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2012 Kia Optima

Overview
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2012 Kia Optima Review

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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 274 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

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!"

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!"

11 people out of 23 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

Love my Kia!

By on Friday, January 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "Passenger seat sits very low; no spare tire."

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

"There are only two issues I can find wrong with my Kia: the passenger seat does not raise up and there is no spare tire given. That's it. This is a very stylish vehicle for a low price. I love how it drives; very smooth and quiet. I can't tell you how many positive comments and stares I've gotten driving this car, especially when I just washed it. Yep, great car!"

i likea my car

By on Thursday, January 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "well thought out car."

Cons: "needs better gas milage"

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

"Great car that drives well. lOTS OF FEATURES FOR 28K retail like heated/cool seats, heated steering wheel, hd radio. Only issue I have is that it should get a little better gas milage"

1 person out of 2 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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