Bought a 2012 EX in October 2011; 10,500 miles on it now. I was looking for a car that had good visual design inside and out, better gas mileage and more power than my previous car [2006 Mazda 3S 2.3L]. Fell in love with the interior and exterior styling, love the driver-centric interior, I like how everything is angled towards me. Was very impressed with the quiet cabin, smooth ride, and nice seats.
The Optima, however, doesn't handle like my Mazda did, but I would say that's the only thing the Mazda comes out on top in.
The car feels very refined, engine is plenty fast and I've been enjoying 28-34mpg on mixed driving [I'm not a lead foot and it's flat in FL]. I also like the ECO button.
Interior and exterior design. Comfortable seats, quiet ride, gas mileage, build quality, and interior materials. A/C is VERY powerful, gets the car cool in seconds. I love this car more everyday.
No spare tire on LX or EX models, I went to a junk yard and bough a collapsible jack and a spare that's compatible with my car for $45. Really wanted the panoramic sunroof, but decided against it, b/c it cuts headroom. I'm 6'4" and with the sunroof my hair was brushing the ceiling. I have 2 inches of leftover headroom without the sunroof.