2018 Kia Optima Review, Specs and Release Date

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The 2018 Kia Optima returns with sportier trim and wide-ranging flexibility for the compelling price

The 2018 Kia Optima represents what we love to finest mid-size sedans: good features, handsome styling, admirable safety, and compelling value. Yeah, we do not know what’s not to like either.

This current year, Kia added a sportier trim level to your Optima and created standard some common-sense safety measures that boost its already impressive official scores.

The 2018 Kia Optima earns a 7.4 on our overall scale, which reflects our high opinion of that safety performance (it’s one of the few cars to ace our scale), and its overall style. Its performance and luxury are a common places for improvement, but most importantly the Optima is still above average within respects.

Take a walk around a Kia lot and you are clearly likely to get the usual suspects with the Optima—a budget-friendly Optima LX that starts at $23,395, including destination, up to the fully loaded Optima SX for $31,395.

Wedged in the centre for this year is a different Optima S trim that contributes a sportier look: a different front bumper, rear decklid spoiler, 17-inch wheels, as well as a dual-pane sunroof for $24,395.

Across all purchases this year, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking assistance have become standard, which shore up some of our concerns that active safety measures were being kept from basically the more expensive models.

A rather large number of powertrain options await Optima shoppers, not including Optima Hybrid models that individuals cover separately.

Around the range, the 2018 Kia Optima is powered by the bevy of inline-4 options, including some turbocharged options. The camp 2.4-liter inline-4 can be obtained on Optima LX and the newest S trim level, a 1.4-liter turbo-4 is optional for the LX trim, as well as a 2.0-liter turbo-4 can be obtained on pricier SX trims. All purchases are front-wheel drive and manage combined fuel economy at 25 mpg or higher.

All purchases reap the benefits of a great ride and handling setup, which are the Optima comfortable, or else particularly sporty.2018 Kia Optima Wallpaper

2018 Kia Optima


Every trim of the 2018 Kia Optima is handsome, meaning even base models are great value in relation to looks.

The 2018 Kia Optima hasn’t changed since it was new for 2016, along with the roots for that car go back further to 2011 when it fundamentally shifted the way we look at mid-size sedans.

On our style-o-meter we provide the 2018 Kia Optima a point above average for its exterior profile and attractive interior. It earns a 7 outside of 10.

From the outside, the Kia Optima embodies the most recent in mid-size moves during the last decade. Its shapelier and curvier body starts at its coupe-like roofline that descends gradually enough to gift rear-seat riders with plenty of head room. The proportions are elongated only enough to supply the front-drive Optima a sportier, rear-drive profile that the newest Kia Stinger (which is actually rear-drive) earns and improves upon.

Every competitor has adopted similar dimensions, meaning the Optima is not as revolutionary since it once was.

Inside, the Optima pushes its dash further forward and into the corners, which improves outward visibility.

The cockpit is not as driver-focused as last iterations, but the fit and handle makes up for all shortcomings. The Optima’s luxury-influenced details are a marked improvement over last-generation sedans, befitting Kia’s rise as a more premium brand. We love to the inner look, particularly in top trim levels, like the Optima SX.

One nitpick: We’d probably delete the “Turbo” badges situated on the front fender portholes near the back doors on SX trims. We’d like that word to return to its 1985-pinnacle of popularity, fo the time being it seems a bit gratuitous.

2018 Kia Optima


Quiet and composed, the 2018 Kia Optima has good table manners, but it’s not actually too spicy.

The 2018 Kia Optima’s chief appeal would be its ride quality and competent handling—as it should be for one mid-size sedan.

Balance, neutral ride and crisp turn-in make it earn some point above average, and all of those other tale of this tape for the Optima keeping it mid-pack using its competitors. It earns a 6 outside 10 for the trio of inline-4s, most of which are turbocharged, and middle-of-the-road transmissions.

