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2012 Kia Optima

Overview
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2012 Kia Optima Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

The 2012 Kia Optima sedan proves no matter what your past reputation in the market, if you build a superior product filled with features consumers want and wrap it in skin so sexy it smokes every other family sedan on the market, people will buy your car. Once a hardly noticed 4-door sedan, the 2012 Kia Optima now has customers lining up to get behind the wheel. Beyond its sinister good looks and impressive price point, the 2012 Kia Optima family sedan delivers good figures in the area of resale, fuel economy and safety. Covering all the bases, Kia builds a wide range of Optimas including a base model, a luxury model, a high-performance turbo model and even a hybrid. With the 2012 Kia Optima sedan, Kia has left no stone unturned and no competitor a safe place to hide.

You'll Like This Car If...

Beyond its stunning good looks, the 2012 Kia Optima sedan offers features and equipment unavailable even on some premium luxury cars, all at a price that undercuts the competition by a wide margin. Backing up the 2012 Kia Optima is a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Although the 2012 Kia Optima sedan holds better 5-year residual values than any Optima before it, those numbers still are not as strong as the values held by the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and even the Optima's sister car, the Hyundai Sonata.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Kia Optima sedan receives a number of improvements and feature upgrades. Foglights and heated side mirrors are added to the standard-equipment list, while the LX trim receives automatic headlights. The Premium package, available on the EX, EX Turbo and SX, gains an 8-speaker Infinity audio system, Kia's UVO voice-activated infotainment system, and power-folding mirrors. HD Radio and power-folding mirrors are added to the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid's Premium and Technology package.

Driving the Optima

Driving Impressions After driving the 2012 Kia Optima sedan we came away rather impressed by both the car's driving dynamics and its 2.4-liter 4-cyinder engine. Confident cornering aided by a nicely weighted...

steering wheel gave us the permission to push the Optima hard, and the electronic traction and stability controls always intervened to save us when we pushed a bit too hard. The naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine develops an impressive 200 horsepower. This gasoline direct-injection engine is smooth, powerful and able to cruise 35 highway miles on a single gallon of gasoline (24 miles in city driving). Whether it was passing slow-moving traffic or climbing steep grades, the 2012 Kia Optima's 4-cylinder engine never failed to impress us. Of course, there is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine for those who crave more power. Equally as smooth and quiet as the 2.4-liter engine, the 2.0T pumps out 274 horsepower and is mated to a 6-speed Sportmatic manually shifting automatic transmission. Fuel-economy fans will likely flock to the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid sedan that earns an estimated 35 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

Exterior Styling
The 2012 Kia Optima sedan is one of the sportiest, most stylish midsize sedans out there. We'd even put it up against the styling of some $40,000 European luxury brands.

Turbocharged 2.0-liter engine
Who needs a V6 anyway? This 4-cylinder engine has 274 horsepower and an EPA highway estimate of 34 mpg.

2012 Kia Optima Details
Interior

With a clear nod to Saab dash design, the Kia engineers have created an instrument panel that is quite frankly a refreshing change from the ubiquitous hooded gauge cluster and center-stacked audio- and ventilation-control layout. On upper-end EX and SX trims, customers can opt for such extravagant features as a dual-panel moonroof, heated and cooling front seats, heated rear seats and a voice-activated navigation and infotainment system similar to Ford's SYNC. While we love the look of the 2012 Kia Optima sedan's interior, some of the plastic on the dash and steering wheel still lack the quality look and feel found in Honda, Mazda and even some GM and Ford products. The front seats are pretty comfortable for tall folks, but the Optima's sharply raked rear roofline may cause some headroom issues for the rear-seat passengers.

