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2011 Kia Optima

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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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 327 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Love this car

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Drives and handles great, good gas mileage."

Cons: "Can't think of one negative thing about this car."

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

"This is my second Optima and I just love this car. Very impressed with the styling and performance. I have the turbo engine and cannot believe the acceleration. I also own a Corvette and this car (Optima) can nearly keep up with it. My next car will be another Optima. I've had this one over two years and no problems at all. Highly recommend it."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Best bang for the buck for an import

By on Saturday, July 25, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Got hit

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Turbo motor has great stock HP,cooled seats"

Cons: "Leather was starting to show wear"

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

"Strong motor with no noticeable turbo lag. Infinity sound system is top notch. Heated and cooled seats,heck even the glove box is cooled. Great initial quality."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Nicest car so far for me.

By on Friday, July 24, 2015

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Sporty, with great get up and go"

Cons: "Passenger seat too low and not enough trunk space"

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

"I have the 2013 Optima SX with touring package and technology package. Once you get in this car it will be hard to get out. Great sound system, quiet ride, and will turn heads as you drive down the road. Definitely a sweet ride."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

My first Kia

By on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, 10 year 100,000 miles warranty!"

Cons: "Nothing I can think of"

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

"After test driving an Acura TSX, and a used Lexus E350, I finally decided to go with a certified used Kia Optima because of its overall value. The car runs good, and for the price we get 201HP, can't ask for more at this level. I have been driving the car for a year, and have no complaints whatsoever. It drives fast when required, and is smooth around the turns! Totally recommend it!"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Sporty looking with many options & big warranty

By on Thursday, July 16, 2015

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I would have to pay a lot more money for a different brand of vehicle with the same options and warranty. Very sporty looking, decent performance and comfortable to drive. Very good gas mileage. The public seems to like the looks of it wherever I go."

4 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Good Car

By on Thursday, July 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Look great"

Cons: "rides ruff, you feel everything."

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

"Over ruff road or bumps, you feel everything. Suspension and shocks need a lot of improvement. Otherwise a good car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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