2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test


2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: Sibling Rivalry

February 23, 2012

Kia Optima at The Cosmopolitan.jpg

There appears to be a rivalry developing between Kia and its sister brand/parent Hyundai. Kia is going head-to-head with Hyundai across several vehicles in its model line, with the latest instance being the recent announcement of the Kia KH/K9 based on the Genesis platform.

However, the best example of this is the Kia Optima and its sibling the Hyundai Sonata.

Kia has recently been advertising the daylights out of the Optima, including a big promotion with Clippers basketball star Blake Griffin and a superbowl ad with supermodel Adriana Lima.

And most people think the Optima's styling is better and its coolness factor higher compared to Sonata.

With all that you would think that the Optima is committing spectacular sororicide on the Sonata.

To borrow a phrase from The Terminator, "Wrong."

Hyundai Sonata Venice Iron.jpg

I asked Edmunds' crack Pricing & Analysis team to conduct a CSI investigation.

It turns out that the Optima is not whomping the Sonata in sales. Quite the opposite, in fact.

022212 Optima vs  Sonata - A  Austria.jpg

Optima didn't spike in sales after its redesign in Dec 2010 like the Sonata did in Feb 2010. And for quite a long time, Sonata sales annihilated those of the Optima. Recently, though, Optima has closed the gap with a steady sales rise while Sonata has been on the decline.

My colleague Ivan Drury, Manager, Edmunds' Pricing & Analysis, hypothesized that perhaps the Days to Turn metric (DTT) would show that Optima is hotter in sales. DTT measures the amount of days the car sits on the lot from delivery to the dealership to the day it sells. It is a good indicator of how hot and desirable a vehicle is. (Industry average DTT is about 49 days.)

Wrong again.

Optima previously had a much longer DTT than Sonata, but has also closed this gap within the last year.

022212 Optima vs  Sonata DTT - A  Austria.jpg

Here's the data tables:

022212 Optima vs  SOnata Table - A  Austria.jpg

So there's no doubt that Sonata is still the big sister in this sibling rivalry.

But as my one buddy always tells me, the younger sister is frequently the one that's more attractive.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 19,100 miles

Special thanks to Ivan Drury and Jeremy Acevedo of Edmunds' Pricing & Industry Analysis team

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 Kia Optima in VA is:

$140 per month*
* Explanation
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