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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 276 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

One of the top two vehicles I have ever owned

By on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, sporty and comfortable."

Cons: "No blind spot warning nor proximity sensors."

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

"Kia Optima is a great vehicle. Gas mileage is excellent, as is the styling and performance. Technology is current and the warranty speaks for itself. You cannot do much better than the Optima versus any car in its class. It has plenty and power and uses regular gas. It is a great vehicle."

Sporty luxury

By on Sunday, January 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

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

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

"This car is a sports car fast but get great gas mileage 25 mpg it rides like a luxury car and has been extremely reliable"

Impressed So Far

By on Saturday, January 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

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: "Engine performance,Gas Mileage,Comfort,Room"

Cons: "Radio, Nothing Else"

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

"P/U this 2013 LX with only 3000 miles on it for $15500.I came out of a 2005 Cadillac STS that was a great car.The price and low miles drew me to the Optima and I have to be honest I am really impressed with this vehicle.Mine was built in Korea.Check the VIN and if it begins with a K it is from there if it starts with a number than it is made in Georgia. 2 days after I took delivery I jumped in and pointed it South to Florida.Drove it approx. 850 miles and was just as comfortable as I was driving my Cad down before.Fuel mileage came out to 36.5 when I checked my trip avg.Avg speed for the whole trip was 64 MPH.Tire pressure at 35 PSI and just me in it with 50 pounds of luggage.Used to avg. 29 with my STS.Engine also delivers plenty of power.Feels more like a small V6 than a 200 horse 4 cylinder Mine is a base LX.No power seat.Just a lever to raise and lower the driver seat if you so desire.Bluetooth standard.Satellite Radio standard.Alloy wheels standard.Turn signals in outside mirrors standard.Trunk was huge.Passenger compartment was large also.Only downside would be rear headroom for taller folks.The tapering down of the roof may make it a little tight.Only other complaint I would have would be the radio.It is a 6 speaker but I was used to Bose in my STS and this one is no Bose.Other than that I think it is a solid buy for a midsize.Warranty is excellent!So far!So Good!"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Luxury at a reasonable price

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,300

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "You get a lot of extras for a low price"

Cons: "No spare tire"

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

"When I was looking for a new car I spent days at many dealerships. When I gave the list of items I wanted in my new car and my spending limit every other place said impossible, except Kia. I had never owned a Kia but always liked their cars and hears great things about their cars. I LOVE my car! I've had it for nearly 2 years now and I love it more than the day I got it. So comfortable, so reliable. The only complaint my husband has is there's no spare tire. One thing he loves is the cup holders which are good sized and spread out enough to where the drinks don't overlap each other like in his car. In his you try to pick up one fountain drink and they are so close together you have to pick up the other drink to get yours out! I would highly recommend this car if you want luxury with leather seats, heat and cooling seats, navigation, back up camera and sunroof but don't want to pay over 30 grand. You will love this car!"

Great looking and fast!

By on Saturday, January 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,500

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: "Gorgeous styling, powerful turbo engine, luxury"

Cons: "None"

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

"Bought this car as a certified used vehicle with less than 5K miles; got a great deal on a car that looks as good as a Jaguar and loves to get up and go with the turbo engine. I added a K&N cold air induction unit that added 10 more horses to an already powerful engine. Been driving it for two years now and it still turns heads; would definitely recommend this car to anyone who needs a family sedan but doesn't want to give up the sports car drive-this car has it all!"

12 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Best car I have ever owned

By on Friday, January 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "price, great performance car, gas mileage not bad"

Cons: "none"

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

"Love this car, great car for the price, got mine loaded and enjoy everything about it, Looked at many other brands and could not get any other model that had what this one had on it for the price."

3 people out of 6 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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