2018 Kia Optima

Starting Price: $23,495 | Price Yours

Above Average: Seductive styling, numerous high-tech features, luxurious SX trim, outstanding warranty, hybrid option

Below Average: Driver assist features cost extra, hybrid fuel economy lags behind rivals

Consensus: A family 4-door with the interior of a luxury car and the handling of a sport sedan.


2018 Hyundai Sonata

Starting Price: $22,935 | Price Yours

Above Average:  Roominess, great warranty, cutting-edge infotainment, numerous engine options including a plug-in hybrid

Below Average: Somewhat numb steering feel, not much else to find fault with

Consensus: An impressively well-equipped sedan with numerous high-tech features, trims and engine options backed by one of the best warranties in the industry.


The Kia Optima shares many parts with its close relative, the Hyundai Sonata. However, Kia has built in enough difference to make it easy to separate the two. The Optima gives up a little bit of interior room and trunk space in the name of a sleeker exterior and lower trunk. It also offers more upscale features than the Sonata, such as a panoramic moonroof and quilted Nappa leather seating. Both cars offer the same engine/powertrain lineup comprised of three gasoline engines, one hybrid and one plug-in hybrid. The Optima and Sonata also enjoy the same long 5-year/60,000-mile standard and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Resale and reliability ratings are nearly identical, but the Sonata costs a few hundred dollars less than its Kia counterpart.  At night, the Optima’s switches and instrument panel components are backlit in bright red, whereas the Sonata’s switchgear emits a soothing blue glow.


The Sonata and Optima both offer an outstanding standard warranty, excellent resale values and numerous drivetrain options

Kia Optima Advantages

Sporty styling, ride and handling, more optional luxury features, 630-watt Harman/Kardon audio

Hyundai Sonata Advantages

Slightly less expensive, slightly larger passenger and cargo space, 400-watt Infinity audio

Final Recommendation

Mechanically, the Optima and Sonata have a lot in common. However, if you’re looking for a softer ride, maximum interior room and a slightly lower price, the Sonata holds the advantage. Those seeking a sportier ride and features like a panoramic moonroof will likely have no issues paying the Optima's marginally higher bottom line.

  2018 Kia Optima 2018 Hyundai Sonata
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.4-liter I4 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-spd Automatic, 6-spd
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (25 city/36 hwy) 29 mpg (25 city/36 hwy)
Also Available 2.0L turbo I4,1.6L turbo I4, hybrid, 7-spd AT 2.0L turbo I4,1.6L I4, hybrid, 7-spd AT
Warranty 5 years or 60,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 110.4 inches 110.4 inches
Overall Length 191.1 inches 191.1 inches
Width 73.2 inches 73.4 inches
Height 57.7 inches 58.1 inches
Turning Diameter 35.8 feet 35.8 feet
Headroom, Front 39.8 inches 40.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.8 inches 38.0 inches
Legroom, Front 45.5 inches 45.5 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.6 inches 35.6 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.1 inches 57.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.4 inches 56.5 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 104.8 cu. ft. 106.1 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.9 cu. ft. 16.3 cu. ft.
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