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 high fun-to-drive ratio

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 Volkswagen Passat

Starting Price: $26,190 | Price Yours

Above Average: A fun-to-drive European sedan that is made in America, gets great safety ratings, good fuel economy and a huge backseat

Below Average: No all-wheel drive or hybrid options

Consensus: While the Passat’s lineup is pared down for this model year it still offers great European-style drivability for a good price.

The 2019 Kia Optima benefits from a handsome new exterior as well as a suite of upgraded Advanced Driver Assistant Systems (ADAS) as standard equipment 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 Volkswagen Passat model range is reduced to just two trim levels the base Wolfsburg Edition and the SE R-line. That's a bit of a bummer since it was previously offered with a V6 which most people really enjoyed. The Passat does get standard features like forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. We like the Passat's smooth and comfortable ride and excellent visibility as well as the responsive steering and brakes. While it may be a great highway cruiser, we really liked that there is still a bit of playfulness to the Passat when you decide to put the pedal to the metal. One complaint we had was the aging 6-speed transmission. The back seat is enormous, and the interior design is understated and simple. We also think that the warranty that comes with the Passat is pretty impressive (6-year/72,000 mile bumper-to-bumper.)


Both the Kia Optima and the Volkswagen Passat offer comfortable, good-looking interiors with lots of space as well as two of the best warranties in the business.

Kia Optima Advantages

Good looking, tons of standard safety equipment and both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come as standard.

Volkswagen Passat Advantages

Sporty and quiet, but fun to drive.

Final Recommendation

We liked the Kia Optima for its value-packed offerings, and it’s sporty driving dynamics over the Volkswagen Passat. The Passat is a bit less reliable and has a higher long-term ownership cost. 

Ready to buy one of these family cars? Shop for an Optima or Passat near you!

  2019 Kia Optima 2019 VW Passat
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.4-liter I4 2.0-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 185 hp @ 6000 RPM 174 hp @ 5000 rpm
Torque 178 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM 184 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-Spd Automatic, 6-spd
Fuel Economy 27 mpg (24 city/33 hwy) 29 mpg (25 city/36 hwy)
Also Available 1.6-liter turbo I4, 1.6-liter I4, 2.0-liter turbo I4, Hybrid   
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 6 years/72,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 5 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 110.4 inches 110.4 inches
Overall Length 191.1 inches 191.9 inches
Width 73.2 inches 72.2 inches
Height 57.7 inches 58.5 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. 102.0 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.9 cu ft. 15.9 cu. ft.
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