Used 2003 Kia Optima

2003 Kia Optima
List price range
2003 Kia Optima


  • Excellent warranty, pleasant highway ride, lots of bang for your family sedan buck.


  • Noisy four-cylinder engine, some cheap interior bits, ABS isn't available on four-cylinder models.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The Optima may trail Japanese competitors when it comes to overall polish, but those seeking a well-equipped sedan will find this Kia appealing.

2003 Highlights

The Optima gets several revisions for its third year on the market. Most obvious is its new front-end styling, which replaces the Optima's reserved countenance with a more upscale European look -- double light clusters call to mind the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Other changes include new wheel designs, and inside, a new center stack, new door panels and fresh seat fabric. A manual transmission will no longer be available on the four-cylinder SE model; all automatic four-cylinder models will offer Sportmatic manual-shift capability. The LX model now comes with cruise control and a CD player (at the expense of the cassette deck). The SE will include automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Homelink and Infinity speakers; a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel is now part of the Leather Package. Lastly, engine horsepower ratings have been lowered following parent-company Hyundai's announcement that it had misstated outputs (the Optima is a corporate twin of the Sonata), but the engines themselves are unchanged.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Kia Optima.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Life saver
My Kia was my first car after turning 16. I liked he car a lot and it was very practical as a first car. The thing I will remember most is that this car saved my life. I totaled it through a light pole and into the trees at about 70 mph. I made out without a scratch because of the incredible safety of this car. I had heard that Kia's has low crash test ratings but this car proved them wrong by saving my life.
Great car - couple small issues
I love my car. In the 7 years I have had it there has only been a few issues. The alternator went, but that was covered. Same with the switch for my power seat. My biggest issue is with the locks! Had it fixed when the car was 5 yrs old. covered. But now the same issue. When I go to open the door (passenger) all the doors will lock. Now the door will not open at all. The dealer want $360. Guess my passengers will have to crawl through the window for now. Over all I have spent $500 in 7 years other than brakes and tires. Still have the original battery even.
Optima has been a good car
We bought our 2003 Optima just after getting married in 2003. We werent particularly looking for a Kia but due to the rebates Kia was giving at the time we settled on the Kia because it had superior options and a price we could afford. After 7 years of ownership we are ready to upgrade though and unfortunately wont be buying another Kia. Heres why: Cons: we paid 18000 for the car and today we can get about $3500 if we're lucky. Depreciation on this car is terrible. Belt squeals nonstop and dealers cant figure out problem. Always had transmission troubles that again dealer cant fix. Pros: Super reliable, fuel system problem at 30000 miles and door problem at 120000 but otherwise Reliable!
Worst Nightmare
Everyone says foreign cars are better. I would say to them don't include kia in the mix. Brand new alternator twice in 14 months, had to replace just about everything on it so far and have only 76,000 miles on it. Sound system is horrible it skips like a cd player and the cd player hasn't worked since the first week i bought it. Alarm hasn't worked for 2 years it goes off whenever it wants to when its set. And the parts are so expensive its stupid! I would NEVER recommend a Kia to anyone stick to toyota or honda.
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Features & Specs

18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 6000 rpm
18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
170 hp @ 6000 rpm
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
138 hp @ 5500 rpm
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed shiftable automatic
138 hp @ 5500 rpm
See all Used 2003 Kia Optima features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2003 Kia Optima
Used 2003 Kia Optima Overview

The Used 2003 Kia Optima is offered in the following submodels: Optima Sedan. Available styles include SE V6 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 4A), LX V6 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 4A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M), and SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Kia Optima?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2003 Kia Optimas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Kia Optima for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2003 Kia Optima.

Can't find a used 2003 Kia Optimas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Optima for sale - 6 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $17,956.

Find a used Kia for sale - 5 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $17,774.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Optima for sale - 1 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $17,925.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 3 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $22,078.

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Should I lease or buy a 2003 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.

Check out Kia lease specials
Check out Kia Optima lease specials