Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Quiet cabin
- plenty of convenience and luxury features for the money
- excellent blend of fuel efficiency and performance with turbocharged 1.6-liter engine.
- Sloping roofline makes for limited rear headroom
- numb steering.
The 2016 Kia Optima combines sporty styling with a strong value proposition that's hard to beat in the midsize sedan segment.
The midsize sedan segment is filled with sedans so renowned that they need no introduction. Camry. Accord. Fusion. Even though the Kia Optima has been on sale in the United States since 2001, it only recently elevated itself from the bargain basement to become a serious competitor. Kicking off a new generation, the 2016 Kia Optima raises the bar set by its esteemed predecessor, a car that helped shift the perception of the brand over the last half-decade.
The redesigned 2016 Kia Optima maintains the previous generation's stylish looks, with just a few updates to the front and rear.
One thing that hasn't changed much for 2016 is the Optima's exterior styling. Slightly longer, wider and taller than the car it replaces, this Kia is still a head-turner, but you'll need to take a hard look to notice the subtle differences. Underneath the skin is another story. High-strength steel is used extensively in the chassis, which Kia says makes for better structural rigidity, handling and high-speed stability. In addition to the carryover 2.4-liter base engine, a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is now available that promises better performance and fuel economy. The optional 2.0-liter turbo actually gets less power and torque this time around, but it's still the sporty choice in the lineup.
Even as it inches toward the standard-bearers in this segment in terms of price, the Optima is still a great choice for value. The base Optima LX already comes with a nice selection of convenience items, while fancier configurations offer features that are uncommon at this level, including adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, quilted leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof and a 360-degree parking camera. Such premium content would be more expected in the Optima's big brother, the Cadenza, but it's a clear differentiator in the context of other family sedans.
The midsize sedan segment is not wanting for worthy competitors to the 2016 Kia Optima. The 2016 Honda Accord is thoroughly refreshed for this year, boasting bold new styling and Honda's usual powertrain excellence. The 2016 Mazda 6 is stylish and fun to drive, but those who find its 2.5-liter engine lacking in oomph don't get the choice for a more powerful motor. The 2016 Toyota Camry is a little more vanilla, but its reputation for reliability is unmatched. You could also check out the Optima's closely related cousin, the well-rounded 2016 Hyundai Sonata. However, the 2016 Optima — with its blend of performance, style and value — is right in the mix with today's elite midsize family sedans.
2016 Kia Optima models
The 2016 Kia Optima is a five-passenger midsize sedan that comes in LX (differentiated slightly for the base 2.4-liter engine and the 1.6T), EX, SX and SXL trim levels.
The LX comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split rear seatback, a rearview camera, a 5-inch central display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
The LX's optional Convenience package adds an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), laminated (i.e., quieter) front door windows, power-folding heated mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and driver memory settings. Also included are a few safety features, including a blind-spot monitor, rear parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert.
Going for the LX 1.6T gets you a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, the laminated front door windows and heated and power-folding mirrors from the Convenience package, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and keyless entry and ignition.
The LX 1.6T Technology package folds in the remaining features from the LX's Convenience package, plus LED taillights, two charge-only USB ports, dual-zone climate control, rear air-conditioning vents and an 8-inch touchscreen bundled with HD radio, a navigation system and Kia's Uvo infotainment system.
With the EX, you get feature content similar to the LX 1.6T but with the base engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery and all features from the Technology package minus the auto-dimming rearview mirror, 8-inch touchscreen bundle and optional blind-spot monitoring/cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors.
Opting for the EX's Premium package equips the EX with those features (auto-dimming mirror, 8-inch touchscreen bundle and safety features) plus a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, an eight-way power passenger seat (with power lumbar) and heated and ventilated front seats. To this you can add the Premium Audio package, which includes heated rear seats, rear side window sunshades and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
Compared to an Optima EX, the SX comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine,18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips, a sport-tuned suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, LED taillights, a rear spoiler, unique exterior styling details, upgraded gauges, the auto-dimming rearview mirror, ambient lighting, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, the 8-inch touchscreen bundle and rear side window sunshades.
The available Premium Technology package includes the entire contents of the EX's Premium and Premium Audio packages. It also adds automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera system and an electronic parking brake. More safety features are also added, including a lane departure warning system, and a frontal collision mitigation system with automatic braking.
The quilted premium leather upholstery comes standard on the SXL trim level.
The SXL tops the Optima range and makes standard all of the above features. Also included are exterior chrome accents, unique interior trim and premium leather upholstery.
