2006 Kia Optima Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Kia Optima Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Kia Optima Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Kia Optima

  • The roomy, well-equipped 2006 Kia Optima is a decent choice if you need a family sedan for well under $20,000. But if you want V6 power, we suggest spending a little more for the better-performing Hyundai Sonata.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Low price, pleasant highway ride, excellent warranty, 2006.5 model's peppy inline-4, roomy cabin, athletic handling.

  • Cons

    Underpowered V6, some cheap interior bits on old model.

  • What's New for 2006

    An all-new Kia Optima, boasting a much improved four-cylinder engine and sporty handling, debuts midyear. The old Optima is still available but on an increasingly limited basis. To differentiate the two Optimas, Kia is calling the new one a 2006.5.

Full 2006 Kia Optima Review

What's New for 2006

An all-new Kia Optima, boasting a much improved four-cylinder engine and sporty handling, debuts midyear. The old Optima is still available but on an increasingly limited basis. To differentiate the two Optimas, Kia is calling the new one a 2006.5.


There are two 2006 Kia Optimas available the outgoing version and an all-new model being labeled a 2006.5. The outgoing 2006 model was the first offspring of the 1998 Kia-Hyundai merger, and as such shares its basic platform with the 1999-2005 Hyundai Sonata. Although this first Optima can't promise the legendary reliability and assured resale value of the long-standing class favorites in the midsize sedan class, it could be considered a more affordable alternative for buyers with tight budget constraints.

A better choice, though, is the 2006.5 Kia Optima. Improved in terms of features, rear seat room and refinement, the new Optima provides a considerably better driving experience. Additionally, Kia adds something that was lacking in the prior Optima fun. With a suspension tuned by a former Mazda chassis engineer, the new Optima, especially when equipped with the available 17-inch wheels and 50-series tires, makes for an enjoyable drive on a twisty road. Other key factors that make this neatly tailored, budget-priced sedan worth serious consideration include its roomy cabin, solid build quality, generous list of standard and available features (including those of the safety variety), long warranty (10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage and five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage) and handsome styling.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Optima line comprises two trim levels well-equipped LX and luxury-themed EX. Standard equipment highlights for the LX include a CD player; air-conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; a 60/40-split-folding rear seat; and cruise control. If you opt for the LX V6, alloy wheels are added to the mix. Step up to the EX and the following features are added: a power driver seat, automatic climate control, upgraded cloth upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, alloy wheels, foglights and an Infinity audio system with six-disc CD changer and cassette player (2006.5). On the options roster you'll find an upgraded sound system for LX models and a leather upholstery package (with a power front-passenger seat) for EX models. Available on all 2006.5 Optimas but the four-cylinder LX is a safety package that includes antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control and stability control. Also optional on 2006.5 models is an appearance package with a blacked-out grille, 17-inch wheels, foglights and aluminum interior accents. A power moonroof is optional only on the EX.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2006 Optima LX offers a 2.4-liter inline-4 with 138 horsepower. A 170-hp, 2.7-liter V6 is optional on the '06 LX and standard on the 2006 Optima EX. The 2006.5 models are more powerful: The standard 2.4-liter engine provides 161 hp, while the V6 is capable of 185 hp. That's still not a lot of power compared to most other V6 family sedans, whose engines pump out well over 200 hp, but the Optima's six-cylinder is at least smooth and quiet. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the four-cylinder engine, and an automatic (a four-speed for 2006, a five-speed for 2006.5) is optional. Only an automatic gearbox (four-speed for 2006, five-speed for 2006.5) can be paired with the V6.

If you're shopping the 2006 Kia Optima, we recommend the V6, but if you're considering the 2006.5 model, the peppy inline-4 is the one to get its performance may surprise you. Fuel economy for the 2006 versions is 23 mpg city/30 mpg highway with the four-cylinder and 20/27 with the V6, while for 2006.5 Optimas the stats are 24/34 (inline-4) and 22/30 (V6).


On 2006 Optimas, only V6 models are eligible for optional ABS. Side airbags for front occupants and three-point seatbelts for all five seating positions are standard across the board. The 2006 Kia Optima earned four stars for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts and a four-star rating for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. The IIHS gave the 2006 Optima a rating of "Acceptable" (the second highest of four) for its frontal-offset crash test. In IIHS side-impact testing, the Kia rated "Poor" (the lowest).

