2017 Kia Optima Review
Edmunds expert review
Spacious sedans are continually losing market share to crossovers, but family-friendly four-doors such as the 2017 Kia Optima prove the segment still has plenty of life. The list of improvements to the 2017 version is mild in light of the full redesign it received last year, but the Optima line continues to grow with several new packages that allow shoppers to mix and match to find the right car. Add that to the Optima's existing strengths — a compelling value proposition, roomy seating and a big trunk — and you've got a sedan that can stand toe to toe with all-stars such as the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion.
Like its sister car, the Hyundai Sonata, the Optima scores high marks in the value category without feeling cheap inside. And with the top-trim SXL, you won't find a more deluxe cabin without upgrading to a true luxury sedan. There are shortcomings, to be sure. Tall rear passengers will brush their heads on the sloped roof and buyers looking for excitement should look elsewhere. But we think these are relatively minor knocks that shouldn't deter you from considering the 2017 Kia Optima for your next sedan.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
Although Kia does not offer much in the way of standalone options, there are a dizzying number of Optima permutations available to buyers. The base LX is fairly light on features, but it also doesn't cost much. The LX 1.6T adds a bit more, but its unique engine-transmission combo is tough to live with. The EX sticks with the LX powertrain and comes with a substantial number of luxury features for a moderate uptick in price. The SX includes a powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter engine among its upgrades, but if you want your Optima to feel like a luxury car, the top-trim SXL does the trick.
Under the hood of the front-wheel-drive Optima in its base LX form is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower, 178 pound-feet) matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, remote locking and unlocking, a rearview camera, cruise control, a driver information display, selectable driving modes, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable front seats (with two-way lumbar adjustment for the driver), a 60/40-split rear seat, Bluetooth, a 5-inch central display, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and a USB port.
Three packages are available for the Optima LX. The Driver Convenience package adds heated and power-folding mirrors, laminated (i.e. quieter) front window glass, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (with four-way lumbar adjustment) and driver-seat memory settings. The Convenience Plus package requires the Driver Convenience package and adds rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and a 7-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Kia's Uvo infotainment system. As an alternative, you can also just get the Convenience package, which costs slightly less and includes everything above minus the touchscreen, but we think getting the touchscreen is a good idea.
Stepping up to the LX 1.6T adds a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (178 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque) paired to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. This powertrain is unique to the LX 1.6T. Additional features include a hands-free trunk, illuminated door handles, keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and the laminated windows and mirrors from the Convenience package.
Two packages are available for the LX 1.6T. The Value package adds upgraded headlights, LED daytime running lights, the power driver seat, driver-seat memory settings, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and the 7-inch touchscreen. The Technology package includes the blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors plus LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, two charge-only rear USB ports, an 8-inch touchscreen and navigation.
The EX sticks with the powertrain from the LX and adds 17-inch wheels, LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, the additional USB ports, leather upholstery and the contents of the Value package.
You probably won't be surprised to hear that there are two packages for the EX. The Premium package includes all of the upgrades in the Technology package, plus a panoramic sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a power-adjustable passenger seat (with two-way lumbar), ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. Opt for the Premium Plus package and you'll get those and forward collision warning with emergency braking, lane departure warning, an electronic parking brake, rear window sunshades and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.
For a sportier Optima, Kia offers the SX. It's powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (245 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque). It is equipped similarly to the EX, with upgrades that include 18-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a rear spoiler, dual exhaust tips, a sport-tuned suspension, a flat-bottom steering wheel with wheel-mounted shift paddles, a larger driver information display, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear window sunshades and the 8-inch screen with navigation.
If you want the performance of the SX but don't necessarily need the extra luxury features, you can order it with the new Sport Value package. It's priced lower, but Kia deletes the LED headlights, hands-free trunk, keyless entry and ignition, and an auto-dimming mirror. Additionally, the 7-inch touchscreen is used instead of the 8-inch system. On the other hand, if you'd like more features you can add the Launch Edition package. It adds the contents of the Premium package and the 10-speaker audio system. Then there's the Technology package for the SX that includes everything else from the Premium Plus package, alongside automatic high-beam control and adaptive cruise control.
At the top of the Optima lineup is the SX Limited. It includes everything listed above and a 360-degree parking camera, wireless smartphone charging and upgraded leather upholstery.
Noise & vibration3.5
Ease of use4.0
Getting in/getting out4.0
Child safety seat accommodation4.0
Audio & navigation4.0
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.