Performance & mpg
Every 2016 Kia Optima is front-wheel drive. The LX and EX come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
As its name suggests, the LX 1.6T comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 178 hp and 195 lb-ft. Kia pairs this engine with a seven-speed automated clutch transmission, which effectively operates as an automatic.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque is standard on the SX and SXL. The six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a 2016 Kia Optima SX went from zero to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is a slightly below-average time for a midsize sedan with an upgraded engine.
The EPA estimates fuel economy with the 2.4-liter at 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway). For the turbocharged engines, fuel economy ratings are 32 mpg combined (28 city/39 highway) for the 1.6-liter and 25 mpg combined (22 city/32 highway) for the 2.0-liter.
Standard safety features on the 2016 Kia Optima include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, a driver knee airbag, and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard, while optional features include a 360-degree surround-view camera, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind-spot monitoring system, lane departure warning and a forward collision warning and intervention system with emergency automatic braking.
The Uvo telematics system is standard on most trims, and includes roadside assistance, collision notification and driver restrictions and tracking for secondary drivers.
During Edmunds testing, an Optima SX came to a stop from 60 mph in 112 feet, one of the best braking distances we've ever recorded for a vehicle in this segment with all-season tires.
With discernibly more punch than the lackluster and overly noisy 2.4-liter engine, the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is a solid pick for overall power and fuel economy. We also like the seven-speed transmission's quick shifts. For V6-like power, though, the stronger 2.0-liter turbo-4 will be the engine to get. It's strong and smooth, if not quite as snappy overall as the Accord V6 or Camry V6.
The prevailing theme of the 2016 Kia Optima's driving experience is isolation. On one hand, this is a good thing, as the Optima exhibits a near-total lack of outside noise at cruising speed. The new chassis, extensive sound deadening and the optional laminated front windows do a remarkable job of keeping road, wind and tire noise at bay. Conversing at highway speeds requires little more than a whisper to carry your voice throughout the cabin.
The 2016 Optima's turbocharged engines are strong, but numb steering prevents the car from being truly engaging to drive.
On the other side of the isolation coin is the Optima's steering, which is overly light and uncommunicative when set in the Normal drive mode. Steering effort increases significantly when set to Sport mode, but even then, the wheel just doesn't give the feedback needed to impart driver confidence. The steering missteps are unfortunate, as the Optima (particularly the SX) offers a decent amount composure and body control around turns.
The sport suspension in models with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine has seemingly been retuned since the last Optima, as it no longer produces the ride discomfort we experienced in the previous-generation car. Ride quality is a bit busier than in other performance-minded sedans in this class but shouldn't deter anyone from considering these models. We have yet to test the Optima in 2.4- or 1.6-liter configurations with the standard suspension setup.
Step into the 2016 Kia Optima and you'll find a handsome, spacious interior that, while not particularly impressive in any one area, is highly functional and accessible. Like other vehicles in this segment, there's an abundance of soft-touch plastics, but there are still hard touch points surrounding the center stack and on the door armrests. The front seats are quite comfortable, although they do not offer much lateral support, even in the performance-minded SX. The upper-crust SXL features quilted leather upholstery with a quality that clearly aims higher than typical midsize sedan offerings.
The Optima's 8-inch touchscreen comes with Kia's Uvo system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration will also be available.
Tall rear-seat passengers may have some difficulty finding a comfortable seating position, as the rakish roofline reduces headroom in the back. The panoramic sunroof available on upper trim levels allows taller front-row occupants to sympathize with those in the rear, as it, too, cuts into headroom. On the bright side, there is plenty of legroom all around and the seats are reasonably wide. Cargo capacity is 15.8 cubic feet, which is right in line with the Optima's closest rivals.
The 8-inch touchscreen features large, easy-to-press virtual buttons and a sharp, legible picture. We like that the Optima utilizes physical buttons for navigating top-tier functions, as they require less concentration to operate accurately and safely on the road. Smartphone integration comes courtesy of Android Auto and, later in the model year, Apple CarPlay.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover5 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover9.8%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
When the midsize Optima sedan was redesigned in 2011, it quickly became one of the best-selling vehicles in Kia's lineup. Kia is looking to build upon that positive momentum with the all-new 2016 Optima. It's more fuel efficient and delivers a better overall driving experience without straying too far from the winning formula that made the previous model so popular.
What Is It?
