Excellent build quality; upscale styling and ambiance; refined performance; strong value proposition.
Limited rear headroom; exposed iPod location.
With the 2011 Kia Optima, the little-known car company from South Korea has its breakout vehicle, a midsize sedan of such style and charm that it will change what you think about every Kia. Beneath the skin, the Optima might share its platform and engine with the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, yet this Kia has its own style, both inside and out. Where the Sonata has an American vibe, the Optima has a European flair in both the way it looks and the way it goes down the road.
There's plenty of substance underneath the style, too. A feeling of higher quality permeates the Optima, from the solid thunk of a door closing to how it feels on the open road. And the Hyundai/Kia value philosophy is here in full effect as well, with plenty of standard luxury features as well as that long, peace-of-mind warranty.
The Optima's 2.4-liter inline-4 makes 192 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, an impressive output from a naturally aspirated (not turbocharged nor supercharged) four-cylinder engine. However, against the EPA combined estimate of 27 mpg, we averaged just 22 mpg in over 1,000 miles of driving. In fairness much of the Optima's time with us involved both legendary L.A. gridlock and our staff's leadfoot tendencies.
This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, which helps to, yes, optimize its performance. And the willing engine and smooth transmission appear to be a happy couple. Although the 2011 Kia Optima's 0-60-mph sprint of 9.2 seconds is just about average for this segment of sedans, the power spread from low- to midrange rpm is generous, so this 3,407-pound car never feels flat-footed when dicing with city traffic or when thrust is needed for swift merging on the freeway or passing on the open road.
Though it offers manual gearchange capability, the cooperative automatic is always on point, making DIY changes unnecessary unless you just want to play. The six-shooter swaps gears seamlessly without a bit of shift shock and it's quick to step down a gear or two when needed. The Optima's brakes are likewise competent, with a solid pedal feel and a smooth, linear action. The Kia's 121-foot stopping distance from 60 is excellent for this segment, where distances of more than 130 feet are the norm.
Whether dawdling through city traffic or given the crop on a curving on-ramp, the Optima has an amenable temperament. The suspension is compliant enough to take pockmarked pavement in stride while still keeping its composure when driven spiritedly through the turns. It's biased toward comfort rather than cornering, but for most folks it'll likely be just right. The Kia's precise steering feels more natural than most electric-assisted systems we've sampled, and indeed provides more satisfying weighting and linear action than the setup of the Hyundai Sonata.
The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and power seat offer a wide enough range of adjustments so you can get comfortable. And all outboard passengers are treated to sculpted, supportive seating. Yes, the rear middle seat is a bit tight for adults, but the same goes for any sedan in this midsize category. Rear passengers are treated to a large fold-down armrest as well as their own air vents, the latter an uncommon nicety in this segment. Most folks should find the rear compartment roomy enough, and only those over 6 feet tall may find accommodations a bit tight.
In addition to the aforementioned supple ride, the Optima provides peace and quiet, with road and wind noise levels amply muted. And even when subjected to the blown-out streets of downtown Los Angeles, the Optima never protested with a squeak or rattle.
Walk up to the 2011 Kia Optima EX and the cabin lights thoughtfully come on before you reach the door, as if to welcome you inside. With the standard keyless entry/ignition, you just leave the key in your pocket as you enter the car and fire it up.
The gauges and most controls are clear and intuitive, with the electronic displays for fuel level and coolant temperature having a more conventional, easily read design than that seen in some competitors. Stowage space is respectable, with a generous console box, usable door pockets and large cupholders.
Working the Kia's navigation system is second nature, with common adjustments (such as map orientation and scale) done without the need to dive into a menu. Entering addresses is quick, as are finding POIs and issuing cancellation commands. Visual and voice prompts are clear as well.
The standard iPod jack and a small cubby are located in front of the shifter. That makes for a convenient if not wise location, as it requires you to unplug the device and stash it out of sight to minimize the risk of theft. Then again, this may be a nonissue — doesn't everybody have an iPod now? Choosing your music is easy, thanks to big virtual buttons, while the audio system itself provides clear sound with enough punch for everyone short of overzealous head-bangers.
