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Kia Optima 2006 and earlier



  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I doubt its the new Edmunds format. The Optima, like all Kias save the Sedona and possibly the upcoming Sorento, warrants very little consideration. I'd much rather have the Sonata- its more attractive, or anything else in its class- or even a loaded Civic or Corolla. Just as I dont understand choosing a Spectra over an Elantra, I dont understand choosing an Optima over a Sonata, or choosing a Sportage over a Santa Fe. If you need inexpensive and you need the warranty, theres no reason NOT to go with Hyundai, which feature better styling, and an upgraded reputation as of late.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    the 01 Optimas had 70 series tires and actually cost more than a Sonata. That's been rectified for 02. Same car--like a Chrysler Sebring v. a Dodge Stratus. Would understand if it was Elantra v. Spectra.

    Also don't understand the popularity of the Sedona... looks like a Windstar to me. Of course I'm (thankfully) out of the van market.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    It sometimes makes sense to get the Optima over the Sonata. A few months ago they had a huge rebate on the Optima, but no rebate at all on the Sonata. I believe the rebate was $2000, which makes a huge difference, and you end up with the same car mechanically. Plus, you can actually find Optima four cylinder models with manual trannys, whereas the Sonata is impossible to find in that combo. I require a manual tranny, so the better availability of the Optima would sway me towards it even though the Sonata now looks better (although both are very attractive). So there are reasons to choose the Optima over the Sonata.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    But those reasons arent good enough for me personally. If it really comes down to price, you can get a Civic or Corolla with manual trans and a decent amount of equipment at the same price point (15-16K). If you want a slightly larger car with substantial discounts and a manual, then look to the 626. How does the Optima sell, anyway? Obviously it doesnt without discounts....
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    No comparison to the Civic or Corolla. Both are quite a bit smaller and less well equipped. I would never cross shop those cars with the Optima. With that rebate, I could have got a fully equipped SE model for the same price as a Civic LX. The 626 is a pitiful underpowered car in 4 cylinder form. The V6 is nicer but its still an outdated design about to be replaced. Its resale is not much better then the Kia either due to the high saturation in the rental car world. I think the Optima has its place in the market, albeit a small one.
  • jeepster4jeepster4 Posts: 53
    Someone likes the Optima..they are essentially sold out in the USA. Dealers are waiting for the 2003.
  • kwag5kwag5 Posts: 1
    I have an 01 kia optima bought it in 12/01 with 7 miles on now has 18,500miles on it, I am running into some shift problems with it the Kia dealer keeps telling me all is ok, the car does not always seem to want to shift between gears and the rpm's will get way up there......also I have picked up a sporadic power loss from a stand it starves for fuel and then goes...

    Any ideas???
  • jimbeaumijimbeaumi Posts: 620
    Go to the Hyundai Sonata threads. Some have had similar problems that I believe were corrected at dealer with computer reprogramming.
  • I bought a leftover 2001 Optima in January this now has 6,000 miles on it. It is my first real "new" car and I love it! What a fabulous price...I originally planned to buy a Sonata, but saw thie Optima for $3000 less...and they were essentially the same car! I will report that I have had one minor problem, something the dealer called "noisy brakes." I was told that this is common problem with this year and model car.....has anyone else experienced this?
  • I have a 01 Optima with 23k mileage. My car does the same thing as you described, to a point. When I first start it and take off it will be sluggish. I've notice when I wait an idle for a min, which is probably best, then it doesn't do that as bad. Or if you are taking off with the A/C on then it will do it. Turn off the AC b4 u take off.

    I have NOT experienced the power loss at a stand still issue that you mentioned. So, that is not a normal deal.
    When you are going about 60ish mph and excelerate to pass (uphill) then I get the sluggish response with high rpm. I believe that is typical of the 4 banger. Other then that the car runs great and easily cruises at 80mph on highway. NO speed limit comments please.. :)
    I love this car. I use it for my 130 mile round trip commute to work each day.

