Vehicle Type: Sedan

History/Description: Kia’s taken the wraps off of a heavily-revised version of their popular Optima for model-year 2015, effectively moving the recent full generation of the stylish four-door into used vehicle territory. Launched in 2011 with stand-out looks that truly set it apart in its segment, this value-based sedan was set on showing off the brand’s styling capabilities.

Competing with comparables like the Camry, Malibu, Fusion Accord, 6, Altima and others, Optima was available with a plethora of trim grades and packages to fine-tune it towards a wide range of needs. Go for a top-line model, and you’ll get a panoramic sunroof, climate controlled seats, a heated steering wheel, premium audio system with multimedia hub, push-button start, xenon lights, navigation, automatic everything and plenty more. The promise of world-class equipment and styling without the world-class pricetag is what the Optima is all about.

Engines / Trim: For used shoppers, note that the LX models are lower-end, while EX, EX Luxury, and SX Turbo fill in the ladder from basic to loaded. Most models in the used market will pack a 2.4L GDI four-cylinder engine with 200 hp and a six-speed automatic. A six-speed manual was available in basic Optima LX models, and the available SX Turbo, which punched output to 274 horses with a 2.0L turbo GDI engine, came only with the automatic. All units were front-wheel drive.

Note that an Optima Hybrid model was available, though essentially non-existent reliability data on account of relatively low sales volumes mean we’ll cover this special version in a different story at a later date.

What Owners Like: Owners rate Optima’s overall value highly, with most reporting tremendous satisfaction with the feature content to price ratio. Styling, and the panoramic roof, were also highly rated- as is performance from turbocharged models. Though rear-seat headroom is at a bit of a premium, the rear seats are otherwise spacious and comfortable. Good ride quality rounds out the package.

What Owners Dislike: Complaints include a dull and boring engine sound, especially from the turbocharged powerplant, slow-to-react paddle shifters and rear-seat headroom. Some owners wish for a touch more snap from the standard engine, too.

Here are some owner reviews.

Common Issues: As the Optima you’re considering has likely appealed to you with a generous list of fancy features, start a test-drive confirming that they all function properly. Navigation, chilled seats, the heated steering wheel, Bluetooth, the panoramic sunroof, and all steering-wheel mounted controls should all be run through their paces.

Though the durability of a vehicle’s finish is largely a function of maintenance, care, climate and the environment in which the unit is driven, some owners have reported peeling or fading paint earlier than expected, so scrutinize the condition of the paint, especially at the front edge of the hood and bumper, and call excessive wear into pricing negotiations. Further, check around the inner and lower edges of the doors, hood and trunk for signs of sneaky rust.

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