Let’s talk numbers. Base Optima LX, Optima EX, and Optima S sedans and will also be fitted by using a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline-4 using direct injection to optimize fuel economy. That’s suited to a 6-speed automatic that would like convincing to get peak 2.4-liter inline-4 into its sweet-spot for passing power. Its peak torque output happens at 4,000 rpm, which is lower compared to top turbocharged offerings, so kicking down several gears to feed is the game on steep mountain inclines. We’ve included in our drives that this base 2.4-liter inline-4 is smooth and should be adequate for many buyers’needs, provided that need isn’t outright speed.2018 Kia Optima Engine

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An optional 1.6-liter turbo-4 is situated in LX models that produces 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque it is mated to your 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Its trick is efficiency, although it’s almost not a pokey engine. It feels more responsive compared to 2.4-liter inline-4, but we’ve found that it’s somewhat hamstrung by way of indecisive 7-speed dual-clutch that clobbers through gears compared with similar units produced by Volkswagen or Ford. The 1.6-liter turbo-4 is the place the Optima manages combined fuel economy over 30 mpg, although every model is fuel efficient for the class.

The 2.0-liter turbo-4 included in SX models could be the most fun to drive. Mated to your 6-speed automatic, the 2.0-liter turbo-4 makes 245 hp and 260 lb-ft and occurs strong lower inside the rev range (just 1,350 rpm). The top-end engine reads your right foot well; downshifts come quickly and paddle-shifters give drivers granular control over what gear to use when to use it. More sound-deadening in SX models quells the 2.0-liter’s harsher vibrations, which we appreciate.

Optima ride and handling

The 2018 Kia Optima is a smooth mover with revised suspension bits from previous generations. The Optima retains a familiar MacPherson front strut and multi-link rear setup, although revised front bushings and cushier springs damps fussy pavement.

The tradeoff is more body lean, which isn’t uncouth for the class. The Optima irons out of the road in return for a tippier cornering character—we feel flat and fast often is the upcoming Stinger’s purview anyway.

All models accompany selectable drive modes that toggle the throttle response and transmission behavior among Eco, Normal, and Sport modes. We’ve found the Normal mode to as the goldilocks zone for many circumstances; Sport are usually too hot, Eco are usually too cold.

This coming year, all trims of this Optima adopt a steering system that we all prefer over a mature setup, on account of its sharper feel should the roads get curvy.

2018 Kia Optima

Comfort & Quality

The 2018 Kia Optima should be on the short list for some buyers searching for a comfortable mid-sizer.

The 2018 Kia Optima is evidence of the automaker’s move upmarket. Its confines are roomy and well-appointed, and it is fit and finished is punching above how heavy it is class—during base trims.

We perform a 7 outside 10 for comfort and quality, with points above average for the quiet ride and front-seat comfort. It narrowly misses another for luxury-like appointments—increased exposure of “narrowly” there.

Top-trim SX models get swathes of sound-deadening material, but all trims of this Kia Optima are quiet inside. Top windows, dash, windshield, and the entire body panels have gotten special attention by sound designers to quell any thrums from your inline-4 engines, based on good effect—the doors close by using a reassuring “thunk” restricted to luxury vehicles.

Up front, the seats are lower and deeply bolstered with good side support and room for long legs. Most models has power-adjustable front seats, which adapt to your wide-ranging lot of body types.

Some models will feature diamond-patterned seating that’s normally restricted to a bigger tax bracket, and we all appreciate Kia’s efforts there.

If we are going to knock the Optima, we’ll do it in rear-seat head room. The aggressively sloping roofline makes a styling promise that rear passengers will have to make good on; there’s adequate head room for 6-footers, and not much more. Wide rear doors make entry and exit easier for many of us, however.

The trunk swallows 15.9 cubes of cargo, which happens to be on-par for the class, and a corner seats fold down in a 60/40-split when more flexibility is necessary.

