2010 Kia Optima Review

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List Price Estimate:$2,225 - $3,933
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Affordable, excellent warranty, ample standard features.
  • Weak optional V6, uninspired cabin, flinty ride.

The 2010 Kia Optima offers midsize functionality at a compact price point, but it's not fully competitive with the best cars in this segment.

Vehicle overview

There are two types of car shoppers in the world: those who tend to follow the crowd and only consider the best-selling models in any given category and those who prefer to take a rational look at all their choices. If you fall into this second group, the 2010 Kia Optima might be worth considering. Though this midsize sedan lives in the shadows of heavy hitters like the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry, it still has appeal for value-oriented shoppers.

The Optima delivers the roomy interior that midsize buyers expect, and it's available for less money than some well-equipped economy cars. However, the old adage "you get what you pay for" does apply in this case. The Optima doesn't ride as smoothly as most rivals, and its optional V6 doesn't even make 200 horsepower in a segment full of 270-hp bruisers. Its interior is also a notch below the class standards for quality and visual appeal.

Other than that, the 2010 Kia Optima is generally pretty easy to like. Do your homework and you'll discover you can buy a top-of-the-line Optima for thousands of dollars less than most comparably equipped competitors. If that aspect appeals to you, the Optima could work out well. But in general we recommend checking out better sedans that still offer plenty of value, such as the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Suzuki Kizashi.

2010 Kia Optima models

The 2010 Kia Optima midsize sedan is offered in base LX, upscale EX and sporty SX trims.

The standard features list for the entry-level LX includes 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, air-conditioning, 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, full power accessories, a tilt steering column and a CD/MP3 player audio system with satellite radio and a USB/auxiliary audio input. Models with the automatic transmission add keyless entry, cruise control and a multifunction tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Move up to the EX and you get 16-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a power driver seat, automatic climate control, a trip computer and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass.

The SX loses the automatic climate control but adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, exclusive exterior trim, leather and cloth upholstery, unique instrumentation, aluminum interior trim and sport pedals.

Options on EX and SX models include Bluetooth, a power sunroof, Infinity audio with a six-disc CD changer, a power front passenger seat, heated front seats, a manual rear-window sunshade and power-adjustable pedals. The EX and SX also offer an optional navigation system.

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2010 Highlights

The Kia Optima is largely unchanged, with the exception of standard keyless entry/ignition on SX models.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 Kia Optima comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the base LX, while the other models get a five-speed automatic. EPA fuel economy estimates for the four-cylinder are a class-competitive 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined.

A 2.7-liter V6 is optional on EX and SX models; it produces 194 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission offered here. Fuel economy numbers for this setup are a lackluster 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined; for context, the Toyota Camry's 268-hp V6 is rated at 19/28/23.

Safety

The 2010 Kia Optima comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. In government crash tests, the Optima received a perfect five-star rating for both front and side impacts. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Optima earned the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset test and a second-best "Acceptable" rating in the side-impact test.

Driving

On the road, the 2010 Kia Optima's optional V6 provides decent power in low-speed everyday driving, but it's thoroughly outclassed by every other midsize sedan's V6 under hard acceleration. Given the relatively small difference in power output between the Optima's two engines, we think most buyers will be just fine with the more efficient four-cylinder. As for the suspension, it delivers decent ride quality and handling in its stock form, though the ride is a bit brittle for this segment. The sporty SX model handles slightly better, but it's by no means a sport sedan, and its ride is also firmer.

Interior

The Optima's interior is a little on the plain side. Of course, for some folks that lack of dramatic design can be a plus. Whereas several of the Optima's competitors have dashes covered with a confusing array of buttons and switches, the Kia's uncomplicated layout might seem like a refreshing change.

When it comes to passenger accommodations, the Optima delivers on the promise of its midsize dimensions for both front and rear passengers; however, the relatively short seat cushions in back don't offer enough support for longer-legged adults. Out back, the Optima's trunk offers 15 cubic feet of cargo room, a number that's on par with competitors. All models come with 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2010 Kia Optima.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4 out of 5 stars
A Solid Budget Minded Choice
sronald1918,12/31/2014
LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)
I bought this car as a 9 month old former rental car in December 2010. I had no significant problems for about a year and then a dying out problem occurred that required me to go all the way up to a vice president of Kia Motors America (KMA) to get it fixed under warranty. This problem required multiple attempts at 2 Kia dealerships and a number of repair efforts by the KMA engineer for the Eastern United States, but it was finally fixed after about a year. My experience is that Kia has a long and sometimes difficult warranty. Some minor paint and trim issues also appeared after about 4 years that were not covered by the warranty. As to performance in its class, the car accelerates well, braking distances are reasonably short, and handling is good. The car has been comfortable for daily driving and all trips I have taken it on. Update July 2021, there are over 126,000 miles on the odometer and the car is running well. Over the years a number of parts needed replaced, but nothing major. The interior has held up well with no holes in the carpet or tears in the seats. The engine is quiet, powerful, and smooth and takes less than a quart of oil between oil changes. The transmission is smooth, works well, and does not leak (the fluid was changed at 60,000 miles and 118,000 miles). While this sedan is not fancy, flashy or high performance; I have found it to be fairly comfortable, reliable, and economical.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Great so far!
char3lee,03/05/2011
LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)
I love this car so far. I have put about 1000 miles on it and am really enjoying it. I bought it barely used, and feel I got a great deal. The back is very roomy for two people and a third would be pretty comfy if they were not too big or if it wasn't a long trip. It has all of the things that are important to me and more. I did get the higher end wheels and automatic driver's seat, which are nice. It has lots of pep and I get 33 mpg on the highway. I think that's great for a non-hybrid. Everything is just laid out great! Get one now, because I think the price will go up on these. The 2011 looks even nicer.
5 out of 5 stars
I love my Optima
redsgirl1,05/31/2012
LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)
I purchased my 2010 KIA Optima a year ago and I couldn’t be happier. It was one of KIA’s “rentals” with 12,000 miles on it and in pristine condition inside and out. I’m getting about 30 mpg around town. It handles beautifully and I feel safe and secure driving it. My mechanic was very impressed with it when I took it in for an oil change. Said I made a smart purchase. I’m an old woman now, 67, and this will probably be my last car but if I ever have to buy another car I would buy this one in a heartbeat.
5 out of 5 stars
Great car for $
lisa522,11/03/2010
LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)
It's a great running car, good on gas. Lots of room on the inside. 3 kids ages 7,9 & 12 also a hubby that is just over 6 feet. Very roomy. It has a big trunk also. We went from a 3rd row seat trailblazer. The trailblazer was good but we would have to put the back seat to travel so the kids had to sit in the bench seat anyways so it doesn't really change with the space we need cause the optima trunk is so big & so much better on gas.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 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
    Acceptable
  • Roof Strength Test
    Marginal
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Kia Optima

Used 2010 Kia Optima Overview

The Used 2010 Kia Optima is offered in the following submodels: Optima Sedan. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), EX 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M), SX 4dr Sedan (2.7L 6cyl 5A), and SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A). Pre-owned Kia Optima models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine or a 2.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 194 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2010 Kia Optima comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2010 Kia Optima comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2010 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 2010 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) 2010 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 AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2010 Kia Optima.

Can't find a used 2010 Kia Optimas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Optima for sale - 8 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $24,242.

Find a used Kia for sale - 2 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $15,279.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Optima for sale - 7 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $8,130.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 2 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $8,493.

Should I lease or buy a 2010 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.

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