    So far only two maint.. issue. A senor went out and caused the check engine light to come on at the 6000 mile point. Senor was changed and no further problem. The other problem was the gas gauge was reading improperly. A quick trip to the dealer solved that problem with a new sending unit.
  • wenbwenb Posts: 45
    I test drove an optima for a good distance.It was the V6 model.I was very impressed.As far as quality goes,It is a totaly modern design and seems solid.I belive Kia will continue to raise the quality bar with esach model. If comparing Kias I think the 4 cly Optima would be a much better car than a Spectra with full options. Of all the Kia's the Spectra is one of the older designs. Drive an Optima and see how nice they feel
  • You may be right about value, but the Spectra was new this year. The Optima gets a little freshening for 2003, though.
  • xcmdxxcmdx Posts: 17
    KIA notified me yesterday by mail that due to a supplier "boo-boo", the engine placed in my Optima SE V6 does not make 178hp - as reported on widely but instead 170hp.

    To their credit as a sign of goodwill, KIA has offered to extend the already long warranty for free. Personally I'd rather have the 8hp extra hp I thought I'd bought and keep the standard factory warranty.

    Other than this, after 6 months and 10k miles I still like the car and am happy with the purchase. Some minor squeeks have appeared, and other little oddities. But they'll get fixed next time I go in for a scheduled maintenance.

    My only regret is not knowing about the Sorento when I bought the Optima. I would have waited...
  • boredbored Posts: 300
    "Hey - I want my 8 horsepower!"

    Did the car lose performance when you heard about the horsepower dropped? If it still performs the same, then forget about it. Go find an K&N Filter.

    This makes me wonder, does our Sportage make 130 horses? Is it more like 124? I would love to dyno the thing, with the A/C off and On, just to see what it can do. The same engine that Mazda uses makes 170. WHAT'S WRONG HERE? EMISSIONS CAN'T BE BLAMED FOR THIS!
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,929
    have to figure in the weight of the little SUV and the tranny gearing being different than the Mazda setup. Which Mazda vehicle are you referring to? The old 323? Or you're not talking about performance on the road but just hp hooked up on the dyno. The hp given in the brochures and tech. write-ups is 130 like you mentioned but being a Sportage owner I'll go so as far as to say that there's definitely *no more* than 130 horses generated by that engine. Makes me want to dyno, too. As far as Optima's true hp I think you have enough power there to propel the handsome sedan around as it is even if you've got 8hp less than you thought you did.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    The 170 horses you are referring to comes from the addition of a turbocharger, something the Sportage does not have. That engine isn't exactly the same as yours either.
  • xcmdxxcmdx Posts: 17
    I saw in a recent Autoweek magazine that Hyundai sent out a notice that they'd been overstating horsepower for several years... Their claim is that they did not have "an established procedure to verify that preliminary horsepower figures matched actual horsepower". You can go to "" to learn more...

    How common is this in the auto industry? I can't help but think that I paid for 178 hp and hot only 170. Therefore I believe I was overcharged...

    I wonder... Kia has this incredible warranty... Next time I bring it in for a check-up I'll state my engine has lost horsepower (8 of them), and request that they repair it. :^)

    I like KIA, don't get me wrong. But it wouldn't surprise me if US lawyers will jump all over this and bring forward a class action suit. I'd hate to see KIA (or Hyundai) brought down for this.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    "You may be right about value, but the Spectra was new this year. The Optima gets a little freshening for 2003, though"

    The Spectra sedan is simply a refreshened Sephia.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,929
    this lady survived what could have been a very terrible outcome in her Kia Optima.


    The article mentions Kia but leaves out that it was an Optima. :;D

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • boredbored Posts: 300
    The engine that I mentioned, the Mazda FE3 engine, made 170 ish Horsepower Normally Aspirated, or Non-Turbo, with no modifications. Maybe the Kia designed head had some influence in the drop in Horsepower.

