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2012 Kia Optima

Overview
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2012 Kia Optima Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

The 2012 Kia Optima sedan proves no matter what your past reputation in the market, if you build a superior product filled with features consumers want and wrap it in skin so sexy it smokes every other family sedan on the market, people will buy your car. Once a hardly noticed 4-door sedan, the 2012 Kia Optima now has customers lining up to get behind the wheel. Beyond its sinister good looks and impressive price point, the 2012 Kia Optima family sedan delivers good figures in the area of resale, fuel economy and safety. Covering all the bases, Kia builds a wide range of Optimas including a base model, a luxury model, a high-performance turbo model and even a hybrid. With the 2012 Kia Optima sedan, Kia has left no stone unturned and no competitor a safe place to hide.

You'll Like This Car If...

Beyond its stunning good looks, the 2012 Kia Optima sedan offers features and equipment unavailable even on some premium luxury cars, all at a price that undercuts the competition by a wide margin. Backing up the 2012 Kia Optima is a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although the 2012 Kia Optima sedan holds better 5-year residual values than any Optima before it, those numbers still are not as strong as the values held by the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and even the Optima's sister car, the Hyundai Sonata.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Kia Optima sedan receives a number of improvements and feature upgrades. Foglights and heated side mirrors are added to the standard-equipment list, while the LX trim receives automatic headlights. The Premium package, available on the EX, EX Turbo and SX, gains an 8-speaker Infinity audio system, Kia's UVO voice-activated infotainment system, and power-folding mirrors. HD Radio and power-folding mirrors are added to the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid's Premium and Technology package.

Driving the Optima

Driving Impressions After driving the 2012 Kia Optima sedan we came away rather impressed by both the car's driving dynamics and its 2.4-liter 4-cyinder engine. Confident cornering aided by a nicely weighted...

steering wheel gave us the permission to push the Optima hard, and the electronic traction and stability controls always intervened to save us when we pushed a bit too hard. The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine develops an impressive 200 horsepower. This gasoline direct-injection engine is smooth, powerful and able to cruise 35 highway miles on a single gallon of gasoline (24 miles in city driving). Whether it was passing slow-moving traffic or climbing steep grades, the 2012 Kia Optima's 4-cylinder engine never failed to impress us. Of course, there is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine for those who crave more power. Equally as smooth and quiet as the 2.4-liter engine, the 2.0T pumps out 274 horsepower and is mated to a 6-speed Sportmatic manually shifting automatic transmission. Fuel-economy fans will likely flock to the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid sedan that earns an estimated 35 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

Exterior Styling
The 2012 Kia Optima sedan is one of the sportiest, most stylish midsize sedans out there. We'd even put it up against the styling of some $40,000 European luxury brands.

Turbocharged 2.0-liter engine
Who needs a V6 anyway? This 4-cylinder engine has 274 horsepower and an EPA highway estimate of 34 mpg.

2012 Kia Optima Details
Interior

With a clear nod to Saab dash design, the Kia engineers have created an instrument panel that is quite frankly a refreshing change from the ubiquitous hooded gauge cluster and center-stacked audio- and ventilation-control layout. On upper-end EX and SX trims, customers can opt for such extravagant features as a dual-panel moonroof, heated and cooling front seats, heated rear seats and a voice-activated navigation and infotainment system similar to Ford's SYNC. While we love the look of the 2012 Kia Optima sedan's interior, some of the plastic on the dash and steering wheel still lack the quality look and feel found in Honda, Mazda and even some GM and Ford products. The front seats are pretty comfortable for tall folks, but the Optima's sharply raked rear roofline may cause some headroom issues for the rear-seat passengers.

