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2011 Kia Optima

Overview
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2011 Kia Optima Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

If midsize sedans were contestants on a dating show, the previous-generation Kia Optima would have been among the first would-be suitors kicked off. Bland to behold inside and out, and generally uncompetitive in every category but average selling price, the old Optima was easy to overlook. But things have changed in a big way for the 2011 model year. The Kia Optima is now one of the most stylish, most amenity-laden midsize sedans available, and qualifies as a viable, attractive alternative to the segment's heaviest hitters.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2011 Kia Optima backs up its standout styling with driving dynamics and an equipment list that outclass most of its competitors'. And price is still a strong suit.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Kia resale values are improving at a rapid rate, but the 2011 Kia Optima isn't predicted to prove as resilient as stalwarts like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Kia Optima is as all-new as it gets, offering sharper interior and exterior styling, new engine options (including a turbocharged variant) and new tech-savvy features

Driving the Optima

Driving Impressions We were impressed with the 2011 Kia Optima's balance of sport and comfort. Smooth and quiet on the highway, the Optima also corners as confidently as most anything you'll find...

in the category. We were only able to drive the EX trim level with the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine, but it did not disappoint. The engine was responsive and very smooth with more than enough power for passing and going up steep hills; its fuel-sipping qualities are an added plus. On the inside, the seats remained comfortable over long stretches, and the driver-centric dash was a welcome arrangement for making climate/audio adjustments on the fly.

Exterior Styling
If the 2011 Kia Optima isn't the sportiest, most stylish midsize sedan out there, it's pretty close.

Turbocharged 2.0-liter engine
Who needs a V6 anyway? This four-cylinder has 274-horspower and an EPA highway estimate of 34 mpg.

2011 Kia Optima Details
Interior

The interior of the 2011 Kia Optima takes a different approach than other cars in the segment as its driver-focused center stack gives a cockpit-like feel. Leather touches abound - on leather-equipped models - and we appreciated the soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels. Taller passengers might take issue with the Optima's rear headroom.

Exterior
2011 Kia Optima photo

We call it "futuristically bold," but most would call just plain "different." From the cross-hatch front grille sandwiched between wrap-around headlights to the sweeping chrome arc that extends back to the sleekly styled rear end, the car exudes a luxurious feel that makes it look more expensive than it is. What makes it more interesting is the high beltline and sloping roofline that give the car a sporty profile. Depending on the trim, the Optima is equipped with a choice of 16-, 17- or 18-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Every 2011 Kia Optima offers Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod/USB audio connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a cooling glove box that keeps drinks chilled. As for safety, the Optima comes with an impressive array of features including six airbags and electronic stability control. Like other base-priced models in its class, the entry-level Optima comes with 16-inch steel wheels and six-speed manual transmission.

Optional Equipment

Optional equipment highlights include a panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, Infinity sound system, touch-screen navigation system and back-up camera. In addition to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the top-of-the-line 2011 Kia Optima SX offers a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues.

Under the Hood

Offering more horsepower than the previous-generation Optima's V6 – and far better fuel economy – the new 2.4-liter engine is a welcome addition. It boasts more power and better fuel-economy than other cars in the category, while those wanting more power can opt for a turbocharged 2.0-liter (EX Turbo and SX trims only). Both engines are offered with a six-speed automatic, while the base-trim (LX) offers a six-speed manual.

2.4-liter in-line four cylinder
200 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
186 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 (manual), 24/34 (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder
274 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
269 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 - 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34

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2011 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 262 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Great Car except for Passenger Front Seat

By on Sunday, December 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great interstate car, handles very well"

Cons: "front passanger seat should be equal to the driver"

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

"I now have 20,000 trouble free miles. Mileage on the Interstate at 80 mph has been about 37. Drop down to 65 and it is about 40, In town is good at 31mph. Very smooth, quiet. The front passenger seat is to low, and because my wife is somewhat invalid, it is hard for her to get in and out. Other than that it is great."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

REALLY sorry I bought it

By on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,200

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "very responsive engine"

Cons: "steering / cheap plastic"

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

"The steering is OK driving locally. The freeway is a different story. Steering feels rubbery and with a delayed reaction to adjustments. It is very tiring to drive this car any real distance."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Hybrid - Not getting the gas mileage it should

By on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Looks great"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Car looks great and drives great but I am not getting the mileage I was told the hybrid would get. I am lucky to get 28-32 on a good day when Kia shows 34-39. Very disappointed in the mileage but overall the car is very comfortable. Next time I will not fool with a hybrid when there are a lot of cars getting the same gas mileage, or better gas mileage, without the added hybrid price."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Value

By on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great looks, lots of options, excellent gas mileag"

Cons: "noisier than it should be, seats"

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

"Has all the "bells and whistles" of the Lexus I traded in (and then some). Handles well. No repairs whatsoever. What more could one ask for in a car at this price?"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Bought new, still happy 2 years later.

By on Friday, November 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, looks good, many features"

Cons: "Drivers seat comfort on long trips."

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

"Great look an feel, many comments from friends and co-workers on styling of both exterior and interior, many extras for the price."

4 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Saturday, November 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

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, lots of power, reliable, roomy"

Cons: "Unnecessary cup holder in door digs into leg"

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

"After owning a Jaguar for a few years, this car was a breath of fresh air at less than half the price."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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