs, provided need isn’t outright speed.
An optional 1.6-liter turbo-4 is found in LX models which 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque and is particularly mated to somewhat of a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Its trick is efficiency, although it’s hardly a pokey engine. It feels more responsive in comparison to the 2.4-liter inline-4, but we’ve found that it can be somewhat hamstrung by just a indecisive 7-speed dual-clutch that clobbers through gears versus similar units generated by Volkswagen or Ford. The 1.6-liter turbo-4 is how the Optima manages combined fuel economy over 30 mpg, although every model is fuel-efficient due to its class.
The 2.0-liter turbo-4 used in SX models include the most fun to drive. Mated to somewhat of a 6-speed automatic, the 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 245 hp and 260 lb-ft and happens strong lower on the rev range (just 1,350 rpm). The top-end engine reads your right foot well; downshifts come quickly and paddle-shifters give drivers granular control over what gear to use and once to use it. More sound-deadening in SX models quells the 2.0-liter’s harsher vibrations, which we appreciate.
Optima ride and handling
The 2018 Kia Optima is a smooth mover with revised suspension bits from previous generations. The Optima retains a familiar MacPherson front strut and multi-link rear setup, although revised front bushings and cushier springs damps fussy pavement.
The tradeoff is a little more body lean, which isn’t uncouth due to its class. The Optima irons away road to acquire a tippier cornering character—we believe flat and fast would be the upcoming Stinger’s purview anyway.
All models consist of selectable drive modes that toggle the throttle response and transmission behavior among Eco, Normal, and Sport modes. We’ve found the Normal mode to function as goldilocks zone for almost all circumstances; Sport might be too hot, Eco might be too cold.
In 2010, all trims from the Optima adopt a steering system that we all prefer over an older setup, thanks to its sharper feel if your roads get curvy.
2018 Kia Optima Comfort & Quality
The 2018 Kia Optima ought to be on the short list for a lot of buyers looking for a comfortable mid-sizer.
The 2018 Kia Optima is evidence of your automaker’s move upmarket. Its confines are roomy and well-appointed, and its particular fit and complete is punching above how light it is class—even just in base trims.
We provide it with a 7 from 10 for comfort and quality, with points above average due to the quiet ride and front-seat comfort. It narrowly misses another for luxury-like appointments—emphasis on “narrowly” there.
Top-trim SX models get swathes of sound-deadening material, but all trims of your Kia Optima are quiet inside. Top windows, dash, windshield, and body panels have gotten special attention by sound designers to quell any thrums from your inline-4 engines, and with good effect—the doors close using a reassuring “thunk” reserved for luxury vehicles.
In the beginning, the seats are lower and deeply bolstered with pros support and room for long legs. Most models are going to have power-adjustable front seats, which adapt to a wide-ranging pair of body types.
Some models will feature diamond-patterned seating that’s normally reserved for a larger tax bracket, and then we appreciate Kia’s efforts there.
If we’ll knock the Optima, we’ll apply it in rear-seat head room. The aggressively sloping roofline makes a styling promise that rear passengers need to make good on; there’s sufficient head room for 6-footers, but not much more. Wide rear doors make entry and exit easier for many individuals, however.
The back swallows 15.9 cubes of cargo, which happens to be on-par due to the class, and a back corner seats fold down inside a 60/40-split when more flexibility is necessary.
Ergonomically, the 2018 Kia Optima cleans up well boasting easy-to-understand dials and buttons for some tasks, together with a simple infotainment interface that we think will be possible for even our parents. Base LX models don’t feel particularly cheap either, which we know about some of the other mid-size competitors.
2018 Kia Optima Safety
The Optima resolves our gripe from in 2009 with wider available safety measures, and its particular crash-test scores are flawless.
The 2018 Kia Optima is just about the few cars on the highway that aces our safety scale as a consequence of the best report card from federal and independent testers and a available variety of advanced safety features.
Although it’s too early for 2018 data, determined by its similarities to last year’s model we can draw very specific conclusions in regards to the Optima.
The IIHS gave the Kia Optima a “Top Safety Pick+” award thanks to its top “Good” scores on all crash tests and due to the headlight performance—on the list of few cars to ace all its tests. Along with top marks from independent testers, federal regulators gave the Optima across-the-board five-star ratings for crash safety, together with a five-star overall rating.
A rearview camera is standard on all models, for 2018, so might be blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic assist, and rear parking assistance.
Standard equipment on all Optimas includes seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, a driver’s knee bag, front active headrests, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist, to maintain the passenger truck from rolling when starting using a steep uphill grade.
Automatic emergency braking is offering on more models, which was our only gripe from last year. Other automakers are which makes it standard on all models, something we wish Kia would consider, but wider availability is a great first step.
All versions of your 2018 Kia Optima are equipped with an average complement of airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and a driver’s knee bag. The Optima also includes stability and traction control systems.
2018 Kia Optima Features
No Kia Optima feels cheap, and top trims are a wonderful value for their class.
The 2018 Kia Optima can be as frugal or as opulent as your budget will allow, but no model is bare.
Kia shows the Optima in LX, S, EX, and SX trims, starting at $23,395. Base models feature keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, power-adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, 16-inch wheels, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
That’s good base equipment, particularly the touchscreen that helps it earn two points above average on our feature scale. We lend it a 7 beyond 10.
The Kia Optima can climb the ladder of creature comforts quickly, but no models are particularly high-priced.
The modern S trim, which Kia says can be a sportier take around the Optima sedan, still retains the base 2.4-liter inline-4, but adds 17-inch wheels (18-inchers are available), unique front bumper and rear spoiler, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and optional dual-panel sunroof.
EX models are equipped similarly but add standard leather seats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, available active security features (which we cover separately) and a woodgrain trim that’s a tad bit more upmarket when compared to the base dash.
SX models go the whole nine with 18-inch wheels, an upgraded 8.0-inch touchscreen, a larger driver information cluster, dual chrome exhaust tips, glossy black trim, air-conditioned front seats, keyless ignition, and adaptive headlights.
More choices available to higher trim levels, which we wish Kia would reconsider. Although we’d note the fact that top trim for the Kia Optima still hovers around $30,000, that may be reasonable for the course and relatively good value.
2018 Kia Optima Fuel Economy
The 2018 Kia Optima isn’t as fuel efficient as a bit of its competitors, but 25-mpg combined or better isn’t bad.
Kia was among the initial automakers to innovate a lineup in all 4-cylinder engines for their mid-size sedan, other medication is following suit.
Amongst the most common engine would be the 2.4-liter inline-4 seen in base models and the popular S trim, which earns an EPA rating of 24 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined. That earns a 7 beyond 10 on our fuel efficiency scale.
Some competitors will manage better gas mileage when compared to the Kia Optima, although Kia is still within arm’s length of models.
More sound 1.6-liter models will obtain the best ratings of the lineup (without picking the hybrid versions, which we cover separately) at 28/37/31 mpg.
Top-trim editions of the Kia Optima go for a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that manages 22/31/25 mpg, while using EPA. We expect you could possibly be able to get better returns while in the real-world by having a light foot.
It’s worth noting that versions of the Optima are rated for normal unleaded, which may save pennies along the pump.