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2011 Kia Optima

Overview
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2011 Kia Optima Review

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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 288 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

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

Great Car

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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: "Excellent value"

Cons: "None that I can think of."

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

"I have had my car for 3 years. Not one problem in all that time. Great looks, comfortable ride, excellent mileage. What more can you ask for."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I'll Buy Another

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Engine - Transmission - Fuel Mileage"

Cons: "Road noise - Passenger seat is low"

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

"Drive train is this car's strongest suit. Engine/Transmission are flawless with great fuel mileage. Ride is comfortable but does have some road noise and the original tires were replaced at 12,000 miles. overall this was a great choice and we're all quite happy!"

Excellent value for performance

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

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
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

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

"I really like this vehicle. I was a bit skeptical when I first considered purchasing a Kia based upon their poor quality reputation in the early rollout days of production. This vehicle handles great in most road conditions. Very good on snow and wet surfaces and minimal hydroplaning. Gas consumption is 34 mpg highway. only real complaint is it is somewhat difficult getting out of and the seats become somewhat uncomfortable on long drives."

Really great car with all the features I wanted

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great looking car, very comfortable, lots of pep,"

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

"The only complaint about this car is the nav system screen. It is entirely too bright even when dimmed, & quite disturbing at night, & it has to warm up in the morning before the buttons work. It would be a perfect car if the screen dimmed a lot more. But I love, love, love the heated steering wheel."

swing and a miss

By on Saturday, February 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 53,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "sleek looking, peppy, loaded"

Cons: "poor quality, LOUD, touch screen unresponsive"

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

"My Optima is loaded. Its sleek looking at has everything you could ask for. The problem is, they put in everything you'd expect in a luxury vehicle without the steep price. The quality just isn't there. The navigation screen is terrible. It is sluggish and hard to get to respond to touch. It takes way too much effort to get the keys to respond correctly when typing in a destination that I barely use it and opt to use my phone's navigation instead. My least favorite quality about the car is how loud it is while driving. Not necessarily the engine or tires but the amount of road noise is deafening. You absolutely cannot use handsfree calling because neither you nor that other caller can hear each other over the wind and road noise. I've had several recalls and maintenance issues as well, including a blown gas pump. Its a sleek looking car but overall I'd much rather drive something else. I'd buy a different car today if this one hadn't depreciated so quickly and left me upside down.."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

great car for the price

By on Thursday, February 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"this is my 3 rd kia and i love it !! gas milage in about 35 mpg highway and i drive about 80 percent highway driving my only gripe is that the seats are too low and rather flat my wife hit a deer on the interstate with this car doing 65 mph and it held up beautifully having heavy front end damage which our auto insurance covered the optima is rock solid on the highway bluetooth and xm radio are an upgrade for us also the power seat is very useful to us"

2 people out of 2 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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