2020 Kia Optima Sedan

#8
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$23,190 - $31,990
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8.2

Overall Rating

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2020 Kia Optima Sedan Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: December 8, 2019

Swapnil Kulshrestha's image

Swapnil Kulshrestha Automotive Journalist


It’s been almost two decades since the first Kia Optima saw the face of the dawn, and it has been ruling the hearts of mid-level sedan enthusiasts ever since. Striking an ideal blend between affordability and accommodation, the Kia Optima hits all the right notes in luring the buyers even today. 

See detailed review »

Pros

Long list of standard equipment

High on driver assistance features

Chic interior

Easy to use infotainment panel

Cons

Laggy 1.6T engine

Fuel guzzling 2.0T engine

What's New?

Introduction of the S trim

Slight changes to standard features


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$23190

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

144 cu.in.

horsepower

185 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

178 lbs.-ft. @ 4000 rpm

transmission

6 speed automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

dimensions

wheelbase

110.4 in.

length

191.1 in.

width

73.2 in.

height

57.7 in.

curb weight

3230 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8.3 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

25/29/35 mpg

ev range

462.5 mi.

highway range

647.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

5 yr./ 60000 mi.


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

 2020 Kia Optima Sedan in Ebony Black color  2020 Kia Optima Sedan in Gravity Grey color  2020 Kia Optima Sedan in Horizon Blue color  2020 Kia Optima Sedan in Sangria color  2020 Kia Optima Sedan in Snow White Pearl color
Ebony Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.6

Interior

8.0

Safety

9.9

8.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Kia Optima Sedan LX

LX

power
185 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
31 combined

$23,190


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $23,190 MSRP (25/31/35) 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Optima Sedan S

S

power
185 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$24,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $24,690 MSRP (24/28/32) 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Optima Sedan EX

EX

power
178 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
33 combined

$26,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $26,990 MSRP (27/33/37) 178 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
7-speed auto-shift manual w/OD front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Optima Sedan EX Premium

EX Premium

power
178 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
33 combined

$29,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX Premium 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $29,990 MSRP (27/33/37) 178 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
7-speed auto-shift manual w/OD front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Optima Sedan SX

SX

power
245 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
26 combined

$31,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SX Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $31,990 MSRP (21/26/30) 245 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

8.2

Overall Rating


With a long list of standard features, paired with a competitively styled silhouette, and excellent safety ratings, the Kia Optima is a solid contender of the mid-level sedan segment, that locks its horns with some renowned heavyweights such as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. 

For the year 2020, Kia has introduced a new trim for the Optima, which slots in between the LX and the EX trim. There are three engine options on offer, with each of them specializing in some aspect or the other. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Front View
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Front View
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Rear View
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Rear View

7.6/10
Features

 
 
 

8.0/10
Interior

 
 

9.9/10
Safety

 
 
 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Features

7.6/10

The Kia Optima for the year 2020 receives a new trim in its lineup - “S”. The S trims slots between the LX and the EX trims and adds certain features to the LX trim, in the same powertrain.

Model

LX

EX

EX Premium

SX

MSRP

$23,190

$24,690

$26,990

$29,990

$31,990

Key Features

8.0-inch Touch-Screen Display w/ Rear Camer

Adds to LX features:

Adds to S Features:

Adds to EX Features:

Adds to EX Premium Features

 

16-inch Alloy Wheels

18-inch Alloy Wheels

17-inch Alloy Wheels

Panoramic Sunroof, Heated Steering Wheel

18-inch Gloss Black Alloy Wheels

 

Cloth Seat Trim

Sport Black Cloth & Leatherette Seat Bolsters

Leather Seat Trim

Heated & Ventilated Front Power Seats w/ Driver's Memory

Sports Leather Seat Trim, Available Two-Tone Red & Black Seats

 

6-speaker audio system

Available Panoramic Sunroof

Smart Cruise Control w/ Stop & Go

Harman/Kardon 10-Speaker Premium Audio

Navigation System w/ UVO link Telematics

We recommend:

We recommend you to go for the SX trim since it’s the most powerful and the smoothest trim in the lineup. The SX trim gets a 2.0L Turbo 4 cylinder engine, which is good for 245 hp and 260 lb.-ft. Of torque. Though this recommendation will drain out some extra bucks from your pocket, this is the best you can get in a Kia Optima. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Engine and Performance

