2012 Kia Optima Consumer Review: A good buy with a few flaws

2012 Kia Optima - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

111 Total Reviews

LX Sedan (2.4L 4-cyl. 6-speed Automatic)

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A good buy with a few flaws
By upacrk1 on


2012 Kia Optima LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)


I bought a new 2012 Kia Optima LX in Snow White Pearl back in May 2012.
Originally I had an issue with the driver's seat not being very comfortable.
(I didn't notice this in the short test drive.)
In the 9 months I've owned it, my butt seems to have gotten used to it.
The acceleration is great!
So good that if the roads are slick, I have to put it in ECO mode so the tires don't slip.
This may also says something about the OEM Nexen tires.
I haven't been driving much so far- only 4700 miles.
(Try to walk/bike as much as I can).
MPG per tank is 22-27 with an avg 24.5 .
As expected, mileage is lower in the cold winter months.
No long trips yet - can't wait to see what I'll get then!

Update - almost four years out (16500 miles), the car still looks great! While they might work for most owners, the light beige colored seats are a little too light for my liking. I should have gotten the darker gray/black. Passenger seat is built a little too low and does not adjust up/down. Seat risers are available online. 2016 models now have up/down adjustment. Road noise is noticeable; could use more insulation. Driver's leg room is good and seems to be getting worse on newer similar sized cars. Heater/AC work great! Sport shift feature is fun. Music generally comes from a USB stick. Voice command software/hardware is finicky. Dash layout is good; controls very functional. Although it's been decades since I've had a flat, I was uncomfortable with the no spare/compressed air can-sealer setup. I purchased a new OEM spare tire kit online for $181. The default no spare setup leaves a lot of wasted space in the spare wheel well. Easy access to this space would have been a sensible thing to design. The sensitive electronic steering takes some getting used to and requires more attention at highway speeds.

Update 2 - I finally got in a short road trip in (220 miles) and got 35 MPG! Wow! And the electronic steering issue - that's now been fixed with a software update. It's much better now. And just one last comment - a rattle that was driving me nuts (and sounded like it was coming from behind the glove box) turned out to a pair of sunglasses in the overhead eyeglass holder. The Nexen tires still leave something to be desired.

Update 3 - Now September 2017 with 25K miles. I have replaced the original Nexen tires with General Altimax RT43 tires. The ride is much nicer. Dry grip is greatly improved. Waiting for some good rain and (down the road) snow to see how they work. Based on a lot of research, I expect the Generals will do well. It really pained me to replace the OEM tires so soon! :-( Engine has been replaced due to failing recall SC174. Based on not too many miles, it appears the mileage may have improved a bit after the engine replacement.

Best Features

  • Cargo storage
  • Logic of controls
  • Interior design
  • Entertainment
  • Usb ports
  • Repair frequency
  • Purchase cost
  • Maintenance cost
  • Warranty

Worst Features

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Comments (2) Post a Comment
By orleans44
on 03/30/13 17:39 PM (PDT)

Spot on about the noise when traveling on wet pavement. It's really loud, as if you're driving with the windows down when driving through the puddles, etc.

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By upacrk1
on 12/31/13 03:39 AM (PST)

An update - The car is still driving well with no new problems. It has only been to the dealer for oil changes and a tire rotation. I did buy a compact spare tire kit online from Kings Kia for $180 delivered, significantly less than what the local dealer wanted for it. The mileage is still not as good as would have liked but then most of my driving is local around town. The Nexen tires still suck (slip on both wet and dry pavement) and I see that there are lots of complaints about poor tire wear. No light in the glove box. I guess you get what you pay for. It's a good looking car but I sure don't love it like I have my past cars. I don't think I'll have this one for too many years.

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