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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

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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2011 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 253 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 Value

By on Monday, October 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,898

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: "A lot of car for the money."

Cons: "Passenger seat could be higher"

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

"I am 82 years young, and this is my 42nd vehicle since I received my first permit. This car is without a doubt the best of them all. I have close to 20,000 miles and it has been trouble free. No complaints at all. My mileage average on the interstate (75mph+ in AZ) has been just about 40mpg and around 30 in town. It handles well and is quiet. A great car! You have to drive one! I'm sure sold, plus there is a great dealer here in Yuma."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Fun to Drive, Beautiful Interior and Great Options

By on Saturday, September 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I own a 2013 Optima EX and the options are awesome. Heated steering wheel and seats; air cooled seats; power fold up side mirrors, backup camera, awesome sound system, comfortable seats, great legroom, power everything; heated rear seats; panoramic roof. Only draw back is city gas mileage which is no better than my old 2003 Grand Prix. Otherwise this car is a 10! Highly recommended."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

It's a Kia but not what I expected

By on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "all the features of more expensive cars for less"

Cons: "UVO system is by Microsoft"

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

"I was hesitant to purchase a Kia. Since they brought a former Audi employee over to help redesign I can say I am impressed. Much like their sister company, Kia is out to prove itself. I have had this car for 14 months and over 40,000 miles later. My main complaints are the wind noise from my driver's door and the UVO system doesn't remember my last setting. Really, everything else has been pleasant. The car does not feel cheap. I'm going to knock on wood now."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Excellent on gas

By on Monday, September 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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
10/10

Pros: "great car great value"

Cons: "not an AWD"

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

"Great value in a vehicle, has many amenities , love the heated steering wheel, heated seats, air conditioned seats! comfortable car great panoramic sunroof ,great sounding infinity sound system, bluetooth works great , sleek design and styling,great gas mileage average 29mpg getting 34mpg on highway driving."

12 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Traded a Lexus IS for an Optima SXL

By on Sunday, August 31, 2014

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

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: "Value, Appearence, Driveability, Quality, Options"

Cons: "Climate & voice control needs improvement"

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

"I've had this car for over a year and still have strangers comment how good it looks. Loved the Lexus, but the Kia is just as good, if not better. The car rides & handles well, it's quiet & comfortable, not to mention roomier. The 2.0L Turbo creates rocket response when needed & gas mileage is very good, plus it runs on regular gas. The SXL is well equipped. I had my eye on an Audi, but a similar equipped Audi would be $12K more. You can't be Kia when it comes to giving you more "bang for your buck". Lastly it's built in Georgia, USA!"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

dollar for dollar an excellent value + great look

By on Sunday, August 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,500

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great looks and options for the money"

Cons: "passenger seat is to low."

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

"again dollar for dollar a great car. I HAVE A 2013EX WITH ALL the options. Both packages which include back-up cam,glass roof,heated and cooled seats etc. I have had it for two years with 18000 miles. So far so good. The only complaint is that the passenger's seat is too low with no adjustment available. My wife hates sitting so low."

2 people out of 3 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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