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2003 Kia Optima

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
7.8
Out of 10

Based on 340 Ratings for the 2001 - 2006 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    7.9/10
  • Reliability
    8.3/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.3/10
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very good vehicle for a short person

By on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, very reliable, easy to drive and park"

Cons: "Back seat pockets elastic is too strong"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"vehicle works great for a short person. the back seat neck braces obstruct drivers view. removed mine as no back seat passengers. the only problem I have had is the air bag light coming on and staying on when no problems with the air bag. This only happens when the drivers seat is put in a different position. Have had no problems since I no longer move the driver seat."

11 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love it...

By on Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "See above"

Cons: "None that I can think of"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have been in two major accidents in my life, the last in my Kia. This car performed better than I could have asked for. I came away without more than a bruise on my are due to the seat belt restraint. The prior car I had, the seat belt did not hold and I had a major head injury that took me years to recover from. I love and trust this car to keep me safe, not to mention excellent gas mileage and very low maintenance."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Very reliable, got my monies worth.

By on Thursday, November 3, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 305,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "handles well, solidly built"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned my car since it was new. We currently have 305,000 miles on it and the only thing we had problems with is the wheel barings which had to be replaced. We have had our oil changed regularly but not every 3500 miles and it still runs great. LOVE this car so much that we have been Kia owners ever since and bought another new Kia."

9 people out of 9 found this review helpful

MY FIRST CAR

By on Thursday, September 27, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, Accelerates good, handles well"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I love my 2001 Kia Optima LX. I am only 18 and i purchased this lovely vehicle, it is just for me to go form point A to B and let me tell you i have never had a Major problem or issue, i did once when the check engine like came on for something so small, which it cost me under $30 and that was it. It is safe. I get really good gas mileage."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

No Problems at all!

By on Thursday, December 1, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 148,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have really loved driving this car and it has always been extremely reliable. I have not once broken down, and have driven it heavily, and also rarely cleaned it, but it's been very resilient. I just wish it had a bit more horsepower, but it's roomy, and 4 adults have no issues traveling, unless they carry a ton of luggage. I'm looking at getting a 2012 model in the next year or so."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Solid Car

By on Sunday, August 21, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice on the highway"

Cons: "Headlights burning out"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Within the first year I had to have the computer changed because the car kept shutting off even at 60 MPH. It was towed from my home once. When I took it to the dealer to have it looked at, it wouldn't even start so they could drive it to the service area. The dealer had it for a week. They gave me a loaner. The headlight burnouts are a big problem too. Every 3 months, I have a headlight burning out. That runs $10-$15 each time. I had a local battery retailer tell me that KIA's and Mitsubishi's have high ripple problems on the alternator output. Haven't had any major engine or transmission trouble. Runs good on the highway."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

2007 Kia Optima Ex

By on Monday, April 23, 2007

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I have had my vehicle since late november and would reccommend it. I think the body style is pleasing and a real eye catcher, don't understand previous assumptions. Drives like a 6 cylinder and is only a 4 and gets better gas mileage. What more could you ask."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

very dependable

By on Saturday, March 1, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "dependable, beautiful body style, great warranty"

Cons: "small paint chips around door handles,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car with 11,000 miles on it. A one-owner car with all service records. The warranty was 60,000 miles. The only issues I had was with the stereo and the lumbar in the seat. Both were replaced free of charge. I traveled all over the country for work, and never had a problem. I would recommend Kia to anyone. The V-6 gives it power when you need it and it rides like a dream."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

a lovable money pit

By on Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 94,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive, handles well"

Cons: "engine troubles, picky about gas"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I bought this car used 3 years ago. It was the first car I've ever test-driven and I loved how it handled. There is enough play in the wheel that if your hands jitter a little, it won't affect where the car is headed, but it has automatic steering and is nothing like the ball-and-pinion steering I "upgraded" from. I didn't like it as much as I do now when I bought the car, but I needed a set of wheels other than my mother's car and the car I owned at the time was undrivable. I simply love my car, but what drives me crazy is how much work it needs to maintain. In the last 16 months alone, I had roughly $4500 worth of work done on the car, half of that alone from major engine work fixing a cylinder head issue. Before I had that fixed, the car had been having intermittent acceleration issues, but after I got it fixed (it was probably broken the day I bought the car and the problem kept getting worse with time), the car drove like a whole new car. I still sometimes have trouble with the acceleration, but now it is mainly due to bad gas (this car is so picky when it comes to gas, it acts up every time it doesn't like the gas you fill it up with) and/or wind. Although this car doesn't get pushed around in the wind easily, the 4-cylinder engine sounds stressed whenever it is very windy out. Overall, when it is not being picky or having engine issues, this car is a very reliable car. The only other issues I've had is the AC compressor somehow got busted on me and I have to replace a headlight every three months (and soak the headlights every year). I also replace the windshield wipers every year, but that's mainly due to love bugs tearing them up and scratching the windshield in the process. I love my car, but I think I bought a lemon the day I bought it. Overall, I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone because it is a money pit, but if you have the money (which I don't), it does make a fantastic car that handles well on curves and is a nice car to take down a windy country road for a drive. If I had known three years ago what a money pit i would be buying, I wouldn't have purchased this car, but now I'm stuck with it. Oh well. I'll probably keep driving it until the day it refuses to run, as I cannot afford to repair it (college student...I love my parents) yet less replace it."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

The Best Value Car I Have Ever Owned!

