2017 Kia Optima SX

Pros: Quiet cabin; well-designed infotainment features; good mix of fuel economy and power from new 1.6-liter turbo engine; stiffer body structure makes for improved ride and handling over previous Optima; competitive pricing

Cons: Numb steering feel, even in “Sport” setting; 1.6-liter engine exhibits some low-speed turbo lag; some lackluster interior materials in lower-end models; sloping roofline compromises rear-seat headroom

CG Says: Kia Optima gains a Plug-In Hybrid model for 2017. (An Optima Hybrid was introduced late last year.) SX and SXL models gain LED headlights. Autonomous emergency braking, forward-collision warning and other features are newly available on EX models. Kia’s popular midsize sedan was redesigned for 2016, on a platform that was slightly longer, taller, and wider than its predecessor. Three conventional and two hybrid powerplants are offered. The base engine is a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four cylinder. Also available are a 178-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 245-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four. The Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid pair a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor. The combined horsepower for the Hybrid is 192, while the Plug-In Hybrid develops 202. The Plug-In Hybrid can travel 29 miles on electric power alone. All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission—except the 1.6-liter turbo which is mated to a seven-speed automated-manual transmission. All Optimas are front-wheel drive. Available safety features include a 360-degree around view monitor, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and an autonomous emergency braking system. The Kia UVO infotainment system includes enhanced smartphone connectivity and new eServices features aimed at teen drivers: GeoFencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert, and Driving Score. The Kia Optima has handsome styling, while offering several performance, technology, and safety features that make it competitive with midsize-sedan class leaders.

The Facts
Class Midsize Car
Body Style(s) 4-door sedan
Passenger Count 5
Drive Wheels front-wheel drive
Manufacturer Kia
Nation of Manufacture USA
Base Prices LX: $22,200
LX Turbo: $24,140
EX: $25,440
SX Turbo: $29,940
SXL Turbo: $36,090
Hybrid Premium: $25,995
Hybrid EX: $30,990
Plug-In Hybrid EX: $35,210

Base Engine
2.4-liter 4-cylinder (LX, EX)
Horsepower
185
Std. Transmission
6-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
24-25
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
34-36

Optional Engine
turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (LX Turbo)
Horsepower
178
Std. Transmission
7-speed automated manual
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
28
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
37

Optional Engine
turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder (SX, SXL)
Horsepower
245
Std. Transmission
6-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
22
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
31

Optional Engine
2.0-liter 4-cylinder/electric (Hybrid, Plug-In Hybrid)
Horsepower
192 (202 Plug-In Hybrid)
Std. Transmission
6-speed automatic
Avail. Transmission
NA
EPA City Range (mpg)
39 (103 MPGe Plug-In Hybrid)
EPA Hwy Range (mpg)
46 (40 combined city/highway Plug-In Hybrid)