2019 Kia Optima

2019 Kia Optima

Not sure whether to get a used 2018 Kia Optima or the new 2019 Optima? This preview guide should give you a handle on what the differences between model years are and which will work best for you. Either way, you're getting a great mid-size four-door sedan. But, still, there's a decision to make and differences to take into account.

Safety Features

First off, the 2019 Kia Optima is safer, with more active safety features in the offing. This year, the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) comes standard. That's a package that includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and Forward Collision Warning System to help reduce the seriousness of an imminent collision, or avoid it entirely. Combined with the Driver Attention Warning, also standard, this tech keeps your focus on the road.


Like so many other 2019 Kias, the Optima is getting a transmission overhaul. Say goodbye to the outdated six-speed automatic transmission, which is being replaced with a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) or an eight-speed automatic. If you've heard of the CVTs of a few years ago, they didn't exactly come off smelling like roses then. As it's likely to do, the technology has improved since then. Now CVT, at least in the 2019 Kias, is synonymous with a quiet ride and smooth driving. If there's any shifting of gears, we didn't hear it or feel it, just continuous acceleration. The engine remains the same-a 2.4-liter I-4 engine-but due to better transmission we're looking at slightly better fuel economy, boosting that number up to 37 combined miles per gallon.

2019 Kia Optima on the Road


If you want you and your passengers to be safe without spending extra for it, as if life-saving technology were a luxury, you might want to read this. The 2019 Kia Optima offers active safety features in each and every trim level. Foremost is the standard Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). ADAS is a veritable cornucopia of safety, including Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist to prevent frontal collision, Forward Collision Warning that alerts you to danger, Driver Attention Warning to sound the alarm when your attention drifts from driving, and Lane Keep Assist to correct drifting out of one's lane, Lane Departure Warning that alerts you when you've left your lane, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning to back out of crowded parking lots. That's a lot of safety tech, more than most competitors might give you on anything but their highest trims.


We saved this one for last since the exterior has only been tweaked here and there on the 2019 Optima. Squint and you won't tell the difference between a 2018 and 2019 Kia Optima. Like other Kia sedans, the Optima sports a tiger-nose grille. This year, the front air intake is larger and taller with adjoining fog lights, the grille sports a diamond pattern though it retains its shape, the tail lights have been split into upper and lower with the lower lights being one narrow strip. You're not going to be blown away by the difference between the 2018 and 2019 Optima, but the slight changes are unequivocally improvements.