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2013 Kia Optima

Overview
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2013 Kia Optima Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

The famous automotive leader Bob Lutz once said it costs as much to build an ugly car as it does a beautiful one. In the 2013 Kia Optima sedan, Mr. Lutz's words have been proven spot on. Costing no more than a comparably-equipped Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, the Optima for 2013 outshines its competition with stunning good looks, compact car-like fuel economy, a great warranty and ever-improving resale figures. Add to the mix a panoramic sunroof and heated and cooling seats, and the Optima might appear to be the bargain of the century. Models range from the well-equipped entry LX to the luxurious EX to the fuel-efficient Hybrid. There's even a high-performance turbo model that will shame some premium brands costing tens of thousands more.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a fuel-efficient family sedan that isn't easily lost in a crowded parking lot, the 2013 Kia Optima is it. Combining stunning styling with an affordable price and an unbeatable warranty, the 2013 Kia Optima goes beyond the basic family sedan in features, performance and resale value.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2013 Kia Optima's styling may be a bit too over-the-top for some, and its sloping rear roof severely cuts into rear-seat headroom. Also, some of the Optima's interior plastics still look and feel a bit hard.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, Kia has added a Limited model to the SX trim than includes Nappa leather seating, LED daytime running lights, red brake calipers and 18-inch chrome wheels. The manual transmission on the LX trim has been dropped, as has the turbo version of the EX.

Driving the Optima

Driving Impressions After just a short time behind the wheel of the 2013 Kia Optima, we came away impressed, both by the car's driving dynamics and its 2.4-liter 4-cyinder engine. Confident cornering...

aided by nicely-weighted steering encouraged us to push the Optima sedan hard, and the electronic traction and stability controls always intervened 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 deliver 35 highway miles on a single gallon of gasoline. Whether it was passing slow-moving traffic or climbing steep grades, the 2013 Kia Optima's 4-cylinder engine never failed to impress us. There is also a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine for those who crave more power. Equally as smooth and quiet as the 2.4-liter engine, the 2.0 turbo pumps out 274 horsepower, but is mated to the same 6-speed Sportmatic manually-shifting automatic transmission.

EXTERIOR STYLING
The 2013 Kia Optima sedan is one of the sportiest, most stylish mid-size 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 four-cylinder engine has 274 horsepower and an EPA highway estimate of 34 mpg.

2013 Kia Optima Details
2013 Kia Optima photo Interior

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 2013 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
2013 Kia Optima photo

Looking a bit like something from the sci-fi movie Tron, the Kia's 2013 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 likes it's going fast even when it's parked. There is a duality about the Optima sedan for 2013, 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 2013 Kia Optima family 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 Optima has 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 automatic transmission.

Optional Equipment

Optional equipment highlights include a panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather seating, 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 2013 Kia Optima SX and SX Limited models offer a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues. The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid features lightweight wheels in your choice of standard 16-inch or sporty 17-inchers, 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 2013 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. In fact, it has more power and better fuel economy than many other 4-cylinder cars in the category, as well. Those wanting more power can opt for the turbocharged 2.0 liter (SX trims only). Only one transmission is offered: A 6-speed Sportronic automatic with manual-shift mode. 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 inline-4 (LX and EX trims)
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
192 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle)
186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (SX and SX Limited)
274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg

2.4-liter hybrid inline-4 + electric motor/generator (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 mpg

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2013 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 273 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

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

very good- 2 deficiencies

By on Tuesday, January 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"First deficiency is that the passenger seat is not adjustable and is way too low to the ground. Second is my fault..I should have gotten the side mirror blind spot detection. Otherwise, car is very comfortable and powerful."

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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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