Kia gives you three powertrain choices in the Optima to choose from. Standard is a 2.4 L non-turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which is good for 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, and 178 lb.-ft. Of torque which kicks in at 4000 rpm. Next up the ladder is a 1.6L 4 cylinder turbo engine which is standard on the EX and the EX Premium trims. This engine is much more swift and sleek than the base 2.4L non-turbo, generating 178 hp @ 5500 rpm, and 195 lb.-ft. Of torque, kicking in as early as 1500 rpm. The final and range-topping engine iteration for the Kia Optima is a 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged engine. This engine is available only on the SX trim and accounts for a massive 245 hp and 260 lb.-ft. Of torque. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Engine

All 3 engine variations in the Kia Optima lineup are paired with 3 different types of transmission configurations. The 2.4L non-turbo engine, on offer in the Kia Optima S, houses a 6-speed shiftable automatic, delivering the power to the front wheels. The Kia Optima EX and EX-L, which come fitted with the 1.6L turbo 4 cylinder employ a 7-speed automated transmission to fulfill its transmission duties. Finally, the 2.0L turbo 4 cylinder, which is standard on the Kia Optima SX is mated to a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. 

Models

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

MSRP

$23,190

$23,870

$24,295

$21,500

Engine

2.4L I4

1.5 L inline-four

2.5 L inline-four

2.5 L inline-four

Transmission

6-speed automatic

CVT

8-speed shiftable automatic

6-speed shiftable automatic

Horsepower

185 hp @ 6000 rpm

192 hp @ 5500 rpm

203 hp @ 6600 rpm

186 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque

178 lb.-ft.@ 4000 rpm

138 lb.-ft @ 4200 rpm

186 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

180 lb.-ft. @ 6000 rpm

The Kia Optima in its base engine configuration seems the least muscular contender of this lot. The Toyota Camry takes home the “most powerful” title with 203 ponies tucked underneath its hood. The Honda Accord, making a close chase ranks second with 192 horses, followed up by the Mazda 3 and finally the Kia Optima. 

How fast is the Kia Optima?

The Kia Optima with its base non-turbo engine requires around 8.3 seconds to reach the 60 MPH mark from a standstill. However, go for the upgraded engine choices and the tables undergo a complete flip. The Kia Optima SX, which houses the 2.0L 4 cylinder turbocharged engine can catapult the ride from 0-60 in just 6.8 seconds, which just happens to be the least 0-60 time in this segment. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan 3rd Quarter View

The Kia Optima may feel underpowered in its base avatar, but upgrade to the higher engines and the ride’s performance is the last thing that’s ever going to disappoint you. The upgraded 2.0L turbo engine can make the Optima cover a quarter-mile distance in just 15.2 seconds.

Model

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

0-60 MPH

8.3 

7.6

7.5

8.0

Quarter Mile

16.3

15.9

15.9

16.2

Engine

2.0 L

1.5 L

2.5 L

2.5 L

What about the braking performance of the Kia Optima?

The entire braking arrangement on the Kia Optima inspires confidence with its firm feel, and why shall it not? The Kia Optima hosts the largest brake rotors towards both of its ends in the entire segment.

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Brakes

The ride though is one of the heaviest sets of wheels in this segment, yet it can depreciate from a speed of 60 to an absolute standstill in just 124 feet, which happens to be a great figure for a car of this dimension.

Model

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

Brake front

(in.)

12

11.5

12.0

10.7

Brake Rear

(in.)

11.2

11.1

11.0

9.5

Curb Weight

(lbs.)

3219

2742

3241

2899

60-0 MPH (ft.)

124

122

122

122

The Kia Optima’s curb weight exceeds that of its competitors by several pounds, and yet the ride takes just 2 feet more to come to a halt from 60 mph. All the other contenders require a distance of 122 ft. to come to a standstill, whereas the Kia Optima takes just 124 ft. which happens to be an impressive figure.

What about its driving dynamics?

 With several engine options on offer, the driving performance of the Kia Optima is a diverse topic to discuss. 

Starting with the base 2.4L I4 engine, which is good for 185 hp and 177 lb.-ft. Of torque, the ride feels just right for around-the-town driving. The engine is quiet and smooth and the 6-speed automatic transmission delivers the power smoothly. However, there will be a point when you’ll be hitting the throttle as hard as you can, but your optima won’t be responding, because of it’s limited power. 

The 1.5L turbo engine, which is on offer in the Kia Optima EX and the Kia Optima EX-Premium cuts down on the hp part but takes the torque figures up a notch, giving the car a potent passing power. However, the 7-speed automated manual transmission on these models is an issue, as the setup feels too desperate to go into the next gear. 

