2014 Kia Optima

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2014 Kia Optima Review


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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2014

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 the Optima
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.

Who needs a V6 anyway? This 4-cylinder engine has 274 horsepower and an EPA highway estimate of 31 mpg.

2014 Kia Optima Details

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.

2014 Kia Optima photo

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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

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.

Under the Hood

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.

2.4-liter inline-4
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

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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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?