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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
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 292 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

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

Excellent all-around reliable car.

By on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: trade in on new Kia

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive, mileage, economical"

Cons: "Sound system, Wish I had the sunroof"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The great feature with the Optima are: great gas mileage, quiet ride, even with the 2.4L 4cyl motor..decent power when you need it, A LOT of room in the back even for taller people, very comfortable. Virtually maintenance free as long as you take care of oil changes and recommended services. The only downfall with the car is, at least for me, it's a car. Getting older makes getting into a car a bit more cumbersome. Never thought I would get what people meant by that when I was younger. Staying with the Kia brand though. The 2016 Kia Sorento is a slam dunk!"

Great car for the money

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500

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

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive"

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

"I was searching for a low mileage car still under warranty when I stumbled upon a 2013 Kia Optima. I had previously driven a Hyundai Sonata but was not impressed with the comfort of the seats or some of the other features of the car. Once I drove the Optima I loved the way it handled, the quiet ride it felt like a luxury car for $5,000 less than the Sonata with fewer miles. I have been very pleased with my purchase. If you are in doubt, drive one the car sells itself. Now I have the premium package which came with heated/cooled seats, premium sound package as well as panoramic sunroof. It is a fun car to drive and looks sharp. Kia wasn't officially on my radar when I began looking for a car, but now that I own one, I would gladly recommend the vehicle."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

It has looks, power and makes me smile

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,600

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

Pros: "Fun, Sporty, luxurious"

Cons: "None"

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

"After my brother test drove it he said why would anyone spend $10,000 more for a BMW or Lexus sedan. Over time the Kia badge hopefully will get the respect it deserves. The red metallic paint shines up so nice and when I hop on the gas it is so responsive. I tell my kids that my first Corvette in 1985 only had 235 horse power compared to my Optima that has 274 out of a four cylinder. Zero to 60 times are below 7 seconds. This car is the bomb! Oh yeah never had anything go wrong with it in 2 years. Would highly recommend!"

Easy to drive, economical, comfortable

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Comfortable, Easy to drive, good mileage. Reliable"

Cons: "Lack of headroom for tall people!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought a 2013 Optima new. Mileage is good:34 road, 29 town. Comfortable except for headroom. Easy to drive. Plenty of power. No mechanical problems at all in the first 30,000 miles. Nice looks! Would buy another!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I love, love, love my car!

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Looks great, luxurious, sporty."

Cons: "Headrest/back-up camera fogs in rainy weather"

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

"Great value and quality, yet it is not a high-dollar car. I have all of the bells and whistles of those more expensive luxury cars, yet I don't have the notes associated with these cars. My car looks and feels great on the road. It's sporty, sexy and others are always taking a double look and telling me what a great car I have. I am not into "names", so I don't need a named car to make me feel like I am important. I feel as if I scored big with my Kia Optima. It has personality and luxury and it suits me well. The only cons are that sometimes the back-up camera fogs up in rainy weather and the headrest is a little uncomfortable."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Monday, March 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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

Pros: "Excellent value"

Cons: "None that I can think of."

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

"I have had my car for 3 years. Not one problem in all that time. Great looks, comfortable ride, excellent mileage. What more can you ask for."

3 people out of 6 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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