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Used 2014 Kia Optima Review

2014 Kia Optima

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Kia Optima

  • B Edmunds Rating
  • Thanks to evocative styling and an impressive set of features, the 2014 Kia Optima is one of our top picks for a midsize sedan.

  • Pros

    Lots of standard and optional features for the money; handsome-looking cabin with easy-to-use controls and comfortable front seats; top crash scores; lengthy warranty.

  • Cons

    Tight on rear-seat headroom; lower fuel economy than class mpg leaders; odd brake response in hybrid model.

  • What's New for 2014

    The Kia Optima cruises into 2014 with a variety of small changes. On the outside, you'll find updated front and rear styling. Inside, Kia has improved the front seats for greater comfort and restyled the steering wheel. There are also some new features, including a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and new display screens.

Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2014 Kia Optima

What's New for 2014

The Kia Optima cruises into 2014 with a variety of small changes. On the outside, you'll find updated front and rear styling. Inside, Kia has improved the front seats for greater comfort and restyled the steering wheel. There are also some new features, including a blind-spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and new display screens.


Family sedans have traditionally had a certain bland aesthetic as automakers have calculated that safe and inoffensive styling will appeal to the widest possible market. But a few years ago, Kia showed how it's possible to buck that conservative tradition with its stylish Optima. With sheet metal that's bold enough to be genuinely striking, the 2014 Kia Optima makes an assertive statement, and is an ideal choice for the buyer seeking family transportation that stands apart from the pack.

Of course, there's more to the Optima than its attractive fascia. There are two different powertrains available, including two gasoline-powered engines and one gas-electric hybrid, all of which are powerful and efficient. The Optima's modern cabin is pretty comfortable and can be fitted with rather impressive features such as ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a voice-command system. Kia has upped the Optima's safety features this year as well, and that goes along nicely with the car's impressive safety scores. When you add in the Optima's very generous warranty, it becomes clear that this Kia represents a compelling value proposition.

Still, the Optima might not be the best choice for some buyers. Hybrid buyers will be hard-pressed to ignore the phenomenal mileage estimates from competitors like the 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid and 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid that best the Optima Hybrid's numbers by up to 10 mpg. If you're looking for a standard gas-powered family sedan and you also want the roomiest cabin, the Kia Optima falls short of choices such as the Volkswagen Passat. Nor does the Optima have the lock on style and substance these days. The Hyundai Sonata (the Optima's mechanical twin), 2014 Mazda 6 and 2014 Nissan Altima are all very impressive from just about every facet. Nonetheless, the Optima's many strengths make it a solid pick, particularly if you're looking for family transportation that blends value with va-va-voom.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Kia Optima is a midsize sedan that comes in two different variants: gasoline-powered Optima and Optima Hybrid. The standard gasoline-powered Optima comes in LX, EX, SX (normally aspirated and turbocharged variants) and Limited trim levels. The Kia Optima Hybrid comes in LX and EX trims only.

The gasoline-powered LX comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. The LX's optional Convenience Plus package adds an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), laminated (i.e., quieter) front door windows, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera and Kia's Uvo voice command telematics system.

The Optima Hybrid LX is equipped similarly to the regular LX, but comes standard with automatic dual-zone climate control. The Convenience package items are also optional for the hybrid LX.

With the gas-powered EX, the eight-way driver seat, laminated windows and auto-dimming rearview mirror come standard. You also get 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air-conditioning vents and leather upholstery. Opting for the EX's Premium package further equips the EX with a panoramic sunroof, power-folding rearview mirrors, a rearview camera, Uvo, a four-way power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, driver memory settings and an eight-speaker Infinity sound system with HD radio. To this you can add the Technology package, which adds rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, an 8-inch touchscreen display and a navigation system.

The Optima Hybrid EX has all the Premium package items as standard along with auto-leveling xenon headlights. Also standard is the navigation system, but it deletes the Uvo interface. Since navigation and a touchscreen are already standard on the Hybrid EX, the Technology package adds the panoramic sunroof, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors. A White Interior package adds upgraded leather upholstery along with upgraded interior trim. The panoramic sunroof is also available as a stand-alone option.

The Optima's SX trim level is equipped similarly to the EX, but also has 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED taillights, upgraded gauges with an integrated display screen and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SX with the turbocharged engine also comes with xenon headlights and a sport steering wheel. For the non-turbo SX, a Premium Technology package bundles the contents of the EX's Premium and Technology packages. For the turbocharged SX, the Premium and Technology packages are again separate.

Finally, at the top of the lineup there's the Limited, which gets all of the standard and optional equipment from the SX plus unique 18-inch wheels, unique interior and exterior trim, LED foglights, an electronic parking brake and premium leather upholstery.

Powertrains and Performance

Every 2014 Kia Optima is front-wheel drive. The gas-powered LX, EX and SX come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 192 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque is optional on the SX and standard on the Limited. All models come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy with the 2.4 liter is an EPA-estimated 27 mpg combined (23 mpg city/34 mpg highway). EPA-estimated fuel economy with the turbocharged engine is 24 mpg combined (20 mpg city/31 mpg highway).

In Edmunds performance testing, a loaded Optima EX went from zero to 60 mph in 8.9 seconds, which is an average time for the class. An SX with the turbocharged engine went from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which is a below-average time for a family sedan with an upgraded four-cylinder or V6 engine.

Powering the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. Combined power output is 199 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. The Optima Hybrid EX gets an EPA-estimated 37 mpg combined (35 mpg city/39 mpg highway), while the LX model rates 38 mpg combined (36 mpg city/40 mpg highway). During Edmunds testing, a Kia Optima Hybrid went from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds, which is a little below average for the segment.


Standard safety features on the 2014 Kia Optima include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional, as are rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitoring system. The optional Uvo telematics system includes roadside assistance and collision notification.

