Spacious Sedan: The 2017 Kia Optima

With the 2017 Kia Optima, it is easy to mix and match options to design the perfect sedan. Between the outstanding value, big trunk, and roomy seating, this sedan ranks up there with the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord.

Prices range from $22,200 – $36,090 depending on the trim you choose. Even at these affordable prices, you can still enjoy a car packed with more features than the rivals. The car is fully customizable with several feature packages to choose from.

In addition, the 2017 Kia Optima has earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick and Award. To instill even more confidence in this car, it also has the NHTSA Overall five-star crash safety rating.

Performance Qualities

The LX and EX models feature a 2.4-liter, DOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The LX 1.6T features the 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine with Turbocharger that produces 178 horsepower with 195 pound-feet of torque. Finally, the SX and SX Limited come with the 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4 engine with a Turbocharger that produces 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

All of the models feature a six-speed automatic transmission except for the LX 1.6T, which offers a seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT) instead. With the turbocharged 1.6-liter, zero-to-60 mph takes 7.7 seconds according to Edmunds. The more powerful 2.0-liter turbo managed to pull it off in under seven seconds.

Safety Features

Many of the high ratings that the Kia Optima has received are due to the immense amount of safety features offered. All models include the dual-front advanced airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, and driver’s side knee airbag.

In addition, all models offer an anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control, hill start assist control, tire pressure monitoring system, and rear child safety door locks.

The brakes do tend to be slightly grabby and Edmunds found that a stop from 60 mph took 124 feet. This is a few feet longer than others in the class. For a faster stop of 112 feet, you should take a look at the Optima SX Turbo.

Entertainment and Special Features

The Kia Optima offers more packages and options than one can count! There is a car that is right for everyone if you take the time to customize your package.

LX Model

The base LX model features 16-inch alloy wheels, remote locking, automatic headlights, rearview camera, and cruise control. You’ll also receive a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats, 60/40-split rear seats, five-inch central display, Bluetooth and a six-speaker audio system with CD player, satellite radio, and a USB port. Not too shabby for a base model!

There are three packages available for the LX. The Driver Convenience package adds heated and power-folding mirrors, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat, laminated front window glass, and driver-seat memory settings.

The Convenience Plus package adds blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and a seven-inch touchscreen display featuring Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Kia’s UVO infotainment system. This has to be added onto the Driver Convenience package.

If you would rather go for just the Convenience package, you get everything above except the touchscreen. For the price difference, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to choose this package.

LX 1.6T model

The LX 1.6T comes with a hands-free trunk, keyless entry and ignition, laminated windows and mirrors, illuminated door handles, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. There are two packages you can add on. The Value package gives you LED daytime running lights, upgraded headlights, a power driver seat, heated front seats and steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, and a seven-inch touchscreen.

The Technology package features a rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors with LED taillights, two charge-only rear USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an eight-inch touchscreen with navigation.

EX model

The EX adds 17-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, an additional USB port, LED taillights, leather upholstery, and the Value package from above. The EX offers an additional two packages. The Premium package has all the upgrades of the Technology package with a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable passenger seat, auto-dimming rearview mirror, ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

The Premium Plus package gives you all that plus a forward collision warning with emergency braking, electronic parking brake, rear window sunshades, lane departure warning, and an upgraded 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

SX model

This is a lot like the EX, but with upgrades like 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, sport-tuned suspension, adaptive LED headlights, dual exhaust tips, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles. It also offers an auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-inch screen with navigation, and rear window sunshades.

There is a Sport Value package that is priced lower, but you will lose some features. These include the LED headlights, keyless entry, auto-dimming mirror, and hands-free trunk. You’ll also swap out the eight-inch display for a seven-inch.

If you prefer to upgrade, there is a Launch Edition package that adds the Premium package and a 10-speaker audio system. If that isn’t enough to choose from, there’s even a Technology package that includes everything from the Premium package plus automatic high-beam control and adaptive cruise control.

SX Limited model

Finally, the top of the lineup gives you everything from above plus a 360-degree parking camera, upgraded leather upholstery, and wireless smartphone charging.

Image via Kia Motors America

Interior Room

The Optima offers a nice amount of interior room for its class. The front seats feature plenty of space for larger passengers, plus there are many adjustments that will allow both short and tall occupants to sit comfortably.

The rear seats offer a vast amount of legroom, but headroom only allows for an average sized adult. The biggest downfall on the interior space is the lack of rear visibility.

The Competition

There is no doubt in our mind that the 2017 Kia Optima can perform as well as the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord. In fact, the amount of options and customizations available with the Optima make it a favorite among buyers in this class.

Much like its sister car, the Hyundai Sonata, you can expect that the Optima is a great value without the feeling of cheapness.

Fuel Efficiency

EPA estimated fuel economy averages 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway) in the LX model. The LX 1.6T changes that to an average 31 mpg combined (28 city/27 highway). The EX model takes a step down to 28 mph combined (24 city/24 highway) while the SX and SX Limited go down to 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway).

Final Thoughts

The Optima comes in variations to suit any taste which makes it a winner for all. If you have a tight budget, the LX Convenience Plus package would be the way to go without compromising features. For a little more luxury, you could opt for the EX base model and still stay within budget.

For some people, the Optima feels too much like a “family” car. If you’re one of those drivers, the SX with the Sport Value package should appeal to your senses. It includes many of the available features and a powerful turbocharged engine.

Pros

  • Customizable with many packages to choose from.
  • Offers more features than many of the competitors.
  • Interior controls are easy to use and placed in convenient positions.

Cons

  • Lack of rear headroom.
  • Visibility out of the back is difficult without a camera.
  • The 1.6T lacks responsiveness.
Image via Kia Motors America