At first glance, the 2016 Kia Optima doesn't appear to have changed much. But beneath the massaged sheet metal of this sharp-looking midsize four-door sedan sits an all-new chassis, which Kia says is longer, wider, lighter and stiffer than the outgoing model. This translates into more interior space, better fuel efficiency and improved ride and handling.
Both of the four-cylinder engines used in the 2015 Optima are carried over but have been retuned for better fuel economy. The 2.4-liter engine in the base LX and EX trims is now rated to deliver 30 mpg in combined driving (25 city/37 highway), a 1-mpg boost. The new top-line SX trim's 2.0-liter engine gains 1 mpg in combined driving (25 combined/22 city/32 highway) over its predecessor.
The mileage gains come at a price, however, as the 2.4-liter engine forfeits 7 horsepower and 3 pound-feet of torque (185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque), while the 2.0-liter engine gives up 29 hp and 9 lb-ft (245 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque). Both engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the Optima's front wheels.
New for 2016 is a turbocharged 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. With an EPA rating of 32 mpg in combined driving (28 city/39 highway), the new engine is expected to be the sales volume and fuel-efficiency leader of the family.
The Optima line starts with the LX trim priced at $22,665. Stepping up to the turbo 1.6 engine bumps the starting price to $24,815, with the EX coming in just above at $25,715. The more performance-oriented SX models start at $30,515, with the fully loaded SX Limited at $36,615.
How Does It Drive?
Our initial test-drive of the Optima took place in the mountains at around 8,000 feet and climbing as high as 12,095 feet above sea level. Because of this, the majority of our drive time was allocated to the more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter cars. Turbochargers can better mitigate the power-diminishing effects of thinner air at high elevation by pushing air into an engine.
Despite the altitude, our Optima SX Limited test car didn't suffer any noticeable power deficits, with ample thrust available for executing a pass or powering up grades. A subtle detent in the throttle pedal travel encourages efficiency, reminding drivers to avoid pedal-to-floorboard blasts. There is noticeably less top-end punch compared to the previous model, which could be a strike against the new car for someone who enjoys wringing an engine out to redline.
At cruising speeds, the Optima's cabin is luxury-quiet thanks to a number of sound insulation improvements to the 2016 model. The SX trim's sport-tuned suspension delivers a ride a couple notches firmer than "supple," controlling body motions competently without committing to real sporting intent. The variable-assist electric power steering falls in this same camp.
The SX trims benefit from a robust rack-mounted assist motor (a column motor is equipped in lower trims) for a more precise steering response. Neither setup, however, is good at communicating what's happening between the road and the front tires. So although the driving characteristics of the new Optima are superior to the previous-generation car, the engagement factor is still missing.
Back at sea level in California, we found our data corroborated our initial test-drive impressions. The new car outruns the old until about 50 mph before giving up a couple tenths to its peakier predecessor. During testing, the Optima with the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, which is about average for the class.
Road grip improves significantly (0.86g versus 0.80g), as does slalom speed (66.0 mph versus 62.7 mph), earning the Optima a top dynamic spot in the class despite the lack of road connection we felt. While its straight-line speed may not be quite as quick as, say, a V6-powered Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, the Optima maintains an athletic pace for a midsize sedan in this class.
The six-speed automatic transmission features Kia's Sportmatic shifting, which simply means you can manually select gears sequentially using the console shifter or the steering-wheel-mounted paddles on SX models. This automatic won't match the engine rpm on downshifts like a sportier transmission would, but it does provide crisper shifts than the seven-speed dual-clutch in the 1.6-liter LX model.
What's the Interior Like?
Just as the Optima's exterior design has created a strong draw for buyers, the interior design and content is equally compelling. Thanks to the slightly stretched body dimensions, the passenger space inside expands in nearly every dimension. There's more hip- and shoulder room front and rear, ranging from an inch to an inch and a half. There's also an inch more rear legroom and a half cubic-foot of additional trunk space.
The dash has been designed more symmetrically, with clean horizontal lines and switchgear that is uncluttered and more visually inviting to the front passenger. The climate controls are easy to operate, with dual-temperature zones (standard on EX trims and up), and an 8-inch central touchscreen (available on LX turbo trims and up) is nicely integrated and well positioned to prevent sun glare.
There's an abundance of usable storage space and a long list of standard and optional features. You can specify everything from heated and ventilated Napa leather seats, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon QuantumLogic sound system, a huge panoramic sunroof and 360-degree bird's-eye-view parking cameras.