In Edmunds brake testing, an Optima EX came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, a distance that's a couple of feet shorter than the segment average. The turbocharged SX made this stop in 129 feet, a few feet longer than average but still acceptable for this class.

In government crash tests, the Optima earned a top five-star rating for overall safety performance, with five stars awarded for overall frontal- and side-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Optima a top score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The Optima earned an "Acceptable" rating (second highest) in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test and a "Good" rating for its head restraints/seat whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

First impressions of the 2014 Kia Optima's interior are usually favorable. There's a distinct European and modern look to the design, and overall interior quality is helped by an abundance of soft-touch materials. These impressions are further bolstered in the Limited trim level by the high level of standard equipment and premium leather upholstery.

Kia's Uvo (pronounced "yoo-voh") electronics interface system is similar to Ford's Sync system (both are powered by Microsoft). Uvo provides voice control of cell phones and MP3 players as well as other services, such as POIs and turn-by-turn navigation. In our testing of Uvo, we've found that it works quite well. The touchscreen interface in navigation-equipped Optimas is easy to use for navigation purposes and operating the stereo.

The Optima has a fairly spacious cabin, with comfortable seats and a useful amount of legroom front and rear. Headroom (particularly in back) is a bit tight due to the car's rakish, coupelike roof line. Taller consumers should definitely think twice about getting the optional panoramic sunroof, as it further decreases headroom. The Optima's 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space is about average for its class, but the Optima Hybrid's trunk offers considerably less space -- 10.8 cubic feet -- due to intrusion from the hybrid battery pack.

Driving Impressions

The 2014 Kia Optima rides comfortably without isolating you from the environment, although the car's numb steering (with its artificially high effort) is less praise-worthy. The overall driving experience is certainly pleasant and better than average for the segment. SX and Limited models come with a sport suspension that contributes to slightly sportier handling, though some may find ride quality in these models a little too firm.

The high horsepower ratings on both engines are tempered somewhat by the fact that acceleration times are relatively average. We've also found that the turbocharged engine is particularly sensitive to hot weather, and acceleration is noticeably slower in such conditions. But in general driving, the Optima feels suitably powered, and the transmission is responsive and shifts smoothly.

Most drivers will find the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid's performance more than adequate as well. You'll scarcely notice the transitions between gas and electric power in traffic, and there's plenty of power for passing maneuvers. The biggest thing you'll have to get used to in the Optima Hybrid is the odd braking response: Due to the blending of the car's conventional brakes with the hybrid regenerative braking system, there's a small but noticeable delay between pressing the brake pedal and actually getting the desired braking force. There's plenty of braking power for repeated, hard stops but it's a peculiarity you'll have to live with.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating (See all 11 reviews) Write a Review

A sporty luxury car

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Vehicle: 2014 Kia Optima

If you are looking for a vehicle with all the bells & whistles PLUS a sporty feel & exterior profile....this is the car for you! Once you test drive it you will be in love with it. Heated & cooled front seats are a wonderful feature for Texas weather. Never owned a hybrid before & Kia made me a believer. I will continue to own hybrid vehicles in the future.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Our 2014 optima lx

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Vehicle: 2014 Kia Optima

We have owned our 2014 Optima LX for over a year now. over all, we are happy with the car. Plenty of power, good cornering, nice ride, very sharp design. The front passenger seat is very low. I had to buy a cushion for my wife. The back seats are a bit low also. The steering could be a bit firmer. We have the car in for service now with a coolant leak. This is our first Kia so we will see about the reliability. It is fun to drive so I hope it is a keeper.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Optima sxl 1yr review

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Vehicle: 2014 Kia Optima

Bought the loaded Optima SXL a year ago for 32k after rebates. The car so far has been a pleasure to own - spacious trunk, soft ride, comfy seats, quiet interior. However, there are some downsides. First of all, the mileage on the turbo is terrible. I drive mostly in the city, and I get 15mpg on average in normal mode. Tried putting it in Eco, but the car becomes completely unresponsive and dangerous. Second, the moonroof takes a lot of space: I'm 5'10 and I repeatedly hit my head on the roof when going over bumps. Finally, Pandora integration is terrible compared to Mazda and Accord. Overall, it's a decent car for the money, but I wish I've gotten Optima Hybrid or new Sonata Eco instead.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Best car around for the price

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Vehicle: 2014 Kia Optima

Working in the car business I see a lot of different cars and my SX Turbo Optima is the best car I have ever seen or owned hands down! I got the Corsa Blue that stands out. I can't tell you how many times I have been stopped and asked what kind of car I drive! The turbo is so fast I'm suprised I haven't gotten any tickets yet! For the money you turely can't beat it!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

2014 optima lx

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Vehicle: 2014 Kia Optima

We have owned our Optima LX for almost a year now. We are very happy with the car. We like the design, the sporty feel when driving it, and so far we have had no problems. We were amazed that the car could be purchased for about 20K. Other midsized cars we looked at were 3 or 4 grand more. Overall, a very good car at a very reasonable price. The long warranty was also a factor in our purchase.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Great car for the price

by on
Vehicle: 2014 Kia Optima

Have had my 14 Optima LX with the convenience package for a month now and I still smile every time I sit in it. Was not looking to buy a mid size sedan but loved it as soon as I took the first test drive. Steering could be a little stiffer and provide a bit of feedback, and the front passenger seat is way to low without the power upgrade. Have a couple of friends who don't like not being able to see over the dashboard when riding with me. Mileage could be better, but for a mid size car with a trunk I could sleep in its not bad at all. Over all a great car for the price when I walk up to it in a parking lot I still cant believe its a KIA.

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Gas Mileage


  • 23
  • cty
  • 34
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Kia Optima in VA is:

$58.58 per month*

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