Ergonomically, the 2018 Kia Optima cleans up well and features easy-to-understand dials and buttons for many tasks, including a fairly easy infotainment interface that we feel would be easy for our parents. Base LX models don’t feel particularly cheap either, which we can tell about a few of the other mid-size competitors.2018 Kia Optima Interior

2018 Kia Optima


The Optima resolves our gripe from not too long ago with wider available precautionary features, and its crash-test scores are flawless.

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The 2018 Kia Optima is among the few cars on the path that aces our safety scale as a result of the best report card from federal and independent testers including a accessible variety of advanced safety features.

Although it’s too early for 2018 data, dependant on its similarities to last year’s model we can draw very specific conclusions with regards to the Optima.

The IIHS gave the Kia Optima a “Top Safety Pick+” award thanks to the top “Good” scores on all crash tests and because of its headlight performance—one of the few cars to ace it’s tests. Together with top marks from independent testers, federal regulators gave the Optima across-the-board five-star ratings for crash safety, together with a five-star overall rating.

A rearview camera is standard on all purchases, as well as for 2018, so may be blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic assist, and rear parking assistance.

Standard equipment on all Optimas includes seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, a driver’s knee bag, front active headrests, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist, and keep the vehicle from rolling back when starting over a steep uphill grade.

Automatic emergency braking is currently available on more models, that has been our only gripe from last year. Other automakers are which makes it standard on all purchases, something you want Kia would consider, but wider availability is a good first step.

All versions of the 2018 Kia Optima have a typical complement of airbags, including seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags, including a driver’s knee bag. The Optima also includes stability and traction control systems.

2018 Kia Optima


No Kia Optima feels cheap, and top trims make the perfect value because of its class.

The 2018 Kia Optima is as frugal or as opulent as your capacity to pay enables, but no model is bare.

Kia offers the Optima in LX, S, EX, and SX trims, starting at $23,395. Base models feature keyless ignition, Bluetooth connectivity, power-adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, 16-inch wheels, including a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

That’s good base equipment, especially the touchscreen that assists it earn two points above average on our feature scale. We perform a 7 outside of 10.

The Kia Optima can climb the ladder of creature comforts quickly, but no models are particularly high-priced.2018 Kia Optima Trunk

The new S trim, which Kia says can be a sportier take around the Optima sedan, still retains the camp 2.4-liter inline-4, but adds 17-inch wheels (18-inchers are available), unique front bumper and rear spoiler, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and optional dual-panel sunroof.

EX models are equipped similarly but add standard leather seats, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, available active precautionary features (which we cover separately) including a woodgrain trim that’s a bit more upmarket than the camp dash.

SX models go the main nine with 18-inch wheels, an upgraded 8.0-inch touchscreen, a more impressive driver information cluster, dual chrome exhaust tips, glossy black trim, air-con front seats, keyless ignition, and adaptive headlights.

More choices are restricted to higher trim levels, which you want Kia would reconsider. Although we’d observe that the best trim for the Kia Optima still hovers around $30,000, that’s reasonable for the class and relatively good value.

2018 Kia Optima

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Kia Optima just isn’t as fuel efficient as a few of its competitors, but 25-mpg combined or better isn’t bad.

Kia was one of the first automakers to look at a lineup coming from all 4-cylinder engines with regards to mid-size sedan, other people following suit.

The most popular engine could be the 2.4-liter inline-4 within base models and the new S trim, which earns an EPA rating of 24 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined. That earns a 7 outside of 10 on our fuel efficiency scale.2018 Kia Optima Open Doors

Some competitors will manage better fuel economy compared to the Kia Optima, although Kia remains within arm’s length of these models.

More cost-effective 1.6-liter models will get the very best ratings of the lineup (without opting for the hybrid versions, which we cover separately) at 28/39/32 mpg.

Top-trim editions of the Kia Optima receive a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that manages 22/31/25 mpg, good EPA. We presume you could possibly consider getting better returns inside the real-world with a lightweight foot.

Most importantly all versions of the Optima are rated for regular unleaded, which may save pennies within the pump.

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