Ride, road noise, low rear seat, rear visibility, head room with sunroof.
The Optima is Kia's version of the Hyundai Sonata, but falls a little short of its corporate cousin in ride comfort, braking, and fuel economy. Handling is responsive and very secure, but the ride is borderline stiff and road noise is a bit pronounced. The standard 200-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine performs well. Top-level trims get a turbocharged four-cylinder that's economical and powerful but not as refined as competitors' V6 engines. A somewhat lackluster hybrid, which received changes for the 2013 model to increase fuel efficiency, is also available. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear-seat cushions are low and the coupe-like styling hurts access and rear visibility. Reliability has been average or above. A mild freshening is due this fall.