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2013 Kia Optima

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2013 Kia Optima Review

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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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 348 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 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

Great value for the money

By on Wednesday, February 03, 2016

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great price, fun to drive"

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

"Great value for the money... if you're looking for a great 2nd car this is the one. All of the hypre about steering is a misnomer because tire size and driving mode are adjustable. That solves the problem."

This hybrid has served me well and saved me money!

By on Saturday, January 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,220

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Less gas stops! Can't live without backup camera!"

Cons: "Smaller trunk"

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

"There are so many onboard computer features I can't even list them all here... Navigation, hands-free calling, car system monitoring (I like the view that shows the power pathways and when they're activated!) Most controls are on the steering wheel. There are some spots where bird... stuff has dulled the paint but they are repairable. The interior is in fantastic shape and has been well-treated. Both front seats are electric and are heated/ventilated; the rear seats are ventilated only. The trunk is smaller than usual since the hybrid batteries are stored there, but it isn't too inconvenient. The premium wheels are HOT and have locking lugs! Everyone loves them! And not a scratch on any one of them. Also has a panoramic sunroof which has helped me a lot this winter by allowing solar heat in... No cold car to get into. Keyless entry and pushbutton start. All around reliable car that is very comfortable for long trips."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

wow this car is fantastic

By on Tuesday, January 05, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

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: "fast, fun, sexy, great system and driving dynamics"

Cons: "resale value i guess."

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

just washed

"ok, let me preface this by saying that I never imagined that I would I own a KIA. I was sort of forced into it at the time, but am I ever glad that I was. This car is phenomenal. It's very fast (276hp), amazing on gas (35mpg hwy), has a killer sound system, and the interior feels much more expensive than its class. It's very easy to drive, and it feels surprisingly solid even at higher speeds. The panoramic roof and heated/cooled seats are just a cherry on top of this killer car. I've owned it for close to 2 years now and I've never had a single issue it yet. The only complaint that I have at all, is that I wish the rear seats had more pass-through room when laid flat or if they made it in a hatchback. The only other issue is that on drives longer than an hour, your butt will certainly feel the firmness of the sports seats. However, my wife's VW is no different in that regard. I highly recommend this car to anyone and I do often. I let my neighbor and his wife borrow it and they bought one of their own the following weekend."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

just washed

excellent Optima EX

By on Sunday, January 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great car!!"

Cons: "none"

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

"The 4 years I have owned this car has given excellent service, milage always 28 city 33 to 35 highway the longer trips was always better. My only drawback is the tires they put on them from factory have alot to be desired. I got 30k out of them and still had 4/10 on them. I changed oil every 3500 miles factory says 7thousand dont believe in that. All in all this car is very reliable and comfortable to drive."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Kia will not back it's Warranty

By on Monday, December 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
5/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Nothing"

Cons: "Bad Warranty Practices"

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

"I bought the car used from a dealer in 2014. The Optima had 13k miles on it. With in the first year it started to sputter. I took it into the Kia dealer and they stated that Kia Corporate could not validate all oi1 changes and voided my warranty. The engine needs to be replaced and they are doing nothing about it. The car has less than 35k miles on it."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Simply a great car!

By on Thursday, December 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"I have previously owned several Kia Sorentos and now an Optima. I have been very impressed with the quality and reliability of each and would highly recommend potential buyers looking for a sedan to consider one of the Optima models. Good looks, good quality and outstanding reliability."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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