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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 358 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
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

2nd favorite car I have owned.

By on Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 88,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Love the looks and drive"

Cons: "Road noise and the head rests"

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

"I have had so many compliments on my car. It is a great car just has to much road noise and the front seat head rests are uncomfortable."

I Love my Kia Optima

By on Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"This is my second Kia Optima and I love this car. The car runs great and is fast. My son always says 'mom your car is fast' I love to hear that. :) And I am not even going that fast, it just feels like it (this car is like my family sports car). Plus, it has a lot of room and all the features are great. I especially like the back camera and hands free phone use. My kids love the cup holders in the back. I also love the phone holder by the dash area. Not to mention, the trunk is big enough fit lots of groceries and some."

Sharp KIA, chrome wheels, options, gr8 mileage

By on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Fantastic mileage, fun to drive, sporty/ luxury"

Cons: "None"

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

"Very sharp, Nappa leather seat trim, beautiful KIA Optima SXL, 19K miles, adult driven,automatic panoramic sunroof w/power shade, heated/cooled bucket seats, power everything 18" Chrome Alloy Wheels, keyless entry, push button start and remote start, backup camera. Memory seat settings, back seat access to trunk. Black with sharp black interior. Infinity Audio System 8 speakers. Heated outside mirrors, Blind spot detection System. Must see this beauty."

FAVORITE VEHICLE I'VE OWNED

By on Friday, May 20, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "GREAT ACCELERATION, SPORTY HANDLING, A FUN RIDE!"

Cons: "ROAD NOISE COULD BE LESS"

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

"I BOUGHT THIS KIA SX USED, (1 YEAR OLD, 10K MI) & HAVE BEEN VERY HAPPY WITH THIS CAR OVERALL. AMAZING POWER FOR A 4-CYL, ALTHOUGH MPG IS LESS THAN CLAIMED, BUT I RARELY USE THE OPTIONAL "ECO" SETTING. MANY OPTIONS COME STANDARD WITH THIS MODEL, INTERIOR IS ROOMY & TRUNK CAPACITY SEEMS HUGE! IF I COULD THINK OF A COMPLAINT (WHICH I REALLY DON'T HAVE ANY) WOULD PROBABLY BE THE ROAD NOISE COMING UP FROM UNDER THE CAR-IT COULD BE LESS, BUT IT'S NOT SEVERE. FWD MAKES IT A SPORTY HANDLER & FUN TO DRIVE. NO PROBLEMS WITH THE CAR, JUST ROUTINE SERVICE DURING THE 2 YEARS I'VE OWNED IT."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great car for the price

By on Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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

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
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "over all great car for its value"

Cons: "ROADNOISE"

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

"This car is great if u want to compare head to head with other cars in its class. Now i do note that quality is a bit unrefined or under par when compared to other cars in class that I have owned ( 2010 TSX, audi a4 2007, cadillac ats 2013). My biggest dislike has to be road noise worst of all the cars i have driven. ROAD NOISE is bad maybe its the panaramic sunroof, if so got live with it just because i love the glass roof, but yes very loud. Coming up on first oil change tomorrow after owing for 9 months 3800 miles. Must say really happy with car over all. Gas milage is ok power is nice but unrefined it like a burst not smooth acceleration like cadillac. RWD vs FWD may have to be taken into account. Love my lights rear and head lights. Heated and cooled front seats Great. Great rear leg room! Also panoramic sunroof cause some chassis noise especially when turnng, feel chassis could be stiffer but have read similer concerns other cars with panoramic glass options .Brake could be better but aren't horrible."

2 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best car I have owned

By on Monday, April 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "econimc, luxury comparable car"

Cons: "steering wheel"

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

"We thought we would trade our vehicle in for a good model year end deal. The car was much more than we thought it would be. Its roomy and comfortable on the inside. Wish we had opted for power seat and a sun roof. One complaint may seem odd--the steering wheel didnt seem very ergonomic. It was awkward holding hands at certain angles for extended time."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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