Used 2002 Kia Optima
- Competitive price, solid build quality, loaded with standard features, pleasant highway ride, super warranty.
- Unproven newcomer in a cutthroat market, some low-grade interior materials, ABS isn't available for four-cylinder models.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The Optima may trail its Japanese competitors when it comes to overall polish, but those seeking a well-equipped "out-of-the-box" sedan will find this Kia appealing.
Kia has the bottom of the car market cornered -- its Rio sedan is the nation's cheapest car, and its competitively priced Spectra offers a fresh-smelling alternative to those who might otherwise settle for a used Japanese compact. But with the introduction of the midsize Optima in late 2000, it was clear that the Korean automaker desired a place at the ever-lucrative family sedan table. Unfortunately, the VIPs in this class -- Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford and Chrysler -- had already taken the best seats. And what's this? Nissan's Altima and Toyota's Camry are riding high on wildly successful 2002 redesigns. So how can an underdog like the Optima stick around until dessert is served? By finding buyers who would rather drive a generously equipped Kia than a stripped-down Toyota.
The base four-cylinder Optima LX starts at just over $15,000 (with destination charge) and includes front and side airbags; air conditioning; power windows, door locks and mirrors; a first aid kit; variable intermittent wipers; a cassette player and 15-inch wheels -- an impressive array of features in this price range. The SE trim adds alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, a power antenna, auto-on/off headlights, foglamps, moonroof, remote keyless entry and alarm, cruise control, a 120-watt audio system with CD (optional for the LX), wood trim, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an eight-way power driver seat. Should you opt for the LX V6, Kia will throw in the alloy wheels and cruise control; the latter is available as an option for base LX models. Additionally, SE models are eligible for the optional Leather Package, which includes leather seating surfaces and a four-way power passenger seat.
One possible annoyance for buyers is the limited availability of ABS -- if you want it, you have to get one of the V6 models and buy it as an option. Four-wheel disc brakes are also exclusive to the six-cylinders, but at least you don't have to pay extra for them.
The Optima's standard 2.4-liter DOHC inline four-cylinder engine with five-speed manual transmission pumps out a credible 149 horsepower and boasts fuel economy of 21 mpg city and 28 highway (20/27 with the four-speed automatic). The upgraded 2.7-liter DOHC V6 engine now delivers 178 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque; this still isn't best in class but should be fully adequate for most buyers. The V6 model is offered only with an automatic transmission, but it does come with a Porsche-designed Tiptronic automanual shifter to allow up- and downshifts without a clutch. Its fuel economy is 19 mpg city and 25 highway.
All Optimas are fitted with four-wheel independent suspension, front and rear anti-roll bars, and rack-and-pinion steering with power assist, which combine to provide a responsive, supple and comfortable ride, especially on the highway. We could do without some of the Optima's body roll during cornering, but this behavior is to be expected from a non-sporting sedan with a softly tuned suspension.
Company officials readily admit that the Optima isn't going to steal any sales records from the leaders in this class, but the Kia's solid build quality, exceptional fit-and-finish, excellent standard suspension system, jackpot of features and low price could make it a welcome addition to families on a budget. Got an open mind? Want to drive something a little different? Go test-drive an Optima.
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Features & Specs
Used 2002 Kia Optima Overview
The Used 2002 Kia Optima is offered in the following submodels: Optima Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), SE V6 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 4A), LX V6 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 4A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M).
What's a good price on a Used 2002 Kia Optima?
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Can't find a used 2002 Kia Optimas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
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Should I lease or buy a 2002 Kia Optima?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.