By on Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfy, reliable, easy to maintain, cheap to run"

Cons: "Chrome not so great"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Kia Optima little over 2years ago. In that time my wife and I have driven it 35,000 miles without any drama at all. It is comfortable, quiet, reliable, cheap to run, roomy, and has everything we need in a car. We have already decided to buy another Optima when it comes time to retire this one. I bought it with 50,000 miles as a cheap runaround for my wife. We wanted to stop using our Buick SUV so much, and wanted something cheap to run. Our beloved Buick ended up being sold, and the Kia is our main car now. After four trips to Tennessee - 2000 miles each way - and endless trips to Albuquerque and into Texas and Arizona have convinced us that Kia is the way to go. Best three grand I ever spent!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great Car.

By on Thursday, June 24, 2010

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"Bought the EX with V-6 loaded New. No problems with this car at all. Living in MI with heavy snow fall and ice this car gets around awesome, never a worry driving anywhere. Stick with Michelin tires and it is great. 7 years old and still looks and drives like new."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

a real workhorse in a wonderful package

By on Wednesday, February 6, 2008

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I bought this car with no real time to shop around. My other car died in a less than great area, enroute to a freeway, without any warning. The transmission simply QUIT with 40,000 miles on the car! I decided to look at a Kia because of the 10 year warranty. I don't know what will convince me to buy another make of car ever! This rides and handles like a luxury car. I have an LX that is loaded with all available options. IT IS NOW 2 1/2 YEARS OLD AND I AM HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE WITH IT. I expect to keep the car until I can no longer drive it. All controls are logical and well placed. It hugs the road like a much larger and heavier car. The trunk has plenty of room and the rear seats fold down to give you plenty of cargo space and room for rear passengers at the same time. You can carry a long item in the trunk, fold down part of the seat and still have one or two passengers in the rear seat. The automatic climate control system is as good as any that I have had on far more expensive cars. I have not had one single problem with this car and my dealer washes it for me at no cost if I just take it in and ask for a wash. What more could you possibly want?"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

This is my second Optima

By on Monday, November 26, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very reliable, afforadable, and great on gas."

Cons: "Seats can feel small to larger men"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my first Optima and put 80K on it. This is my second Optima and have put 90K on it. I am looking at buying my third Optima. Rides like a bigger sedan."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love this car. I bought it new and

By on Monday, March 19, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, confortable, luxurious but inexpensive."

Cons: "air bag sensor light keeps coming on"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've driven it 100000 miles already, never has let me down. And I don't expect it to. Still runs smooth on the road. It looks luxurious. The inside is spacious and the leather and wood trim interior is beautiful. The only thing that bothers me has been the air bag light keeps coming on. When I had the waranty I took it in all the time for this,the reason they gave me it was that the sensor is very delicate so it triggers. But there was never a real problem so I just stop caring. Never had a problem with it. Kia really did a great job with this model."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I will buy this make and model again

By on Saturday, January 7, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had this car for 8 years and I have not had a major problem with it. I will actually trade it in for the 2012 Optima"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Best car I've owned

By on Thursday, October 27, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 190,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable seats; Solid performance; smooth ride"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car used in 2003 (23,000 miles)and it is Oct 2011 and I have 190,000 miles. It has been the most reliable car I've owned. Very minor maintenance issues; love the way it drives. I think Kia has very comfortable seats (especially compared to many of the economy models out today) and it is solid. We just had to replace the power steering hose this month and flush the brake fluid. Otherwise, very low maintenance, other than regular oil changes and other standard maintenance. Solid, safe car! Minor complaints: Passenger window motor broke @ about 100,000 miles; passenger door handle actually split in half one cold morning when there was ice on it (it's plastic). Otherwise, I'd buy another Kia in a minute."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Kia a suprise in comfort

By on Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"I have never been a fan of a small car, especially cheap small cars, but this Kia has had no issues at all and is very reliable and inexpensive to operate. Simple parts such as a replacement battery(I replace the battery at 4 years old in every vehicle I own to avoid problems) must be purchased from the Kia dealer as local parts stores do not carry the battery( which had to be ordered by the dealer and took over a week to get), and replacement parts for the Kia are very expensive. The car runs well and is very comfortable to drive."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

2004 Kia optima

By on Monday, December 28, 2009

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"I have owned my car now for going on 6 years. I got the car from the dealer brand new. I have replaced the head lights about 17 times and Kia will not do anything to help. Keep in mind headlights in NY, at lest for this car is about $14 a pop! I found sometimes the lights in the Dash go out, if you slap it like a old TV it will work again! The Power steering went and i had to replace it i guess after a few years you should expect it however come to find out this car is on recall for those parts! I never got a letter about it! If you buy a kia make sure you find out as much about it as possible the little things add up quickly and power steering down the line WILL give you problems! The return line part is $100 the compression is $130 the belt you can get for about $25, the work is expensive!""

