2019 Kia Optima

Starting Price: $23,820 | Price Yours

Above Average: Great overall value, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, tons of advanced safety features and a warranty that blows many competitors out of the water.

Below Average: No all-wheel drive option.

Consensus: The 2019 Kia Optima is a good-looking midsize sedan that gets good fuel economy, great tech, and very good value.  It is one of Kia’s best-selling models.


2019 Chevrolet Malibu

Starting Price: $22,965| Price Yours

Above Average: Spacious interior, fuel-efficient, sporty and good-looking the Chevy Malibu definitely deserves a second look.

Below Average: No V6 powerplant, soft resale value.

Consensus: A wealth of features and various models makes the 2019 Chevy Malibu a worthy opponent—even against some of its foreign rivals.

The 2019 Kia Optima gets a handsome new exterior as well as a suite of upgraded Advanced Driver Assistant Systems (ADAS) as standard including things like forward collision avoidance assistance, driver attention warning, and lane keeping assist. While most people may not consider the Optima a sport sedan, our editors think it comes awfully close. The transmission is smooth and responsive, and the Optima offers four different driving modes that make it enjoyable to drive in a variety of conditions. The interior of the Optima has a ton of high-quality materials and includes a Harman Kardon sound system. For 2019 Kia updated it’s UVO infotainment system making it more user friendly, too.

For 2019 the Chevrolet Malibu gets a new RS model, a few styling changes, an 8-inch driver information center, and all the vehicles with the 1.5-liter engine have a CVT transmission as standard. While we didn’t get to experience that version, we did get to spend some seat time in the 2.0-liter turbocharged version with a 9-speed automatic transmission. We found the Malibu in this configuration to be quick off the line and the steering felt weighted enough to give good feedback out on twisting roads. The car was comfortable and, dare we say, even nimble when it came to quick lane changes and tight corners. Inside the Malibu gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, comfortable seats and a good-looking, easy to use infotainment system.


Both the Kia Optima and the Chevy Malibu offer comfortable good-looking interiors.

Kia Optima Advantages

Smart styling, tons of standard safety equipment and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come as standard.

Chevrolet Malibu Advantages

A variety of different powerplants and interior and exterior styling makes the Chevy Malibu stand out.

Final Recommendation

We liked the Kia Optima for its value-packed offerings and its sporty driving dynamics over the Malibu. The Malibu suffers particularly on the resale front. For our money we’d go with the Kia.

Ready to buy a Kia Optima or Chevrolet Malibu? Use KBB to search local dealer inventory

  2019 Kia Optima 2019 Chevrolet Malibu
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.4-liter I4 1.5-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm 163 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque 178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 2,500-3,000 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-spd Continuously Variable
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (25 city/36 hwy) 32 mpg (29 city/36 hwy)
Also Available 2.0-liter turbo I4,1.6-liter turbo I4, hybrid, 7-spd automatic 2.0-liter turbo, hybrid, 9-spd automatic
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years /36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 110.4 inches 111.4 inches
Overall Length 191.1 inches 193.8 inches
Width 73.2 inches 73.0 inches
Height 57.7 inches 57.6 inches
Turning Diameter 35.8 feet 37.0 feet
Headroom, Front 39.8 inches 40.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.8 inches 37.5 inches
Legroom, Front 45.5 inches 45.3 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.6 inches 38.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 58.1 inches 58.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.4 inches 57.1 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 104.8 cu. ft. 102.9 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.9 cu. ft. 11.6 cu. ft.
New Car Spotlight


Free Dealer Price Quote

Get the best price and be more prepared with your free, no-obligation price quote