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William Maley

Interactive Review: 2012 Kia Optima EX

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

July 5, 2012

This week in the Cheers and Gears Detroit garage is the 2012 Kia Optima EX. This Optima is equipped with the base 2.4L DI inline-four delivering 200 HP and 186 lb-ft torque, and is equipped with a six-speed automatic.

First Impressions so far:

  • Love the exterior and interior design
  • Headroom in the backseat is a bit tight
  • The amount of equipment for the price is very impressive
  • Average fuel economy so far: 27.2 MPG

I will be updating with more thoughts about the Optima throughout its stay. Send in your questions in the meantime.

Update #1: So far the Optima has been really impressing me. The 2.4L DI four is very smooth and has quite the punch. Average fuel economy has dropped to 25.3 MPG, but that's in line with the EPA rating for the city. I'm expecting that number rise over the weekend.

As for complaints, I have one dealing with the back window. you can barely see anything out the back window due to the rakish design and large C-Pillars. Thankfully, the Optima has a rear view camera thanks to the optional Premium package.

I'll another update coming either tomorrow or Monday with highway fuel economy numbers.

Update #2: My time with the Optima is coming to close, as it will be heading back tomorrow. And, I'm sad to see it go.

The Optima has really impressed my as a package. The powertrain, design, and features makes for a very formidable player in the midsize sedan market. It does have some problems, some I have talked about here and some that I will talk about in the review. But most are minor, maybe for the back window and not seeing out of it.

As for highway fuel economy, the EPA rates the Optima 2.4L at 35 MPG. I got close to it, getting 33.5 MPG on my run. If I had gone further, I'm willing to bet I would have matched or even surpassed 35.

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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I drove a Sonata and it was pretty quiet, pretty good for a low $20s midsizer. Never drove an Optima, but I agree with mudmonster about the styling, I like it. I like how the center console angles toward the drive also, give the interior more of a sporty feel, compared with the Sonata that has a generic layout.

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I'm interested in noise. How loud/quiet is it on the highway. Tire hum, tire slap, engine buzz.... and the like.

Its pretty quiet. There isn't really a hum from the engine and tire noise was at a minimum

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How Sporty is the overall feel of the car when you drive it?

Somewhat sporty. The suspension does a good job of keeping car stable when you're having a bit of fun. I'm finding the steering to provide good feel, but its somewhat too heavy. If this was a sports car, I wouldn't mind it at all. This being a family sedan, I think Kia might want to dial it back some.

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Hyundai/Kia styling has come ahead lightyears since the beginning here in the US. They have some good looking products. They seem to have hired some good people in key positions. But I still feel concerned that something might be missing in some areas of engineering. Perhaps it is brand snobbery, but some of the other reviews I've read seem to bear this out. Product development has moved along at a fast clip, but some important details are lacking. It's like uneven but rapid evolution. imo.

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What do you think of this Vs. the Sonata

i much prefer the styling on this car.

I prefer the Optima with Exterior and Interior styling. I can't say which I like better for driving (haven't driven a Sonata), but from a few people I have talked to who have driven both, the Sonata is softer, luxury model. The Optima takes the sporty role.

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What kind of fuel economy are you getting now? Any update on that?

See Update #2 for my highway fuel economy. Average fuel economy is back up to 27.2 MPG

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What do you think of this Vs. the Sonata

i much prefer the styling on this car.

I prefer the Optima with Exterior and Interior styling. I can't say which I like better for driving (haven't driven a Sonata), but from a few people I have talked to who have driven both, the Sonata is softer, luxury model. The Optima takes the sporty role.

What I;ve heard too...and agree.

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