Kia utilized many premium materials in a conscious effort to elevate the appearance and feel of the cabin and to help justify the asking price of the top level trim. While this is indeed the nicest Optima to date, the price tag rises dangerously close to that of some luxury models that are still a rung above.
What Features Come Standard?
One of Kia's continued strengths is the level of standard content offered. Beginning with the base LX trim that starts under $23,000, notable standard features include a 5-inch central touchscreen, a 3.5-inch LCD trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a six-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary audio jacks, satellite radio, cruise control, remote keyless entry, automatic headlights and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The LX 1.6T, in addition to the upgraded turbocharged powertrain, adds heated and power-folding mirrors, a Smart Trunk (automatically opens when the key fob is nearby), improved sound insulation, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob and keyless push-button ignition.
The EX trim uses the base engine, but retains all the other features offered on the LX 1.6T. Additional standard equipment includes heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 12-way power driver seat with memory, dual-zone climate control, an illuminated glovebox, leather upholstery, wood grain interior accents, two additional USB charging ports, a rear 12-volt power outlet, dual projector-beam headlights, LED taillights and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the SX trim adds the larger turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, a sport-tuned suspension, dual exhaust tips, 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights (a first for Kia), sportier LED taillights, unique front and rear exterior styling, a rear spoiler, an 8-inch color touchscreen with navigation, a flat-bottom sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather sport seats, a 4.3-inch color LCD trip computer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear window shades.
For those who want it all, the SX Limited trim leaves no box unchecked. In addition to the SX features, there's a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade, High Beam Assist (automatically dims the headlights when vehicles are detected), rear sonar parking sensors, a 360-degree surround-view monitor, a blind-spot detection system, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, a lane departure warning system, forward collision warning with automatic braking, an electronic parking brake, a 10-speaker 630-watt Harman Kardon sound system, LED interior lighting, quilted Napa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a 10-way power front passenger seat, a leatherette-wrapped interior with contrast stitching and premium Tricot-wrapped headliner and pillars.
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider?
The entry-level midsize sedan segment is hotly contested, and it was only within the past five years that the Kia Optima became part of the conversation. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have always been, and continue to be mainstays in this category, with reputations for dependability and loyal brand followings. Both Honda and Toyota offer V6 engine options that achieve fuel economy figures comparable to Kia's 2.0-liter turbo engine, but with slight horsepower advantages.
If you're looking for a more engaging driving experience, the Mazda 6 should definitely be considered. Offered only with a surprisingly torquey yet fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Mazda 6 relies more on solid driving dynamics and attractive design, over providing the longest menu of options. The Mazda 6, along with the Honda Accord, is among the few that still offer a manual transmission option.
On the domestic front, the Ford Fusion aligns with Kia's approach, offering both standard and turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The Fusion sports a handsome exterior design and a potent 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, and it can be specified with all-wheel drive. Lastly, the all-new Chevrolet Malibu comes out swinging in 2016, with impressive exterior design and two turbocharged four-cylinder engines, a 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter, mated to six- and eight-speed transmissions, respectively.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
The new Optima manages to preserve much of what made it the sales success that it is today, while making notable improvements to key areas like fuel economy, cabin comfort and handling dynamics. Kia continues to offer a high level of value in each trim level, even if the top-of-the-line SX Limited model is now one of the most expensive trims available in this midsize class.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
There are cars in this class with more powerful V6 engines that deliver nearly the same mileage as Kia's turbocharged engines. Some competitors also offer larger cabins, additional safety options and sharper handling. In short, there are so many options to choose from, it pays to consider all of them.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.
Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan Overview
The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan is offered in the following styles: LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SX Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), SXL Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and LX Turbo 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM). Pre-owned Kia Optima Sedan models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine or a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 245 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan 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 2016 Kia Optima Sedan?
Price comparisons for Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan trim styles:
- The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan LX is priced between $14,991 and$21,590 with odometer readings between 13784 and115657 miles.
- The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan EX is priced between $15,495 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 41458 and113759 miles.
- The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan SX Turbo is priced between $20,590 and$23,998 with odometer readings between 25634 and50400 miles.
- The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan SXL Turbo is priced between $22,499 and$25,998 with odometer readings between 27981 and38846 miles.
- The Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan LX Turbo is priced between $15,503 and$15,503 with odometer readings between 51225 and51225 miles.
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Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan Listings and Inventory
There are currently 58 used and CPO 2016 Kia Optima Sedans listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,991 and mileage as low as 13784 miles. Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Kia Optima Sedan.
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Should I lease or buy a 2016 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.