2010 Kia Optima Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2010 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 175 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 22/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2010 Kia Optima

  • The 2010 Kia Optima offers midsize functionality at a compact price point, but it's not fully competitive with the best cars in this segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Affordable, excellent warranty, ample standard features.

  • Cons

    Weak optional V6, uninspired cabin, flinty ride.

  • What's New for 2010

    The Kia Optima is largely unchanged, with the exception of standard keyless entry/ignition on SX models.

Full 2010 Kia Optima Review

What's New for 2010

The Kia Optima is largely unchanged, with the exception of standard keyless entry/ignition on SX models.


There are two types of car shoppers in the world: those who tend to follow the crowd and only consider the best-selling models in any given category and those who prefer to take a rational look at all their choices. If you fall into this second group, the 2010 Kia Optima might be worth considering. Though this midsize sedan lives in the shadows of heavy hitters like the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry, it still has appeal for value-oriented shoppers.

The Optima delivers the roomy interior that midsize buyers expect, and it's available for less money than some well-equipped economy cars. However, the old adage "you get what you pay for" does apply in this case. The Optima doesn't ride as smoothly as most rivals, and its optional V6 doesn't even make 200 horsepower in a segment full of 270-hp bruisers. Its interior is also a notch below the class standards for quality and visual appeal.

Other than that, the 2010 Kia Optima is generally pretty easy to like. Do your homework and you'll discover you can buy a top-of-the-line Optima for thousands of dollars less than most comparably equipped competitors. If that aspect appeals to you, the Optima could work out well. But in general we recommend checking out better sedans that still offer plenty of value, such as the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Suzuki Kizashi.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Kia Optima midsize sedan is offered in base LX, upscale EX and sporty SX trims.

The standard features list for the entry-level LX includes 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, air-conditioning, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, full power accessories, a tilt steering column and a CD/MP3 player audio system with satellite radio and a USB/auxiliary audio input. Models with the automatic transmission add keyless entry, cruise control and a multifunction tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Move up to the EX and you get 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver seat, automatic climate control, a trip computer and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass.

The SX loses the automatic climate control but adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, exclusive exterior trim, leather and cloth upholstery, unique instrumentation, aluminum interior trim and sport pedals.

Options on EX and SX models include Bluetooth, a power sunroof, Infinity audio with a six-disc CD changer, a power front passenger seat, heated front seats, a manual rear-window sunshade and power-adjustable pedals. The EX and SX also offer an optional navigation system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Kia Optima comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the base LX, while the other models get a five-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy estimates for the four-cylinder are a class-competitive 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

A 2.7-liter V6 is optional on EX and SX models; it produces 194 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission offered here. Fuel economy numbers for this setup are a lackluster 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined; for context, the Toyota Camry's 268-hp V6 is rated at 19/28/23.


The 2010 Kia Optima comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In government crash tests, the Optima received a perfect five-star rating for both front and side impacts. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Optima earned the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset test and a second-best "Acceptable" rating in the side-impact test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Optima's interior is a little on the plain side. Of course, for some folks that lack of dramatic design can be a plus. Whereas several of the Optima's competitors have dashes covered with a confusing array of buttons and switches, the Kia's uncomplicated layout might seem like a refreshing change.

When it comes to passenger accommodations, the Optima delivers on the promise of its midsize dimensions for both front and rear passengers; however, the relatively short seat cushions in back don't offer enough support for longer-legged adults. Out back, the Optima's trunk offers 15 cubic feet of cargo room, a number that's on par with competitors. All models come with 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2010 Kia Optima's optional V6 provides decent power in low-speed everyday driving, but it's thoroughly outclassed by every other midsize sedan's V6 under hard acceleration. Given the relatively small difference in power output between the Optima's two engines, we think most buyers will be just fine with the more efficient four-cylinder. As for the suspension, it delivers decent ride quality and handling in its stock form, though the ride is a bit brittle for this segment. The sporty SX model handles slightly better, but it's by no means a sport sedan, and its ride is also firmer.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

I love my optima

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Optima LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

I purchased my 2010 KIA Optima a year ago and I couldn’t be happier. It was one of KIA’s “rentals” with 12,000 miles on it and in pristine condition inside and out. I’m getting about 30 mpg around town. It handles beautifully and I feel safe and secure driving it. My mechanic was very impressed with it when I took it in for an oil change. Said I made a smart purchase. I’m an old woman now, 67, and this will probably be my last car but if I ever have to buy another car I would buy this one in a heartbeat.


by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Optima SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

We purchased the Optima about a week ago and I must say... I LOVE IT! There is enough 'hoots and whistles' to keep me happy and the gas mileage is amazing. My kids love the sound system, room and comfort, and I honestly couldn't be happier. It has a lot of of power for highway driving. Great car for the price. Highly recommended to those looking for a reliable, economical vehicle!

Great on gas

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Optima LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

I just bought this car used and was worried..This car is great, comfortable,gas saver,roomy. I was worried with a smaller engine from a v-8. Great little pick up. good choice no fancy frills but i need good gas and comfort. recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great so far!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Optima LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

I love this car so far. I have put about 1000 miles on it and am really enjoying it. I bought it barely used, and feel I got a great deal. The back is very roomy for two people and a third would be pretty comfy if they were not too big or if it wasn't a long trip. It has all of the things that are important to me and more. I did get the higher end wheels and automatic driver's seat, which are nice. It has lots of pep and I get 33 mpg on the highway. I think that's great for a non-hybrid. Everything is just laid out great! Get one now, because I think the price will go up on these. The 2011 looks even nicer.

New purchase

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Optima SX 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 5A)

I just purchased this vehicle at a end of the year clearance. Glad I did. Turned in a dreaded VW. I did drive the car 150 miles thus far. Not much however the ride is comfortable and overall very pleasant to drive. Controls on the dash are easy to read and reach. Fit and finish are solid. The car feels very confident on the road. Steering is confident as well. There is no blind spots that I noticed. Over all the value of what you get when purchased is excellent.

Love it!

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Kia Optima SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)

Just purchased it and although I've only had it a few days I love it so far and I really like the warranty they offer with KIA. Would buy another I really like it and the price was great! Rides good too!

Talk About The 2010 Optima

2010 Kia Optima Discussions See all Started By

I own a 2012 Kia Optima EX. I was introduced to the car while helping a relative purchase a car at the end of 2010. I ended up test driving one and was impressed with the quality materials, ride, spec...

but that's a car that will slot in between the Optima and Amanti. CH will slot above the VG. It will be even more luxurious than the VG and will probably outclass the Amanti. The soft plush ride will...

I have just obtained pricing and full details plus comparison sheets on the all new 2011 Optima for the Canadian market. If you have any specific questions I will try my best to answer. Here is the ...

Gas Mileage


  • 22
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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