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2009 Kia Optima

Overview
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2009 Kia Optima Review

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The 2009 Kia Optima continues to offer buyers a well-built, well-equipped family sedan for less money than the competition. Based on the same platform as the Hyundai Sonata, the Optima distances itself with a new, sportier exterior and interior treatments, as well as a significantly lower base price. Over the last few years Kia has made impressive strides in both quality and content and, while not yet on par with such giants as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Optima comes very close. The Optima provides a roomy, comfortable interior, a large trunk and a choice between a fuel-efficient four-cylinder or a powerful V6 engine. Even the most basic models include such standard safety features as side-curtain airbags and front-seat active head restraints.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a four-door sedan with responsive driving characteristics, a lot of features and an attractive price, the 2009 Kia Optima should be on your shopping list. It's handsome, offers impressive safety features and represents a good value for the money.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you absolutely crave attention, the Optima's new exterior, which some may describe as subtle, still may not grab your eyes – or anyone else's. And, despite generous interior volume for the category, this midsize package won't be big enough for larger families.

What's New for 2009

The Kia Optima receives a major freshening, with a new front end, revised rear end and an upgraded interior. The 2009 model gains over two additional inches in length, as well as a new, more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Other news includes the addition of a new trim, the SX, and an available onboard navigation unit.

Driving the Optima

Driving Impressions The Kia team has made a commitment to blending the Optima's features into a nice combination of driving capabilities. In what might be considered as unexpected for a Korean brand,...

the Optima is actually fun to drive. Movements of the steering wheel are rewarded with crisp reactions into corners, body roll is minimal and the Optima enjoys a balanced feel, particularly when you consider it's a modestly-priced front-wheel-drive sedan. We found it completely engaging and enjoyable.

2.4-liter Four-Cylinder Engine
Although its specifications aren't too dissimilar from others in the midsize segment, the Optima's all-aluminum 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers a pleasant character that is involving for the driver. It offers crisp response and decent power, and is so good that, on balance, there seems little justification for either the additional expense or the greater fuel consumption of the V6.

Navigation
Usually an option available only on top-of-the-line trims, Kia offers its navigation unit on all but the entry level LX.

2009 Kia Optima Details
2009 Kia Optima photo Interior

Kia continues to offer increasingly worthwhile upgrades in interior design, materials and safety. Even in base LX form, the Optima's interior materials rate well above merely acceptable. On those cars with leather we were impressed by the leather's tone and its perforated texture. However, the front seat cushions, though comfortable, could still do with a bit more upward angle. The new "barrel-type" instrument cluster imparts a racy feel, as does new red backlighting. As the Optima is intended to appeal to young families, safety receives an appropriate emphasis. Its standard airbag arrangement includes advanced dual front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags, along with full-length side-curtain airbags.

Exterior
2009 Kia Optima photo

While unobtrusively styled, the 2009 Kia Optima is still modern and attractive. The profile is fronted by an attractive yet vaguely Accord-like grille flanked by cat-eye halogen headlights. The passenger cabin provides a nice balance between outward visibility and efficient aerodynamics. Front and rear overhangs are fairly short, while the fenderwells are nicely filled with either the standard 16-inch or the available 17-inch tires. The overall effect is that the Optima looks balanced and secure, in a way that is modern and even sporting.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Optima continues Kia's tradition of providing a generous level of standard equipment for an attractive price. Our test LX model, with the four-cylinder engine, included power heated exterior mirrors, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, four-wheel disc brakes, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, a split folding rear seat and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 compatible audio system with auxiliary and USB input jacks. Beyond that, it offered gas shock absorbers and front and rear anti-roll bars, features often available only as parts of "sport" or "handling" packages with other cars. Standard safety equipment includes front side airbags, side curtain airbags, traction and stability control and anti-lock brakes.

Optional Equipment

For those wanting a higher level of comfort, convenience and functionality, there is available leather seat trim, power and heated front seats, a manually-operated rear-window shade, power-adjustable pedals, automatic climate control, alloy wheels, power moonroof, Infinity sound system and subwoofer (part of the Premium Package) and other features and options. A new in-dash navigation unit is offered on all but the LX trim.

Under the Hood

Our driving experience was limited to the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with either the five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. In both instances we were pleased by the new engine's responsiveness, and the transmission gearing was well matched to the engine's characteristics. The addition of variable valve timing helps bump output to a respectable 175 horsepower. Other than its superior passing and uphill acceleration advantages, we see little benefit in opting for the V6, given the balance, efficiency and entirely acceptable performance of the in-line four.

2.4-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @6000 rpm
169 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32

2.7-liter V6
194 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
184 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28

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2009 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 272 Ratings for the 2006 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

BIG BLIND SPOTS

By on Monday, February 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Pretty good gas mileage."

Cons: "Big blind spot on front passenger side."

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

"I have had my 2010 Kia Optima for 4 years. When you are in the drivers seat, there is a HUGE blind spot over to the right side of the windshield. This spot is over where the Passenger side view mirror is located. The mirror (which is huge) combined with the passenger door frame metal (where it meets the windshield) on the right, together make an enormous blind spot. I have on Many Occasions, almost hit both cars and pedestrians. The seats are not electric. Gas mileage is passable and it's not the most comfortable. It only has 1 cd player and not lumbar support. Also the drivers vanity mirror has no light, which is stupid. Don't buy this car."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Very dependable car

By on Saturday, January 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great gas mileage"

Cons: "no power seats"

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

"The only downside is no power seats. If you are on a long road trip and you need to adjust the seat for better comfort you will need to get off the road to manually adjust the seat. That is important if you have back or leg issues."

So far, very good.

By on Friday, December 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,522

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Mechanical- quality-built, no rattles."

Cons: "Glad I got the V-6, peppy & responds well."

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

"Just got the 1st inkling that all may not be well in Minnesota Happy Land. The Engine Light came on... So off we go to the Out-Patient Clinc (aka "the Kia Dealer"). They haven't seen me in so long a time, I'll e-mail my photo ahead so I'm recognized! Happy New Year!"

7 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Wednesday, November 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 93,395

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Wonderful car. Worth the money."

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

"I bought this automobile new. It has given me great service. It is dependable, comfortable and excellent on the highway."

13 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Nothing negative to say yet. Still happy!

By on Sunday, October 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,491

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "All pros."

Cons: "No cons."

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

"It's been no less than what I hoped for. No major work on it, unless you call lining of brakes major. Just do the required stuff, new wiper blades, change oil, new battery. The latter is a MN must!"

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

See complete review

By on Sunday, October 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Excellent quality and no problems...NONE!"

Cons: "Zero."

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

"Car bought from rental co. At 31k miles. In four years we bought one tire, two sets of wiper blades, a new battery, and three oil changes. No other services or parts needed! Car runs like new and we love it. I don't even know here the nearest kia dealer is."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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