2018 Kia Optima vs Mazda 6

When buyers are shopping the midsize sedan segment, they may not automatically think of brands like Kia and Mazda--but they should. The impressive Kia Optima and the equally interesting Mazda 6 deserve your consideration--so let's see how they do when they're competing head to head.

2018 Kia Optima vs Mazda 6

Styling: Kia Optima

 

Few models in the midsize sedan segment can claim to have more attractive exterior styling than the Kia Optima. A recent redesign updated the front fascia, giving the Kia Optima a sporty and aggressive look. The stance is low and muscular, giving a sporty feel to a vehicle that could be considered a family sedan--the best of both worlds for buyers.

The Mazda 6 is one of the few midsize rivals that can even come close to competing with the Optima's look. The 6 has a similarly sleek, almost fastback silhouette as the Kia, even mimicking the look of the front end. The Mazda 6 has a far larger grille and a much more elongated front end, giving it an almost abnormally long silhouette.

 

Power and Performance: Kia Optima

 

You can choose between three engine options in the Optima: a 2.4-liter inline-four with 185 horsepower, a 1.6-liter turbo-four developing 178 horsepower, and an excellent 2.0-liter turbo-four in the SX trim that ups the power ante to 245 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard with all three.

Until this year, you could only get a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit that develops 184 horsepower in the Mazda 6. Mazda now offers two options, introducing a new, more powerful engine for the 2018 model year. The new engine, a 2.5-liter turbo-four that puts as much as 250 horsepower at your disposal, only develops 227 horsepower on regular unleaded.

 

Safety: Kia Optima

 

Not only does the Optima get a perfect five-star rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, the Kia also aced all the individual tests that go towards those overall ratings. Not many vehicles manage that particular feat.

We probably shouldn't expect the 2018 Mazda 6 to get different crash test scores than last year's model, so top ratings from both agencies are likely to be awarded. However, as the Mazda only got four stars in the rollover test with the NHTSA, this is the narrowest of wins for the Kia Optima.

 

Interior: Mazda 6

 

Unless you are going to compare the cabin of the Optima to one of a luxury model costing considerably more, you'll probably have a hard time finding much to complain about inside. In addition to comfortable and well-contoured seating and quality materials and surfaces throughout, the Optima offers sound-deadening technology to deliver a decidedly upscale feel to the Kia's cabin.

The Mazda 6 takes a sportier theme for its interior than the Optima, but the comfort and quality is every bit as good as we see in the Kia. The Optima has more leg room in the front and more passenger volume overall, but there's a good deal more rear leg room in the back of the Mazda.

 

Learn More about the Kia Optima

The Mazda 6 has been a highly regarded midsize sedan for a while now. But although it's a stylish car that now boasts a notable engine upgrade, the Mazda 6 is not quite on the same level as the 2018 Kia Optima. Even in such impressive company as the Mazda 6, the Kia Optima is the clear winner here.

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33,065 miles, Regular Unleaded I-4 2.4 L/144, MPG City: 24 MPG Hwy: 33***, 4DR, Platinum Graphite Exterior, Black Interior, 6-Speed Automatic w/OD
Mileage33,065
TrimS
Stock #P98806
VIN5XXGT4L31KG298806
Exterior ColorPlatinum Graphite
Interior ColorBlack
DrivetrainFWD
ModelOptima
Carfax One Owner
Kia Certified
PureCars Value Report
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$17,900
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