    Well, um, there are LOADS of stories about people surviving in freak accidents in their Kias. The first one I heard was someone losing control, and her Sportage rolling over or something, and she went back and bought another one. Next, was a person on Edmunds, who fell asleep at the wheel, and traveled off-road, and drove his Sportage home, with the roof crushed in. Or something like that.

    The reason why the Korean vehicles tend to be heavier, is that their main focus is underpinnings. They try their hardest to make the structure so strong, that they make the vehicle overweight.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Just curious, what Mazda carried this FE3 engine? Mazda has not had any non-turbo four cylinders with that much horsepower. And I do mean none. The only engines that ever made good power had a turbocharger on them. The most famous being the turbo four on the 89-92 626, MX6 and Probe. It was rated at 145hp but really made somewhere around 180. All other Mazda 4 banger engines made either 120, 122, 125, 130, or 140.
  • xcmdxxcmdx Posts: 17
    That poor Optima is really messed up. I wonder if KIA will fix it under their bumper-to-bumper warranty? Assuming they can find the bumpers...
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,929
    be totalled and they'll have to figure out what her restitution will be. Good car insurance question for the car insurance legal beagles. Kia should just give her another Optima for good public relations, eh? Think about that for a split millisecond! Side point...did you know that Kia had a bunch of assistance from Ford Motors in designing the ladder frame of the Sportage? Built Kia tough, man!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • xcmdxxcmdx Posts: 17
    It is a sweet machine. I predict a homerun for KIA. Indeed, wish I'd waited and bought one. Not that I'm not happy with my Optima - but the styling inside and out on the Sorento is beautifully done. One of the best looking dashboards I've seen in an SUV. Good job KIA!
  • boredbored Posts: 300
    where I read this from. It's been so long, that I forgot. When we first got the Sportage, I wanted to find out as much info as I could about it, including unnecessary info.

    Well, it may have been a typo, but I know what I read. Maybe the author didn't include the word "turbocharger".

    Meanwhile, this new Hyundai engine is supposed to take to a Turbo like a duck takes to water. Will Hyundai take advantage of this capability?

    DOHC Head
    Variable Valve Timing

    Sounds sweet to me. Will something like this make it into a special "sport" version of the Optima?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,929
    new Optima coming to America that we could just call Opti-Regal? Come on, Kia, send us information about the new Regal. At least drop a hint about it's name for the U.S.! Maybe it's not named yet. A DOHC VVT Turbo-charged Regal for America? Sweet!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • boredbored Posts: 300
    "new Optima coming to America that we could just call Opti-Regal"

    It's just a facelift, get over it! If it even comes!

    The Optima was a failure from the start. They need something to jazz it up, and only a facelift just won't do it if it still looks like the original Sonata, which I believe was its aim.
  • xcmdxxcmdx Posts: 17
    What's your proof of this? My understanding was that KIA never planned on sell tons of these cars, something like 30K a year. Judging from the KIA dealer lots around here that are void of any or many Optimas - I presume they're selling! Plus I have yet to meet an unhappy Optima owner, so how can that be a failure?
  • 45auto45auto Posts: 16
    Xcmdx. You are right to say that you have never met an unhappy optima owner. add me to your list. As previously stated I can critize kia as I own a 99 sephia with 77000 miles on it. I just had my third accident in this car, and it refuses to roll over and play dead!! First a deer, then a dog, and 2 ederly ladies pulled out in front of me. My 02 optima is a way better car than my sephia. On my last 2 road trips I got 30 and 31 mpgs. my car is pearl white with auto and 4 cyl. Every time I stop somewhere People gauk over it. Yes, A kia. 6000 miles+ no problems what so ever. Don't waste your money on any other car, Buy the KIA. Hello from Belmont Mississippi.
  • boredbored Posts: 300
    KMA said it themselves that the Optima had not done as well as they had hoped. I wish I knew there that Press Release was, I'd give you the link...
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