2013 Kia Optima SX Limited Sedan (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo FWD 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 7/10/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
The competition in the midsize class is fierce with several excellent sedans available. The Kia Optima, especially the SX Limited with its turbocharged engine, is sporty, competitively priced and comes stocked with desirable features.
PerformanceThe turbo four-cylinder is certainly a step up from the naturally aspirated version. But its performance is susceptible to heat and its claimed fuel economy is difficult to achieve. Drivability remains good despite these idiosyncrasies.
Our results have varied depending on the ambient temperature, but remain about average for the segment. Our test car's standard paddle shifters make things more interesting.
Good pedal feel in normal, around-town driving. But slightly below-average panic stopping distances at our test track.
The Optima's electric power steering is noticeably heavier than most other electric systems. But it's still artificial and springy-feeling.
With such an intrusive stability control system, we only found enthusiast-oriented handling possible by turning it off completely. The system rarely cuts in during normal driving.
The Optima is comfortable, quiet and perfectly suited for daily driving.
ComfortThe Optima SX Limited offers so much comfort and luxury that it's easy to assume it belongs in a class higher than its price point.
Supportive, heated and ventilated leather front seats with memory function plus comfy, heated outboard leather rear seats are standard on the SX Limited.
Regardless of the SX Limited's firmer suspension and wheel-tire combo, it still provides reasonable ride comfort over a variety of surfaces.
Our measured results showed the Optima was as quiet or quieter than its competition with dispersed wind noise and only a little road noise on rough roads.
InteriorThe Optima SX Limited really shines when it comes to its interior, where a modern yet user-friendly design combines with generous accommodations.
All the ergonomics one could ask for: keyless entry/ignition, touchscreen and voice-controlled infotainment, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and paddle shifters. All are easy to use.
A little above-average sedan entry and exit without any specific accolades or problem areas.
The Optima lies in the middle of the midsize segment in terms of overall interior volume. While not the largest, the Optima gives ample room and a reasonably airy cabin.
No egregious blind spots. Plus, the top-tier SX Limited comes with a standard reverse camera and rear parking sensors.
The Optima's 15.4-cubic-foot trunk is a bit above average. The rear seats do fold down, but the trunk pass-through is on the small side.
ValueValue was once Kia's trump card, but price increases have made this less of an incentive for the Korean manufacturer. Base models are still competitively priced, but upper trim levels like the SX Limited face stiff competition.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Once the butt of jokes, the Kia Optima is now a well-built machine that can go nearly head-to-head with any midsize sedan in terms of quality.
There are virtually no options available because the SX Limited includes them all standard. Its features versus base price is highly competitive.
The Optima model range begins at about $21K, but can easily climb to over $30K. If you want the best engine, interior, handling, etc., expect to pay for it.
The EPA rates the Optima SX at 22 city/34 highway/26 mpg combined, but we struggled to meet these estimates with our test car.
One of the industry's best warranties, period. Kia provides a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage.
We spent a trouble-free year with a Kia Optima here at Edmunds. It comes with roadside assistance for 5 years/60,000 miles, but no free maintenance.
Fun To DriveJudged by its flashy styling and performance stats, we expected a bit more driving fun than the Optima SX Limited ultimately provided us.
While the Optima is a far cry from the penalty box it once was, the sporty demeanor is only skin deep. It remains a pleasant daily driver regardless.
We appreciate the SX Limited's sporty exterior, and well-equipped and tasteful interior. These help give the car a bit more personality than most others in the class.