Exterior

Looking a bit like something from the sci-fi movie Tron, the 2012 Kia Optima is a bold and original piece of work from the ground up. From its cross-hatch front grille and long sweptback headlight housing, to the weather-vane-style wheels on the SX trim, the Optima looks like it's going fast even when it's parked. There is a duality about the 2012 Kia Optima sedan, speaking to both luxury and performance all while masking its true nature to serve duty as a humble family sedan. Even base trims offer such nice features as heated side mirrors, chrome door handle inserts and 16-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Every 2012 Kia Optima sedan 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 2012 Kia Optima sedan 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 includes 16-inch steel wheels and a 6-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, UVO infotainment voice-active system and rearview camera. In addition to a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, the top-of-the-line 2012 Kia Optima SX offers a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues. The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid features lightweight wheels in your choice of standard 16-inch or sporty 17-inch casting, as well as the EcoMinder LCD panel with graphics and lighting that change to show when the car is achieving maximum fuel economy.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Kia Optima sedan doesn't offer the option of a V6, and why should it. The standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is nearly as powerful as some V6 engines and gets far better fuel economy. The Optima's 2.4-liter engine boasts more power and better fuel economy than other 4-cylinder cars in the category, too. Those wanting more power can opt for a turbocharged 2.0 liter (EX Turbo and SX trims only). Both engines are offered with a 6-speed automatic, while the base trim (LX) offers a 6-speed manual. The Optima Hybrid uses the 2.4-liter engine mated to a 40-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 206 horsepower.

2.4-liter in-line 4
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35

2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34

2.4-liter in-line 4 Hybrid
166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
40 horsepower @ 1,400-6,000 rpm (electric motor)
154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
152 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,400 rpm (electric motor)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 35/40

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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2012 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 300 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
    9.5/10

From a Sorento to an Optima - Fabulous!

By on Saturday, April 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,400

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
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Avg. gas mileage stays around 30-34"

Cons: "None!"

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

"I bought this car for better gas mileage and the dealership in Knoxville had a special on the 2015 Optimas. I had put over 25,000 on my Sorento the previous year. Only downfall I have had is I had to forfeit my backup camera and seat heaters when I traded in. I LOVE the look and comfort. I was able to get black on black LX (Interior/Exterior) and the only thing I would have changed is a backup camera. LOVE MY OPTIMA."

Looks like car should be more expensive.Joy to own

By on Saturday, April 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,200

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: "Classy interior, good gas mileage"

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

"I purchased this car one year ago from a private party. He produced all records and I have continued to maintain the car in tip-top shape. Fun car and very good gas mileage."

Could stand some improvements

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price was decent and it is "fun to drive"."

Cons: "Gas mileage rots. Paint could stand to be stronger"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I purchased this vehicle based on the expected "Great" gas mileage it was rated for. Of course, it is based on the "perfect car and driver and terrain (the flat salt plains" that may produce this great feat. My KIA, as impressive as it appears and the great pickup it has when entering the highway, delivers a mileage of 20 miles in the city, 37 miles on the highway with an average combination of 24 miles per gallon. Not as impressive as I thought it would be. The light weighed front end cannot handle the impressive 200 horsepower this car boasts of, it swings from side to side until the accelerator is released or the desired speed is reached. once there, the vehicle handles well. Stopping is another issue. The anti-lock brakes seem to engage almost at every stop. Makes the driver concerned if it will stop at all. Did anyone think to ask if the car comes with a spare? I didn't and when I got my first flat due to an imbedded nail (tires are horrible, by the way)when I called for service, they informed me that they had to tow for the $75 dollar tire filler could not fix the flat. Now KIA offers New owner's choice. (pick the spare, it's only $50 more. There is an old saying I remember: "once you get past the smell, you have it licked", well, once you get past all the little flaws this vehicle has, the rest of the experience of owning a KIA Optima EX is fairly decent. The interior, the cooled and heated seats, the dual climate control, the rear view camera, the NAV system (even though it cost an additional $800, works well and since KIA upgraded the Bluetooth (after about a year and a half), my cellphone once again works well with it. Would I buy another one,depends on whether i can afford one and if they improve the flaws. Otherwise, I will return to Toyota."

2 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Flawless!

By on Thursday, April 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,000

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

Pros: "Comfort, function, appearance, and economy."

Cons: "None."

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

"I've waiting for the day when this car would give me a reason to be displeased with something. I'm still waiting..."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Great looking and terrific value for your money

By on Thursday, April 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great value for your money."

Cons: "Front spoiler to low."

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

"Quicker then I thought for a hybrid but some lag when you first accelerate, but the lag is only for a very brief second and then it gets up and goes faster then the base 4 cylinder optima. Great style."

nice car for the money

By on Thursday, April 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "more interior color choices on sx"

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

"love this car, gets very good gas mileage and is still powerful. have had for over 3 years with no service except for the routine stuff. would buy another one when ready."

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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