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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 308 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
    9.4/10

Car is in premium conditions

By on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,777

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

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

"The car has front and rear KIA all season floor mats, and spare tire kit installed. All maintenance services up to date by KIA standards."

THIS CAR IS A BEAUTY, GET MANY COMPLIMENTS

By on Friday, May 22, 2015

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "THE PROS ARE MOSTLY LISTED IN THE DESCRIPTION"

Cons: "I WISH I HAD THE MONEY TO BUY THE NEW TURBO!!"

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

"I HAVE OWNED THIS CAR SINCE IT WAS NEW IT HAS LIGHT TAN LEATHER SEATS WITH POWER SEAT ON BOTH SIDES, PUSH BUTTON START, DRIVER SHIFT CONTROL, IT IS A BEAUTIFUL STEEL BRONZE COLOR, SINGLE PLAY CD PLAYER, HEATED AND COOLED SEATS BOTH FRONT AND REAR, PANORAMIC SUN ROOF, FOLD DOWN REAR SEATS WITH LOTS OF TRUNK SPACE, TILT WHEEL, CRUISE CONTROL. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A REAL EYE CATCHER THIS IS THE ONE FOR YOU. PLENTY OF POWER WILL BLOW MOST CARS IN ITS CLASS AWAY. ONE MINOR DING ON THE REAR DRIVER SIDE, FOLD UP SIDE POWER MIRRORS, YOU WONT SEE MANY CARS LIKE THIS ON THE ROAD. COME TAKE A LOOK AND A RIDE YOU WILL BE IMPRESSED"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

great vehicle with engineering comfort quirks

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,225

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "roadability and looks. Decent gas mileage."

Cons: "mileage, steering,m"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Car has quirky design factors on the interior like a passenger seat which lowers the farther back it goes or a center console positioned too far back to comfortably access it. The gas mileage is below as advertised and the steering has a funny "pulling" feeling in this model only---engineering also!!!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

could be so much better

By on Friday, May 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good ride - better than the competition"

Cons: "twitchy steering and no interior tech"

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

"traded my Fusion for this Optima... first off, the Optima is a MUCH better car than the Fusion. That said, there are a host of minor little things that just drive me nuts! This car is technologically backwards. Most of the things other manufacturers consider standard are not offered on this car. The dash is blah unless you opt for the $3000+ Nav unit. The steering wheel controls are backwards for their use. But the biggest "issue" I have with the car is just from driving it - at speeds above 70 the steering gets VERY twitchy... it will jump from right to left - made worse if there is any form of cross-wind."

Premium looks and quality w/o a premium price tag

By on Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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: "Good price, killer looks, holds its value well"

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

"Have owned my '11 Optima for 3 years now, still gets compliments & more importantly I'm still happy with it. Very comfortable even at the base model. It has about 31,000 miles on it, I'd say 65% of that is city driving, and 35% highway, and its still running well. I drive in eco mode to save gas $$. I'd say I get anywhere between 19 and 23 mpg on average which is less than advertised, but still decent imo."

I love everything about this vehicle.

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Best value for your investment"

Cons: "No power outlet for the back passengers."

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

"This is absolutely the best vehicle I have ever owned and will stick to the Kia Optima newer versions. The vehicle designers seem to have built in a compromise between great gas consumption and power."

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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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