Used Kia Optima

Used Kia Optima

If we were writing the biography of Kia cars, it would be a tale of a middling auto childhood that matures into a heck of a vehicle lineup. As a general rule, perhaps more so than other manufacturer offerings, the more recent the Kia the better the value. That's especially true of the mid-size sedan Kia Optima. Debuting in 2001, the Kia Optima had two average generations before this model really blasted off. Since the third generation that began in 2010, and continuing into the fourth generation that began in 2015, the Optima has climbed the charts of most wanted sedans. You may find it challenging to figure out which model years to buy and which to avoid, so we will help you weed through your options to find the previously-owned gems.

Is the Kia Optima for Me?

The Kia Optima holds that middle ground between commuter and family car. This five-seater is a larger than the compacts that shuttle employees to the office and back, but not so large as to appeal to those who live for slow, stately driving. In short, the Optima is just right for many drivers. We can easily see a small family getting plenty of use out of the Optima, which has become known for safety and reliability. If you're interested in curb appeal, the Optima has improved its looks over the years and now whispers refinement and luxury even as this Kia maintains its low starting price.

Used Kia Optima Gen 1

Which Generation?

The Kia Optima began as a re-badged Hyundai Sonata. Unfortunately, the 2001 Optima was plagued with a bad safety rating, scoring poor marks in its crash test ratings. Still, this early Optima was a quiet commuter with a comfortable, spacious cabin though its engine lacked refinement and power. You might be able to find a first-generation with the 170-horsepower V6 engine, which is the better option than the base engine, but still not enough to wow.

Used Kia Optima Gen 2

Not a lot changed in the second generation. The switch happened in the middle of the 2006 year model, so be careful when buying a 2006 and be sure to ask if the Optima you're considering is a 2006 or 2006.5 Optima. The 2008 model year made anti-lock brakes and stability control standard across the trims. The 2009 Optima was the first to introduce the top-tier SX trim.

Used Kia Optima Gen 3

The third generation, starting in 2011, is where things really start improving. Kia ratcheted the styling up to an 11. Engines became more powerful. And luxury features appeared. The Optima no longer looked like a variation of the Sonata; this Kia really had come into its own. If you're interested in tech options, try to get the third generation or later. The UVO infotainment system rolled out in 2012, as well as a new display screen.

Used Kia Optima Gen 4

The fourth generation hit dealerships in 2016, and a lot of improvement under the surface makes this Optima the best so far. High-strength steel, a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, and the optional 2.0-liter turbo lent stability and new power to the Optima. The Optima Hybrid also came into view. In general, the fourth generation has refined and improved the already enviable third generation Optima. Onward and upward for this impressive sedan.