Traded in my 2012 Mercedes C-Class for the 2018 Optima SXL. We purchased the 2017 Sorento SXL last spring after considering many other luxury brand SUV's and have been truly impressed. Decided it was a safe bet to trade the C-Class for the Optima. We've been very happy with the Optima thus far. It's a very quiet, comfortable vehicle with more than enough space for a family of 4. (It's not as quiet on the freeway as my Mercedes, but I don't expect that at $20K less than the 2018 C-Class comparably equipped.) You get a lot for the money, especially the SXL trim package, made better by the great deal we got on the purchase price... $4000 below MSRP. Kia's brand reliability (see Consumer's Reports) combined with the value for the money should make other car brands like Honda and Toyota take notice.
I've owned this car for about 2 months now (1500 miles) so here are some little observations and quirky things I've noticed. First, the car is great and I'm amazed this is a Kia. I opted for the Limited package because I wanted the nice seats and I do love the heated steering wheel. The car is gorgeous. By comparison, I do believe an Accord Touring or Camry XSE would have cost me more. Without the Limited package, the Kia SX is a steal. A big part of my decision was the 10yr/100,000 powertrain warranty and I did extend the basic warranty from 5yr/60,000 to 10 yr/100,000 to match the powertrain. That's a win in my book. Now for the car. Engine is fairly strong. Sound isn't inspiring--just a 4-banger chugging along. One note about gas mileage and turbos: If you're on the gas, you're mileage is not great. I'm coming from a 470hp car and while I'm not crazy on the gas pedal, city driving is getting me about 20mpg. Highway in Eco mode I got 32mpg. Also, in Sport mode there is a noticeable difference in the throttle response (touchy), shifting and steering and I'm sure the mpg would take a bit more of a hit. The brakes on this car can be grabby at times, but according to tests, are excellent in stopping. Acceleration is smooth--it's a quick car. As far as interior goes, it's great. Pretty close to entry-level luxury really. No issues with the infotainment or navigation. Car play works fine, though loading iHeartradio can lag. One unfortunate thing is if you use CarPlay with Google maps, you give up the turn-by-turn directions in the center display from the Kia navigation. There is some minor ambient lighting in the car: One small pinhole-type LED light from the sunroof console and two low-watt red lights shining into the door pockets. Headlights are superb with the SX LED headlights and the beams turn with the car. Adaptive Cruise control is great; however, if you don't pay attention to your speed, you'll end up driving behind someone doing say 60 when you're cruise is set at 70. Car will automatically speeds up when you change lanes and get out from behind the slower car. And allegedly, this car is capable of coming to a complete stop with the cruise/collision avoidance system. I did have the collision avoidance kick-in on me once on the highway. I was traveling about 70 and came around a curve on a truck probably traveling about 50 and the front radar "sensed" the closing speed and I felt the car start braking and watched the speed start dropping in anticipation of a collision. Pretty neat safety stuff right there. Blind-spot/Lane Change Warning is great. Lane keeping assist is good, though if you are a driver that is close to or hits the lane lines alot, you may want to turn it off. It beeps on the side of the car for the respective lane you veer out of. Rear-collision avoidance is a plus; has kicked in on me a couple times while backing out of parking spaces. "Birdseye" camera view is awesome to assist in parking. As far as quirky things, when you walk up to the car the mirrors will fold out and the door handle "pocket lights" come on. That's fine, but if you're outside the car (with car locked), everytime you get close this will happen: they'll fold in, then sense you close again and fold out. You can, however, turn off the mirrors in the car. The mirrors fold in when you lock the car. Also, the "Smart trunk" can be an issue if you don't pay attention. If you walk to the back of the car and stand a couple feet away, the car will start beeping and the lights will flash 4 times. Then the trunk will pop open. It's nice, but incomplete because you still have to reach down to open trunk completely (they should have some mechanism to do that). Problem is if you go around the back of your car and stop for more then 4 seconds, that trunk is popping open. I did this once while talking to my GF and got in the car and trunk was open. Whoops. What's missing: No remote start. You can purchase and with a dealer install probably about $800-1000. And you have a separate remote. Should be integrated and included in a package. Nitpicky items: Car has no "puddle lights" that shine on the ground when you approach/open car. And my car did not have the "sport pedals" which I thought were standard in the SX. I purchased them separately and it took all of 15 minutes to install. And after the first washing, my realization that the Limited wheels would be a pain to clean are true. You need a soft brush to get in between the spokes of the wheel. Most of what you find in the SX Limited is available in other top-of-the-line midsize sedans so for me it came down to styling and warranty. I do like the new Camry, but not worth the extra money and factor in a warranty and the decision was easier. Lots of great mid-size cars out there so it really comes down to what you like. Kia's done a fantastic job with their cars and it shows in their rankings. I'm super happy with this car.
If you're researching the car on Kia.com or a dealer's website, you need to know that the picture associated with what you're building or what is available in the dealer's inventory is NOT the car you think you're getting. For the 2018 Optima EX, if you're interested in the basic model or adding the Premium Package please be advised that the picture shown (with fog lights) only comes if you also purchase the technology package as well. In spite of the picture shown, the fog lights are NOT part of the Optima EX without the Technology Package. Unfortunately, I didn't find that out until I went to lease the vehicle. After speaking with KIA I learned that, even though the picture shown is not the correct one or should I say the misleading one, it is mentioned below the picture IF you click on Disclaimers! BUYER BEWARE!