Finally, the 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo engine which you can get on the Kia Optima SX, increases the power figures significantly to 245 hp and 260 b.-ft. Of torque. The engine setup works in great sync with the 6-speed automatic transmission and makes way for a powerful and smooth driving experience. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Fuel Economy

Fuel efficiency is definitely not one of the Kia Optima’s claim to fame points. The ride lags behind all the other rivals when it comes to gas mileage. The Optima can go across 25 city miles on a single gallon. Take the ride for some expressway spins, and it can cover 35 miles for each gallon, giving out a combined mpg figure of 29, which is the least in this segment. 

Model

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

MPG (city)

25

30

29

27

MPG (highway)

35

38

41

36

MPG (combined)

29

33

34

30

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

18.5

14.8 gal.

14.5 gal.

12.7 gal.

Range (city/highway) (miles)

463/647

397/520

410/501

342/457

Eyeing their offering’s weak tip, Kia makes an attempt to compensate for this shortcoming by offering a cavernous fuel tank in the Optima. The ride has the deepest fuel tank amongst all the other vehicles of this segment. The presence of a humongous fuel tank enhances the Optima’s city and highway range, despite being the least fuel-friendly ride of this segment. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Interior

8.0/10

The interiors of the Kia Optima can be perfectly described in a mere 3 words - functional, intuitive, and easy-going. The layout of the Kia Optima’s cabin is as sensible as it can get, and yet feels premium. All the controls are easy to use, perfectly placed, and does not deviate the driver’s concentration. The quality of the material used inside is great for a ride of this price range. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Front seats

The front seats offer more than ample space to the driver and the passenger for a laid-back leisurely ride. The front seats of the Kia Optima offer great support and versatility, with 10-way power adjustments and 4-way lumbar. 

Model

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

39.8/58.1/45.5

39.5/58.3/42.3

38.3/57.7/42.1

38.3/54.8/42.3

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

37.3/56.5/40.4

37.3/56.5/40.4

38/55.7/38

37.6/54.4/35.8

Well before we speak anything of the Kia Optima’s rear seats, may you please take off your hats? The rear seats of the Optima offer decent leg and shoulder room, but speak of the headroom and disappointment crawls in. The swooping roofline, which is a vital design element of the ride, grates the headroom for the same. Getting in and out of the car becomes a task for tall occupants and they may just experience some serious neck-pain after a long journey, cause you need to duck to fit in. duh!

Does it come loaded with tech inside?

Kia Optima’s every trim brings into play an 8.0-inch touchscreen as the focal attention-piece of the dashboard, that completes all the infotainment needs of the ride with the utmost ease. Though the interface does not feel the most up to date, yet it features crisp graphics and responds rapidly to your touch. The upgraded Harman Kardon speaker arrangement makes its presence felt as you turn up the volume knob. Oh-oh! Phone battery issues getting in your way of an amplified ride? Fret not, the Kia Optima handles it for you with an abundance of charging solutions.

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Infotainment System

Some other prominent features of the Kia Optima’s infotainment panel are: 

  • Android Auto 
  • Apple CarPlay
  • AM/FM Radio
  • Auxiliary Input
  • USB Connection Support
  • MP3 Playback
  • 6-speakers

What about utility?

The Kia Optima fits perfectly in the “family sedan” mold accrediting to its imposing performance and impressive interior space. Well, there’s more to the story than just interior space. The Kia Optima offers 15.9 cubic feet of storage space which is ample to carry your family’s luggage for an extended weekend getaway. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Cargo Space

Apart from the trunk the Optima also offers a lot of cubby storage spaces inside the cabin, to store your belongings into. The center armrest of the ride, for instance, is deeper than that of the other rivals, offering great storage space to stuff your small items. 

Model

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

Cargo Volume with rear seats up (ft.3)

15.9

16.7

14.1

12.4

The Kia Optima boot space of 15.9 cubic feet is one of the best in the segment, just marginally behind than the Accord’s colossal 16.7 cubic feet. Toyota Camry ranks third, followed by the Mazda 3. Apart from this space generosity, the Optima also offers automatic trunk release as a standard feature, just stand behind the bumper for a few moments and see the trunk unlatch itself on its own. 