Exterior

Looking a bit like something from the sci-fi movie Tron, the 2012 Kia Optima is a bold and original piece of work from the ground up. From its cross-hatch front grille and long sweptback headlight housing, to the weather-vane-style wheels on the SX trim, the Optima looks like it's going fast even when it's parked. There is a duality about the 2012 Kia Optima sedan, speaking to both luxury and performance all while masking its true nature to serve duty as a humble family sedan. Even base trims offer such nice features as heated side mirrors, chrome door handle inserts and 16-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Every 2012 Kia Optima sedan 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 2012 Kia Optima sedan 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 includes 16-inch steel wheels and a 6-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, UVO infotainment voice-active system and rearview camera. In addition to a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, the top-of-the-line 2012 Kia Optima SX offers a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues. The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid features lightweight wheels in your choice of standard 16-inch or sporty 17-inch casting, as well as the EcoMinder LCD panel with graphics and lighting that change to show when the car is achieving maximum fuel economy.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Kia Optima sedan doesn't offer the option of a V6, and why should it. The standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is nearly as powerful as some V6 engines and gets far better fuel economy. The Optima's 2.4-liter engine boasts more power and better fuel economy than other 4-cylinder cars in the category, too. Those wanting more power can opt for a turbocharged 2.0 liter (EX Turbo and SX trims only). Both engines are offered with a 6-speed automatic, while the base trim (LX) offers a 6-speed manual. The Optima Hybrid uses the 2.4-liter engine mated to a 40-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 206 horsepower.

2.4-liter in-line 4
200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35

2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34

2.4-liter in-line 4 Hybrid
166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
40 horsepower @ 1,400-6,000 rpm (electric motor)
154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
152 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,400 rpm (electric motor)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 35/40

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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2012 Kia Optima Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 315 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Smoothest Driving Car

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 432

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Smooth ride, excellent price, great features"

Cons: "Needs bigger sun visor and window tint"

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

"I was recently forced to buy a new car. I researched similar cars and found the Optima to be the best quality for the price. I love everything about this car. I was a SUV driver and never thought I would be happy in a car. The ride is so smooth, the features are great. The only suggestion I would make is too make the sun visor a touch bigger and make window tint standard. Other than that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Kia Optima!!!!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

kia turbo

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "0 percent and the make first 3 payments, can't bea"

Cons: "did not have remote starter, i paid for one, no al"

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

"drives well. excellent gas mileage. beautiful and well built. wish the depreciation price was better. very satisfied with warranty. overall good deal."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Next to the Toyota Avalon, best car for the money

By on Monday, June 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price, Style, Dependability, Smooth Ride and Easy"

Cons: "Steering wheel blocks the bright light indicator"

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

"This is my second Optima and for good reason, the cars are awesome. The Kia Optima is the most car you can possibly buy for the price. They are very reasonably priced and perform very well. You can find much nicer cars, but for the money, the Optima is by far the best deal on the market! The warranty is outstanding and my interactions with my dealership have been great. Most Kia dealers follow up with their customers on a regular basis. I also love that this car was made right here in GA less than 50 miles from my home, so I feel good knowing that I am supporting local jobs."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

value drop

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

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
2/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "good gas mileage"

Cons: "lost value tremendously"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"like my car good gas mileage excellent handling can't complain about really anything I think I get pretty much almost 50 miles to the gallon but the bad side is I am very disappointed and its value it holds less than one year old and I have dropped $10,000 almost in value really a disappointment if I would have known that it doesn't hold its value like it should I would have never bought it I have lost money by purchasing it"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Lost 10,000 Value in a Year???

By on Monday, June 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "comfortable, fair gas mileage, looks nice,"

Cons: "too low to ground, overall not worth money,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Front end has been the biggest issue, especially in Colorado; it's only 7 1/2" off the ground. Secondly, KBB states trade-in value is only 14,500 in excellent condition?? I paid near 24 grand; so how did I lose 10 dollars value in less than a year? So far have had 2 factory recalls both of which were software updates in the steering wheel. Also, physical button on steering wheel which controls music changing stopped working, had to have it replaced. Decent but not excellent gas mileage, average around 17-22 in town, on long freeway trips have reached as high as 32.4mpg. Front seat is comfortable and I have a bad back so to say it's comfortable means something. Passengers have complained that it gets too hot in back seat, air conditioner doesn't reach back enough. Samsung phones do not play well with the UVO system. Stock stereo is terrible. Back speakers have slight crackling already. Auto release trunk never opens the same way twice. Sometimes it will open fully so you don't have to use your hands at all and other times barely at all."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Good looking car!

By on Thursday, May 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice car wish it came with a backup camera."

Cons: "none."

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

"Only bad thing, hard to see out of the back and side window hen backing up! Very good looking vehicle great gas mileage.Car is great in traffic and comfortable on long trips. LIKE ALL VEHICLES IT DEPRECIATES TOO FAST! TOYING WITH THE IDEA OF TRADING FOR A 15 BUT WILL AFRAID I WILL TAKE TO MUCH OF A BEATING ON IT IF I TRADE!!!"

1 person out of 2 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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