2013 Kia Optima
The Kia Optima is a midsize sedan with a smooth, quiet ride and able driving dynamics. The 2013 Kia Optima competes with the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata.
For 2013, Optima carries over largely unchanged, but new features have been added and Kia has consolidated the model lineup.
All 2013 Optima models get a revised Kia badge on the hood, trunk and steering wheel, as well as a new sliding front headrest. Last redesigned for the 2011 model year, Optima still looks contemporary. Its sleek and muscular, without a jumble of distracting design elements.
Kia Optima LX and EX use a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 200 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque. This engine is short on excitement, but it's fine for most drivers. Quiet at highway cruising speeds, it delivers enough power to keep up with fast traffic on the freeways, while delivering an EPA-estimated 24/35 mpg City/Highway. All 2013 Optima models come standard with a 6-speed automatic.
Kia Optima SX features a peppy 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The turbocharged inline-4 found on the Optima SX sweetly carries this sedan into another world. With 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the Optima SX boasts first-rate performance, stability and agility. Silky smooth, the turbocharged engine propels the Optima SX from 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds, quick for this class. Fuel economy suffers a bit compared to the naturally aspirated version, with an EPA rating of 22/34 mpg City/Highway. and comes standard with leather upholstery and wood interior accents
Kia Optima Hybrid uses a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gas engine that produces 166 horsepower connected by a wet clutch to an Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) synchronous electric motor producing 40 horsepower. The battery that powers the electric motor is state of the art, a 270V lithium-polymer (Li-PB) battery. Compared to a nickel metal hydride system, this 95-pound Li-PB system is 20-30 percent lighter, 40 percent smaller, holds a charge 25 percent longer, is 10 percent more efficient, and offers twice the power density. The warranty is good for up to 10 years or 150,000 miles. It's a hybrid, so you don't need to plug it in. Just fill it with gas and go.
Efficiency-wise, the Hybrid drags Optima back into a third world. Its EPA estimated mileage is 35/40 miles per gallon. However, we only got 25.5 mpg during our lead-footed stint. The 6-speed automatic transmission was rough, which we blame on its electronic programming.
Interior appointments and materials in all Optima models are handsome, generous, and of high quality for the class. Beautiful leather adorns the dashboard and seating, comfortable with firm support, including the rear. The design and layout of the instrumentation reflect thought and employ the latest technology. The expected conveniences are all there, plus bonuses such as a cooled glove compartment for keeping beverages cool.
Optima uses front-wheel drive and a four-wheel independent suspension that is athletic and responsive. We found the ride quality compliant over rougher pavement, filtering out harshness, while the suspension accurately communicates smaller bumps and ripples. The chassis is good, and although Optima is no performance sedan, its handling has a sporty glimmer.