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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

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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2013 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 292 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

Great car for the money

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500

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: "Great price, fun to drive"

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

"I was searching for a low mileage car still under warranty when I stumbled upon a 2013 Kia Optima. I had previously driven a Hyundai Sonata but was not impressed with the comfort of the seats or some of the other features of the car. Once I drove the Optima I loved the way it handled, the quiet ride it felt like a luxury car for $5,000 less than the Sonata with fewer miles. I have been very pleased with my purchase. If you are in doubt, drive one the car sells itself. Now I have the premium package which came with heated/cooled seats, premium sound package as well as panoramic sunroof. It is a fun car to drive and looks sharp. Kia wasn't officially on my radar when I began looking for a car, but now that I own one, I would gladly recommend the vehicle."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

It has looks, power and makes me smile

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,600

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: "Fun, Sporty, luxurious"

Cons: "None"

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

"After my brother test drove it he said why would anyone spend $10,000 more for a BMW or Lexus sedan. Over time the Kia badge hopefully will get the respect it deserves. The red metallic paint shines up so nice and when I hop on the gas it is so responsive. I tell my kids that my first Corvette in 1985 only had 235 horse power compared to my Optima that has 274 out of a four cylinder. Zero to 60 times are below 7 seconds. This car is the bomb! Oh yeah never had anything go wrong with it in 2 years. Would highly recommend!"

Easy to drive, economical, comfortable

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, Easy to drive, good mileage. Reliable"

Cons: "Lack of headroom for tall people!"

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

"Bought a 2013 Optima new. Mileage is good:34 road, 29 town. Comfortable except for headroom. Easy to drive. Plenty of power. No mechanical problems at all in the first 30,000 miles. Nice looks! Would buy another!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I love, love, love my car!

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

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: "Looks great, luxurious, sporty."

Cons: "Headrest/back-up camera fogs in rainy weather"

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

"Great value and quality, yet it is not a high-dollar car. I have all of the bells and whistles of those more expensive luxury cars, yet I don't have the notes associated with these cars. My car looks and feels great on the road. It's sporty, sexy and others are always taking a double look and telling me what a great car I have. I am not into "names", so I don't need a named car to make me feel like I am important. I feel as if I scored big with my Kia Optima. It has personality and luxury and it suits me well. The only cons are that sometimes the back-up camera fogs up in rainy weather and the headrest is a little uncomfortable."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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: "Excellent value"

Cons: "None that I can think of."

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

"I have had my car for 3 years. Not one problem in all that time. Great looks, comfortable ride, excellent mileage. What more can you ask for."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I'll Buy Another

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Engine - Transmission - Fuel Mileage"

Cons: "Road noise - Passenger seat is low"

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

"Drive train is this car's strongest suit. Engine/Transmission are flawless with great fuel mileage. Ride is comfortable but does have some road noise and the original tires were replaced at 12,000 miles. overall this was a great choice and we're all quite happy!"

1 person out of 1 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

Buying this car?