Creature comforts on offer in the Kia Optima

Some other prominent comfort features onboard the Kia Optima are:

  • Audio And Cruise Controls On Steering Wheel
  • Overhead Console With Storage
  • Front Seatback Storage
  • Cruise Control
  • Turn Signal In Mirrors
  • Dual Illuminating Vanity Mirrors
  • Front And Rear Cupholders
  • Rear Parking Sensors
  • Electric Power Steering
  • Tilt And Telescopic Steering Wheel
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Keyless Ignition
  • Climate Control
  • Electrochromatic Inside Rearview Mirror
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Front seats
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Front seats
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Steering Wheel
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Steering Wheel
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Gear Stick
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Gear Stick
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Rear Seats
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Rear Seats
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Seats
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Seats

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Exterior

The Kia Optima carries a typical fastback-style profile, which sure looks handsome and appealing. The Stinger inspired front fascia imbibes a rebellious vibe to this mid-size, whereas the dipping roofline lends the Optima a coupe-like aggressive orgone. 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan 3rd Quarter View

The Kia Optima S and the Kia Optima SX also receive a blacked-out exterior trim and expanded wheels, which help the ride carry home the sporty character. The Kia optima’s looks represent a somewhat flashy family sedan, which always desired to become a sporty coupe, but somehow settled for a safer job.

Model

Kia Optima

Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Mazda 3

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3219

3131

3241

2899

Length (in.)

191.1

192.2

192.1

180.3

Width (in.)

73.2

73.3

72.4

70.7

Height (in.)

57.7

57.1

56.9

57.3

Ground Clearance (in.)

5.3

5.5

5.7

6.1

Wheelbase (in.)

110.4

111.4

111.2

106.3

The Kia Optima is one of the heaviest, tallest, and widest rides in this segment. The Optima strikes a perfect apex of dimensions to stay a comfortable family sedan, without compromising on the sportiness that the brand is known to offer in the styling of its products.

What are those eye-catching features?

The Kia Optima is a well-proportioned set of wheels that can make heads turn. Though, not like a Kia Stinger, but still it does look great on road. Some of the most noteworthy features of its exterior are: 

  • Chrome rear window moldings
  • Chrome rear bumper insert
  • Turn signal indicator mirrors
  • Chrome door handles
  • Body-colored front and rear bumpers
  • Chrome tip exhaust
  • Heated door mirrors 
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Bonnet
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Bonnet
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Head Lights
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Head Lights
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Side lights
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Side lights
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Rear Light
2020 Kia Optima Sedan Rear Light
2020 Kia Optima Sedan 3rd Quarter View
2020 Kia Optima Sedan 3rd Quarter View

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Safety

9.9/10

The 2019 Kia Optima earned a 5-star rating from the NHTSA. Though the test ratings are not yet available for the 2020 Kia Optima, however, the ride gets a long-list of standard safety features for this year. Regardless of the trim, every Optima now includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control along with a suite of airbags and stability control. Other safety features include:

  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Emergency Braking Preparation
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • Stability Control
  • Passenger Airbag Occupant Sensing Deactivation
  • Rear Height Adjustable Headrests
  • Remote Anti-Theft Alarm System
  • Dusk Sensing Headlamps
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Traction Control
  • Ventilated Front Disc / Solid Rear Disc Brakes
  • Pre-Collision Safety System
  • Engine Immobilizer

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Competition

Kia Optima vs. Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is a name that does not really need an introduction. This name has been in the sedan business for the longest of while now and is still going strong. Priced at $23,870, the Accord comes fitted with a 1.5L I4 engine, which can fabricate a punchy 192 hp along with 138 lb.-ft. Of torque. The ride can sprint from 0-60 in 7.6 seconds, which makes it one of the fastest cars of this comparison. The Accord’s performance aura does not overshadow its utilitarian aspect though. With a combined fuel economy of 33 and the biggest boot in this segment, the Honda Accord is an acclaimed veteran of this segment, which still makes other cars bow-down to its legacy. 

2020 Honda Accord Sedan

Kia Optima vs. Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry is another heavyweight of this sedan segment that has been giving all its competitors a run for their money for quite a while now. The Camry is the most pricey offering of this segment, with prices starting from $24,295. The Toyota Camry’s engine is a 2.5L I4, which generates the greatest in class power of 203 hp and 186 lb.-ft. Of torque. These power figures help make the Camry the fastest car with a 0-60 time of just 7.5 seconds. However, these power figures do not hamper the ride’s relationship with your pocket as the Toyota Camry is also the most fuel-efficient ride of the section with a combined MPG of 34. 

2020 Toyota Camry Sedan

 

2020 Kia Optima Sedan Final Verdict

Priced at a humble $23,190, the Kia Optima does everything right to hit upon the buyers at the sweetest spot- affordability and practicality. The Kia Optima is an offering of this segment that offers great interior and cargo space, along with a wide array of features, which make it an ideal family sedan. The power and performance though depend upon your selection of trim, but overall the Kia Optima is a great set of wheels and is an absolute worth of your bucks.