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Mileage reliable everything else not......

By on Monday, August 3, 2009

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

"I have an 03 Optima and at first I thought it was an outstanding vehicle. I do a lot of driving in the car so need reliability and this car just doesn't have it 100%. I'm at 104,000 miles with this car and had to have the belts replaced and the engine worked on, paid out of pocket since the warranty would not cover it. A loop hole that KIA uses to get out of paying things it's in the contract and manual so make sure you do all the maintenance that is suggested and only with KIA including oil changes. Since being worked on the car does not drive the same and this is through a KIA service department. I have times when I'm backing up and the air is on full the engine might stall when I stop the car and put into drive. Leaving you to back the car up first then accelerate forward a bit before turning the air on to let the car warm up some. The power locks went out just recently so now I can't get into or out of my vehicle through the drivers side I have to crawl across the passenger side. That is thanks to that special locking function that they have on the vehicle turn the key and all doors unlock. No matter if the tires are balanced and rotated the car has a bit of a shake in the steering wheel and after awhile things start to really rattle in the car unless you get up to about 65 then it subsides a little. Vehicle is only 6 years old and the paint has wear on it like the clear coat has tried to peel away from the car no matter how well I wash and polish the vehicle. The only thing I can commend on this car is that the mileage is great I can get 425+ on the highway which is quite a lot considering and in the city I'm about right at 370-400 depending on the conditions and running the air a lot. The owner loyalty is great with KIA they do respect you when you come back and most of the time the incentives are good. The car really looses value in a short amount of time making it really hard to trade-in or sell. Buyers I would be leery about making a KIA purchase unless you are looking to own for a short time and trade these do not make for long term vehicles."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Lemon

By on Sunday, July 29, 2007

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
3/10

"Have had this car to the repair shop 15 times in 2 years. Have been as far as you can go up the ladder with Kia. They will not stand behind what they sell"

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

What an upgrade

By on Tuesday, May 29, 2007

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I owned a 2003 Opitma LX. I was hesitant to even buy another KIA, let alone another Optima. My experience with my '03 was none to good. I looked at the Sportage and the Sorrento, neither were a good fit. As a last resort I test-drove a new '07 Optima EX and fell in love. Tint the windows medium if you can and feel the luxury. A great car with a lot of options and plenty of zip with the 185 HP."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

best vehicle i ever owned

By on Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "No better car for the price."

Cons: "None."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car new. It has never been in the shop for repairs other than recommended maintenance. Mileage is better than expected."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Comfortable and convienent

By on Sunday, December 18, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, get up and go, comfortable and roomy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We bought this car used for our Florida car. We had driven a large SUV for many years. We got the 6 cyl to have the power my husband wanted. We have been very happy with this car. The back seat can fold down and open to the trunk to carry lots of stuff. Even without back seat down the trunk is very roomy. The car is comfortable and designed for comfort with lots of storage and great radio. The warranty is what sold us in the first place. We will definately buy a Kia again."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

There was only 1 little thing...

By on Thursday, November 10, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great handle on the roads, great interior comfort"

Cons: "expensive faulty sun visors..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The sun visors are defective and they flop down after a while and need to be replaced at $300. a piece! Other then that...GREAT CAR!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Awesome car

By on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

"I bought this car back in 2002 brand knew off the showroom floor because my wife loved it, I thought a Kia are you kidding me. This car has been nothing but good loving to us, let alone we take care of it like a child. No problems in 10 years at all with this car, it is very comfortable smooth and roars like a porsh when you punch it. The leather seats are nice and the car is very roomy. For a v6 it is quiet and smooth, I have kept the car in great shape and the only minor repairs are your basic oil and brakes like normal and 60,000 mile check up. I took it to the Kia garage the other day and they said the car is still like knew ball joints problems and everything you could possible think of looked like knew, maybe because I only use it on the highway. All in all the only thing i found wrong was the paint issue on the wing and mirrors which the kia warranty took care of, it started to fade about 3 years after i had it, and the trunk lights go in and out from time to time, i can deal with that. This has been a better car than my lexus ls 400 and eats less gas too. the maintance plan is unreal. great car I will hate to get rid of it someday."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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