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KBB Expert Rating 8.9 / 10
This Car - 2018 Kia Optima
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Consumer Rating 8.6 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Keith Buglewicz

The 2018 Kia Optima sedan family receives a handful of improvements this year, building on the momentum it has earned since its introduction in 2016 when it won our Best Buy award for midsize sedans. The Optima established itself early as a leader in the midsize-sedan segment, offering excellent performance, power, fuel economy, technology and value. Against rivals like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Chevy Malibu, the Optima holds its own, with the 2018 Optima now offering a standard 7-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and standard blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking-assist systems. The icing on the cake: the Optima's 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2018 Kia Optima offers a little something for everyone, packing value and technology at every trim level, from the base-model LX, to the sporty turbocharged SX, and the hybrid and plug-in hybrid. The competitively priced Optima also comes standard with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While you can get driver-assist technology on the Optima, it's reserved for higher-end models, unlike the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, which offer it across the board. Unlike the Subaru Impreza, the Optima isn't available with all-wheel drive either.

What's New for 2018

The 2018 Kia Optima gets a standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, and standard blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking assist. A new S trim level adds a level of sportiness at a lower price, offering a sporty front bumper, rear spoiler, 17-inch alloy wheels and more.

Driving It Driving Impressions

Kia’s 2018 Optima isn't billed as a sports sedan, but the SX model with the turbo engine doesn't seem to have gotten the memo. The 245-horsepower turbocharged engine, quick-shifting 6-speed automatic, and responsive steering all make the Optima SX turbo feel more agile and fun than many of its competitors. The SX gets singled out here thanks to its better power-steering setup and firmer suspension and 18-inch wheel-and-tire package. The LX and EX are geared more toward comfort, which is no bad thing really. The good news is that superior handling doesn't come at the expense of a harsh ride. While we love the turbo's plentiful power, we have to admit that the standard 2.4-liter engine is actually more than adequate for most drivers, and the 1.6-liter with its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is a nice intermediate step, although the transmission could use some refinement.

Favorite Features

With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay standard across the board on a 7-inch touch screen, the 2018 Optima feels that much more modern. And what's not to like: Both systems offer up the same interface you've grown to love on your phone, and with similar functionality, too.

Kia knows you're going to be listening to more than your own thoughts, and the harman/kardon QuantumLogic7 surround audio system in the 2018 Optima goes a step beyond its rivals with its Clari-Fi feature that helps restore even old MP3 files.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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