On the redesigned 2006.5 Optima, side curtain airbags are standard on all models, while stability control and ABS are available on all but the base four-cylinder LX. In NHTSA crash tests, the 2006.5 Optima earned a top five-star rating for its protection of occupants in frontal and side impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 2006 Optima's cabin is attractive, with comfortable seating and good build quality, though more rear-seat legroom is found in some competitors. Controls are simple to use and there are plenty of places to stow things like cell phones, change and parking cards. Improvements that came for 2006.5 include more upscale materials, more legroom for the backseat and more upscale features, such as blue/white instrument illumination and power-adjustable pedals. Trunk capacity, at 14.8 cubic feet, is roughly 1 cube greater in the 2006.5 version and as before features a low lift-over, large opening and hidden hinges to ease loading.

Driving Impressions

Either version of the Optima will provide comfortable transportation for the day-to-day grind, though the newer Optima adds a healthy dose of sporting personality and is more adept at absorbing the nastiest bumps and potholes. Light and precise steering and a somewhat floaty ride dynamic mark the 2006 Kia Optima, while the redesigned sedan provides more road feel and a more buttoned-down attitude when tackling a twisty road.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Optima LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

best car ive personally owned, but have had to put $1500 in the past 4months, not counting reg maintenance. NOT cheap parts like i had expected, will be searching for a honda next time.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Never getting a kia again

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Optima New EX 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 5A)

I will never own a KIA again. I had to get the AC replaced 2 months after getting it new off the lot took them 4 weeks. I have also had to replace the sun visors 3 times on each side. The visors are only replaced in the first 50K, and I am not going to pay $130.00 for the visor now. Even the dealer says they see them all the time with velcro, tape, and one person stapled them up. The computer says that I am getting 29MPG but I have NEVER gotten it that good. I keep up the maintenance and when I run the numbers while filling up I am getting 19 to 20MPG. I will not even get into how you can't set the castor and camber on the front end. If you are cutting tires you can't fix it.

Wheel alignment

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Optima New LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Ever since I took this car out of the dealership, new in 2006, it had problems pulling to the right. I took it back 3 times to the dealer and they could not fix it. At times they used the values of the 2004 model. I have taken it to other alignment shops, and the alignment problem never got good. It pulls to the right. Yesterday i was changing the oil filter and I noticed 3 shims 1/16" thick on one side of the frame. It looks like the frame is the problem, it was never straight.


by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Optima New LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

There is no reason that a car manufacturer can not use a proven design of a part that has never had any problems in the past, for any car make. I had my driver side replaced at the dealership, and although I used it normally, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. But when the passenger side went bad, with hardly any use, it sure made me wonder about their quality of product. Kia should stand behind it and provide a product that does not break!!!

Comfortable car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Optima New EX 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 5A)

I bought this car new loaded for wife in early 07 and we're the original owners with only 37K miles in 4 years. It is not as refined as the Camry or Accord but much more comfortable. We bought it for the 10 year warranty and rear legroom since we often carry 4 tall adults. I usually don't fit in cars with a sunroof because of my height but this one fits. V6, auto and 24MPG. Major complaint is recent check engine lite for the fuel vapor system with multiple dealer visits but all under warranty so far.

You've got to be kidding

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Optima LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

I bought this car, 2006.5 Optima two years ago based on the semi-glowing reviews of this and other sites. What a mistake. I'm wondering if there are any real drivers out there. This car is an engineering piece of junk, nice looking with accessorie wheels, but not much else. MPG is puzzling also. Only car I've ever had that got poorer mileage on the freeway than around town-dealer can't explain this phenomena. Oh, great ad campaign, Kia, all image and no substance. End note: if you drive like grandma or the snowbirds we entertain in Az, by all means, buy the Kia. If you're any other kind of driver, push it far, far, down your list. Disappointment is waiting.

Talk About The 2006 Optima

2006 Kia Optima Discussions See all Started By

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Read more about the 2006 Kia Optima

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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