By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
Kia employed German designer Peter Schreyer (best known for the Audi TT) to oversee all of its designs. In the 2014 Optima, Mr. Schreyer has penned one of the most dynamic midsize sedans on the planet. Wisely, Kia backs the Optima's good looks with a choice of cutting-edge engine technologies, including a hybrid model, and has given its interior a thorough makeover. Costing no more than the average family sedan, the Optima outshines the competition both visually and in terms of optional equipment. Beyond its great fuel economy and unbeatable warranty, Kia offers such luxuries as a panoramic moonroof and heated and cooling front seats. Whether you seek the most basic LX or the top-of-the-line SX Limited, the Optima always delivers more than what its asking price suggests.
If you need a roomy family sedan but you refuse to drive a boring car, take a look at the 2014 Kia Optima. Fuel-efficient, powerful and fun to drive, the Optima's stunning good looks are mirrored inside its well-appointed cabin.
Some of the Optima's interior plastic parts still feel a bit hard to the touch, and its rear-seat headroom is somewhat curtailed by the car's sloping roofline. Front-passenger seating sits low and the passenger seat gets few adjustable positions even on the top trims.
For 2014, Kia has revised the Optima's styling, accentuating its dramatic front and rear end. Interior upgrades include the addition of 4.3-inch TFT LCD cluster display screen, new seat designs and an available Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) with rear cross traffic alert. A new Driver Mode Select option adjusts shift points and steering weight.
Driving Impressions It doesn't take much time behind the wheel of the 2014 Kia Optima to get a favorable impression of this car. The 192-horsepower 2.4-liter engine is smooth and powerful, yet...... delivers amazingly good fuel economy. We found the Optima's suspension dialed more for comfort than performance, at least in the LX and EX trims, and we surmise that's exactly the formula preferred by most sedan buyers. The Optima's steering feel is a bit on the heavy side, but it's nice at cruising speeds requiring minimal input to make course corrections. This same engine is used on the hybrid model, but gets an extra boost from the electric motor making it surprisingly quick. While no V6 is offered, the SX trim can be equipped with a 274-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter. Robust, responsive and never slow to answer the call, the turbo turns the Optima into one mean street machine.
The 2014 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 4-cylinder engine has 274 horsepower and an EPA highway estimate of 31 mpg.
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 2014 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, Kia's 2014 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 red brake calipers on the SX-T trim, the Optima looks likes it's going fast even when it's parked. There is a duality about the Optima sedan for 2014, 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.
Every 2014 Kia Optima family sedan offers Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod/USB audio connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, heated side mirrors, fog lights, tilt/telescopic steering column, 6-way power driver's seat 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 includes a panoramic moonroof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather seating, 8-speaker Infinity sound system, HID headlights, LED fog lights, touch-screen navigation system, push-button start with Smart Key, UVO infotainment voice-active system, Blind Spot Detection and rearview camera. In addition to a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, the top SX and SX Limited models offer a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues. The 2014 Optima Hybrid features lightweight wheels in standard 16-inch or sporty 17-inch size, as well as the EcoMinder LCD panel with graphics that show when the car is achieving maximum fuel economy.
The 2014 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 some 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. However, on SX trims a Drive Mode Select option adjusts the transmission's shift points and the power steering input to better suit the driver's needs. The Optima Hybrid uses the 2.4-liter engine mated to a 40-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 206 horsepower.
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: 23/34 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 mpg
2.4-liter hybrid inline-4 + electric motor/generator
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: 36/40 mpg
The 2014 Kia Optima sedan starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $22,300 and stretches past $38,000 when fully loaded. The 2014 Optima Hybrid starts just under $30,000. Feature for feature, the Kia Optima sedan offers more for the money than the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. Before heading to your local Kia dealer, be sure and check our Fair Purchase Price to see what the 2014 Optima is selling for in your area. As for resale value, we expect the newly redesigned Optima to hold its value better than the Ford Fusion, Dodge Avenger and Chevy Malibu, and to be only a few percentage points shy of the segment-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
By Steve on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,200overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "very responsive engine"
Cons: "steering / cheap plastic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The steering is OK driving locally. The freeway is a different story. Steering feels rubbery and with a delayed reaction to adjustments. It is very tiring to drive this car any real distance."
1 person out of 4 found this review helpful
By CJ on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks great"
Cons: "Gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Car looks great and drives great but I am not getting the mileage I was told the hybrid would get. I am lucky to get 28-32 on a good day when Kia shows 34-39. Very disappointed in the mileage but overall the car is very comfortable. Next time I will not fool with a hybrid when there are a lot of cars getting the same gas mileage, or better gas mileage, without the added hybrid price."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By heyyous on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great looks, lots of options, excellent gas mileag"
Cons: "noisier than it should be, seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Has all the "bells and whistles" of the Lexus I traded in (and then some). Handles well. No repairs whatsoever. What more could one ask for in a car at this price?"
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful