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2011 Kia Optima

Overview
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2011 Kia Optima Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

If midsize sedans were contestants on a dating show, the previous-generation Kia Optima would have been among the first would-be suitors kicked off. Bland to behold inside and out, and generally uncompetitive in every category but average selling price, the old Optima was easy to overlook. But things have changed in a big way for the 2011 model year. The Kia Optima is now one of the most stylish, most amenity-laden midsize sedans available, and qualifies as a viable, attractive alternative to the segment's heaviest hitters.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2011 Kia Optima backs up its standout styling with driving dynamics and an equipment list that outclass most of its competitors'. And price is still a strong suit.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Kia resale values are improving at a rapid rate, but the 2011 Kia Optima isn't predicted to prove as resilient as stalwarts like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Kia Optima is as all-new as it gets, offering sharper interior and exterior styling, new engine options (including a turbocharged variant) and new tech-savvy features

Driving the Optima

Driving Impressions We were impressed with the 2011 Kia Optima's balance of sport and comfort. Smooth and quiet on the highway, the Optima also corners as confidently as most anything you'll find...

in the category. We were only able to drive the EX trim level with the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine, but it did not disappoint. The engine was responsive and very smooth with more than enough power for passing and going up steep hills; its fuel-sipping qualities are an added plus. On the inside, the seats remained comfortable over long stretches, and the driver-centric dash was a welcome arrangement for making climate/audio adjustments on the fly.

Exterior Styling
If the 2011 Kia Optima isn't the sportiest, most stylish midsize sedan out there, it's pretty close.

Turbocharged 2.0-liter engine
Who needs a V6 anyway? This four-cylinder has 274-horspower and an EPA highway estimate of 34 mpg.

2011 Kia Optima Details
Interior

The interior of the 2011 Kia Optima takes a different approach than other cars in the segment as its driver-focused center stack gives a cockpit-like feel. Leather touches abound - on leather-equipped models - and we appreciated the soft-touch materials on the dash and door panels. Taller passengers might take issue with the Optima's rear headroom.

Exterior
2011 Kia Optima photo

We call it "futuristically bold," but most would call just plain "different." From the cross-hatch front grille sandwiched between wrap-around headlights to the sweeping chrome arc that extends back to the sleekly styled rear end, the car exudes a luxurious feel that makes it look more expensive than it is. What makes it more interesting is the high beltline and sloping roofline that give the car a sporty profile. Depending on the trim, the Optima is equipped with a choice of 16-, 17- or 18-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Every 2011 Kia Optima offers Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod/USB audio connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a cooling glove box that keeps drinks chilled. As for safety, the Optima comes with an impressive array of features including six airbags and electronic stability control. Like other base-priced models in its class, the entry-level Optima comes with 16-inch steel wheels and six-speed manual transmission.

Optional Equipment

Optional equipment highlights include a panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled front seats, heated rear seats, Infinity sound system, touch-screen navigation system and back-up camera. In addition to a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the top-of-the-line 2011 Kia Optima SX offers a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues.

Under the Hood

Offering more horsepower than the previous-generation Optima's V6 – and far better fuel economy – the new 2.4-liter engine is a welcome addition. It boasts more power and better fuel-economy than other cars in the category, while those wanting more power can opt for a turbocharged 2.0-liter (EX Turbo and SX trims only). Both engines are offered with a six-speed automatic, while the base-trim (LX) offers a six-speed manual.

2.4-liter in-line four cylinder
200 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
186 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 (manual), 24/34 (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder
274 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
269 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750 - 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34

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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2011 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 233 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

love it

By on Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I don't own this car

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "all around great deal, great price"

Cons: "seat, mileage suffers when hot-rodded"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"leased for last 2 1/2 years. will buy it at lease end. great power & economy for upscale family car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

LOVE THIS CAR

By on Thursday, July 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,148

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to Drive - very stylish ride!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We LOVE LOVE LOVE our Optima. Only drawback is that after a while, sitting so low - especially on the passenger side, gets kind of old (guess I'm getting old). Best car out there for the price!!!"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

SO SO

By on Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "MPG'S"

Cons: "FIT AND FINISH"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"GOOD GAS MILEAGE , BUMPY RIDE , NOT FOR SOMEONE WHO HATES CONFINED SPACES , BODY PANEL FINISH LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED. CAR LOOKS BIGGER FROM THE OUTSIDE THAN IT REALLY IS INSIDE. GET AN INTERNET PRICE , MINE WAS 4500.00 OFF RETAIL. CAN'T SEE MYSELF DRIVING THIS MUCH LONGER."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Beautiful car if it was reliable.

By on Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Looks nice, great options and gas mileage"

Cons: "Unreliable, poor cust. srvcs, bad trade in values"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I loved my vehicle for the first 2 years of ownership. It is beautiful in and out. It came equipped with every option imaginable. It was a bit pricey but the gas mileage made up for the 35k price tag. I would have given the car a 9/10 until.....it stopped working! Hybrid System Warning left me stranded on 3 separate occasions. The dealership has had my vehicle in their possession for almost 8 weeks. All of that and the car is still not fixed. The dealer was unable to replicate the problem. Kia has been less than helpful. For my inconvenience they have offered to extend my warranty. While Kia had my car trying to figure out the problem I was still forced to make the $500 car payment even though I was driving an economy rental. Now I'm stuck waiting for it to happen again. Kia's solution when I break down is "don't turn the car off, tell the tow truck driver to leave it running." Now we are supposed to take a 10 hour trip to Canada and I'm seriously considering renting a car so we are not stranded, all the while paying a $500 payment! All this for the trade in value 2 years later to be around $14,500. Can't get rid of the thing if I wanted!"

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Probably tthe best car that I have owned

By on Monday, June 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I was influenced to buy this car by a "little old lady" in Lowes parking lot - she was full of praise. Went to buy a Hyundai but this car won out. I am very satisfied with it in all aspects and after 3 years use it has never let me down."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

BEST CAR FOR THE MONEY

By on Monday, June 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful, quiet, powerful, great mileage"

Cons: "PASSENGER SEAT IS TOO LOW...PROVIDE AN ADJUSTMENT"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have an addiction...buying a new car every year. Had in the past Sonata, Genesis, BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes. Downtraded a Lexus RX350, 2013 for this 2014 Optima LX... The car is beautiful red and gets looks everywhere I go. The paint is of the highest quality. ONE COMPLAINT is that similar to the Sonata and Genesis HYUNDAI/KIA DOESN'T REALIZE THAT NO HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT ON THE PASSENGER SEAT IS VERY BAD. My wife is short and has to use a cushion...FIX THIS PLEASE.... I will look at the 2015 Genesis and Sonata to see if they have fixed this. Otherwise I do not know how they build this car for the money."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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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

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