Handsome midsize sedans that offer plenty of rear legroom are not a dime a dozen. But in this 2020 Kia Optima vs. Volkswagen Passat comparison, the roominess is a virtue in both.
2020 Kia Optima
Starting Price: $23,190 | Price Yours
Above Average: Great overall value, standard Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, tons of advanced safety features, and a long warranty
Below Average: No all-wheel-drive option, dated design
Consensus: The 2020 Kia Optima is a good-looking sedan that gets good fuel economy, great tech, and good value. It is one of Kia’s best-selling models.
2020 Volkswagen Passat
Starting Price: $22,995 | Price Yours
Above Average: Two years of free maintenance, lots of standard equipment and driver-assist and safety equipment, quiet interior, huge trunk
Below Average: Only one engine and transmission choice, no AWD
Consensus: The 2020 Volkswagen Passat gets a subtle upgrade for this generation, including an upscale interior and plenty of standard equipment.
Optima vs. Passat: Room to grow
The 2020 Kia Optima is now five years old and gets a new suite of standard technology features for this year. On EX and SX trims, the Optima gets standard smartphone wireless charging. On the LX and S trims, the Optima gets an enhanced forward-collision avoidance system with pedestrian detection. The EX Premium trim becomes its own separate trim all together increasing the trim lines to six different varieties for 2020. The Kia comes with a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine, or, on higher trims, you can get the turbocharged 1.6-liter or the turbocharged 2.0-liter. Prices have increased across the line for the 2020 Kia Optima.
The 2020 Volkswagen Passat is a roomy midsize sedan that offers German driving dynamics in an understated Made In America package. For 2020 the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine makes a bit more torque. While it only gets a 22 lb-ft boost over the 2019 model, the added oomph makes a noticeable difference on the road. The drawback is that the 2020 Passat is slightly less fuel-efficient than the previous model year. The Volkswagen is moderately sporty on the road, but we really liked just how quiet and comfortable the interior is. Both front and back seats offer plenty of room for passengers, and the elegantly redesigned interior is attractive and fresh. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard though you’ll need to step up in the line in order to get adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. The SEL model gets almost all of the optional features.
A suite of standard safety and technology features come in both vehicles
Kia Optima Advantages
Pricing and a stellar warranty
Volkswagen Passat Advantages
Two years of free maintenance
While the Kia Optima is aging a bit, it still offers a fantastic value proposition and just edges out the Volkswagen Passat in this comparison. We like it because it comes with all the bells and whistles you want, at a slightly more affordable price than the VW Passat SEL, which is the trim you’d need to get into to compare apples-to-apples.
Ready to buy a Kia Optima or a Volkswagen Passat? Find one on sale now at a dealership near you.
|2020 Kia Optima||2020 Volkswagen Passat|
|Engine||2.4-liter inline-4||2.0-liter Inline-4|
|Horsepower||185 hp @ 6,000 rpm||174 hp @ 5,200 rpm|
|Torque||178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||206 lb-ft @ 1,700 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed manual|
|Fuel Economy||29 mpg (25 city/35 hwy)||27 mpg (23 city/34 hwy)|
|Also Available||1.6-liter turbo I4; 2.0-liter turbo I4; hybrid||6-speed automatic|
|Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||n/a||n/a|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||110.4 inches||110.4 inches|
|Overall Length||191.1 inches||193.6 inches|
|Width||73.2 inches||72.2 inches|
|Height||57.7 inches||58.0 inches|
|Turning Diameter||35.8 feet||36.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||39.8 inches||38.3 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||37.8 inches||37.8 inches|
|Legroom, Front||45.5 inches||42.4 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||35.6 inches||39.1 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||58.1 inches||56.9 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||56.4 inches||57.0 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||104.8 cu. ft.||102 cu. ft.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||15.9 cu. ft.||15.9 cu. ft.|