The Kia Optima passed our usability tests with flying colors. At 15.4 cubic feet, the Optima's well-shaped trunk is fairly capacious and our reverse-facing baby seat still left enough room for a 5-foot-10 front passenger when installed in back.
Design/Fit and Finish
The Optima projects the image of a luxury sport sedan and overall appears more upscale than nearly every other car in this class. Its lines are dramatically expressed, yet all the elements are cleanly integrated, notably the swept-back headlights, clean flanks mercifully free of the usual rising character line and an elegant greenhouse with a single chrome strip accenting the roof line's sweep.
With its quality materials, tight panel gaps and tasteful wood-tone accents, the Optima's cabin could pass for that of a premium-branded sedan. It tells you that it's a driver's car first and a family car second, with the center stack of feature controls canted toward the driver and stylish French stitching on the leather upholstery for the dash, seats and door armrests.
Who should consider this vehicle
More stylish and upscale in feel than the common Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the very well-equipped 2011 Kia Optima offers midsize sedan buyers not only the feeling that they're getting a well-made, well-equipped car for the money but also one that they'll look forward to commuting and taking road trips in. Those looking for sportier performance from the Optima might want to consider the turbocharged EX-T and SX variants that are due out a few months after the 2011 Optima debut in late November.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2011 Kia Optima listings and inventory: Shop Edmunds' used car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million pre-owned vehicles to find a cheap used and certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Kia Optimas for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 882 used and CPO 2011 Optimas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 6,595 and mileage as low as 49,807. Simply research the type of used car, SUV, or truck you're interested in and then select a vehicle from our massive database to find cheap pre-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 2011 Kia Optima. Then select Edmunds' special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a used or CPO 2011 Optima available from one of 2,640 dealerships in your area.
What's a good price on a used 2011 Kia Optima ?
Save up to $300 on one of 29 used 2011 Kia Optimas for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $6595 as of Mar 22, 2018, based on data from 18 dealers and 20 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2011 Kia Optima trim styles:
The used 2011 Kia Optima EX is priced around $11164 with average odometer reading of 94493 miles.
The used 2011 Kia Optima LX is priced around $8526 with average odometer reading of 90960 miles.
The used 2011 Kia Optima EX Turbo is priced around $10445 with average odometer reading of 49807 miles.
The used 2011 Kia Optima SX is priced around $10826 with average odometer reading of 86764 miles.
The used 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid is priced around $9797 with average odometer reading of 78798 miles.
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What options are available on the 2011 Kia Optima?
Available Kia Optima 2011 Submodel Types: Sedan, Hybrid
Available Kia Optima 2011 Trims: S, SX Turbo, SXL Turbo, LX Hybrid, EX Hybrid, LX Turbo, LX, SXL, EX, Hybrid, SX, EX Turbo, SE
Interior Colors: Black Cloth cloth, Beige Cloth cloth, Black Leather leather, Black Leatherette/Cloth leatherette/cloth, Beige Leather leather, Gray Leather leather, Gray Cloth cloth, Black Nappa Leather premium leather, Black cloth, Beige cloth, Black leather/cloth, Beige leather, Black leather/cloth, Gray cloth, Gray leather, Ivory Nappa Leather premium leather, Merlot Leather leather, White Nappa Leather premium leather
Popular Features: Blind Spot Monitoring, Parking sensors, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Keyless Entry/Start, Post-collision safety system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, Automatic Emergency Braking, Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Aux Audio Inputs, Bluetooth, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, 360-degree camera, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Remote Start, Power Driver Seat, Auto Climate Control, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Back-up camera, Leather Seats, Cooled Seats, Heated seats, Sunroof/Moonroof, Upgraded Stereo, Navigation, Upgraded Headlights
Engine/Mechanics: 4, 6 cylinders
Transmission: AUTOMATIC, AUTOMATED_MANUAL, MANUAL
Fuel Types: regular unleaded
Drivetrains: front wheel drive
used 2011 Kia Optima Overview
The used 2011 Kia Optima is offered in the following submodels: Hybrid, Sedan. Available styles include EX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), and SX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Optima models are available with a 0-liter gas engine, with output up to 0 hp, depending on engine type. The used 2011 Optima comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic.