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Kia Optima 2006 and earlier



  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091
    The survey is concerning 3 year old cars. You might not have seen problems after only 1 year. You also have to remember that standards with these surveys are pretty high because consumers also have high standards. If only 15% of owners experience a problem, that is a disaster in a Consumer Reports Survey. Remember that JD Powers is counting EVERY problem. Often one vehicle has more than one problem and many others have none and the model could still be considered a disaster like the Kia is. If I can choose a car that has a 5% chance of having a problem vs. one that has a 15%, I will choose the 5% every time. When you are spending $30K on a vehicle and have so many choices, you can afford to have high standards for reliability.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    I have an Elantra, not an Optima, but don't meet the EPA mileage during the summer when I fill up with oxygenated gas (St. Louis metro). It's amazing just how much mileage goes up when I fill up in a rural area.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    and other high-price makers as far as their image goes but my view is that I want a car to look a certain way. The Korean cars are great looking and yes, get a tad worse gas mileage. You'll fare better in a crash with a Sedona than in a Sienna though. The new '03 Optima is nice looking with the separated front turn signal lamps this year instead of the schmeared-in look of the '01-'02. I liked the intial Optima's too, though. A lot-I almost bought a 2001 but the one I wanted in Pearl White was gone when I got there. Missed it by an hour. I held onto my Sephia(it was running great)and traded for a Sportage almost two years ago. These surveys are showing Hyundai in a better light lately but Kia is still lagging. A closer look will reveal basically nothing in your hassle of owning one, though. That's my point-the survey's are basically similar to a Continuous Quality Improvement meeting at work. Fine for a moment then the impact of them fades like the Chicago Bulls fortunes after Michael Jordan left the squad. Dudes and dudettes-get a Kia if you want a great deal on a handsome vehicle with a generous Warranty.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • rkw2rkw2 Posts: 66
    The quality ratings as reported by JD Powers or Consumer Reports can be misleading and distorted. I recall reading that Mercedes poorer quality was blamed on their SUV and one other car model. But yet, when a company such as KIA receives a poor rating there is no explanation that the brand was tarnished by the Sportage, for example. So when these things come out, I take them with a grain of salt.

    I currently have an Olds Alero where the lease is up next year (2000 with about 42,000miles). I enjoy driving the car a lot -- but if you want to talk about a company cutting corners, using cheap production parts and hoping for planned obsolence ---- GM takes the cake. The alero was introduced in 1999 to take on Camry and Accord. To this day there are problems common to most Aleros -- water leaks, warped brake rotors, cracking head gaskets, vibrating mirrors, heating/ac motors that fail.....the list goes on and on..... I've had all these replaced under warranty....but now that my warrantee is used up,,,I'll live with them until I turn the car in. I actually tried very hard to purchase a Sonata -- but the dealerships in NJ were so unaccomodating that it became a nightmare and I said the heck with it. It looks like I will go for either a Sonata GLS or KIA Optima SE (I like the Kia looks better, but Kia does not offer traction control).
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    "You'll fare better in a crash with a Sedona than in a Sienna though."

    Wheres the evidence on that one?
  • streebsstreebs Posts: 1
    I can't understand the "worst on the market" thing. My friend has had more problems with her Nissan Altima (same year as my Kia) , and I don't think it looks as good. Plus, she paid alot more... My 2002 Optima SEv6, Pearl white, tan leather interior and moon roof is such a beautiful car and I love it! People stop me in parking lots and ask "what kind of car is that?" they love how it looks. The ride is great, comfortable and have had absolutely no problems. With the great looks, excellent warranty and performance, along with super price, it is a great value for the money.
  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091
    Its all about averages. On average, the Kia will have worse reliability than the Nissan. However, you seemed to have gotten one of the few good Kias and your friend got one of the few bad ones. "Few" out of 100's of 1000's that are made will still be a relatively high number in both cases.
  • 45auto45auto Posts: 16
    Whats all this babble about some stupid consumer confidence thing? I have written ya'll several times singing the praises of kia and apologize for not writing sooner. I have a 99 sephia with almost 90k on it and its been wrecked three times and runs like a clock. ALSO my wife has a 2002 optima 4 cyl se pearl white, and all we have done to it is rotate the tires, change the oil, and replace (under warranty) a fog light bulb. Dont forget- when kia overrated their horsepower, they gave extended warranty. My dad worked for GM and would not buy their crap. I am having trouble with gmac mortgage as well. My next car (after the 120,000 power train warranty) runs out will be a Kia. P.S. my wifes car gets stares every where it is parked. Elliott Parrish, Belmont,MS
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    big bro HYUNDAI inadvertently listed their own car's hp ratings too high? I'm pretty sure Kia was not part of that, umm...scandal a while back. But, since they're 51% owned by Hyundai Hyundai may be agreeing that for good PR they'll give the extendo-warranty coverage. Check with your local dealer if this sounds too good to be true. The Long Haul Warranty is already industry-leading regardless of what Jeep and Suzuki keep spewing. They say in their ads that they offer "America's Best Warranty.' What are they smoking? Both of the mileage coverages are lower than Kia's. Go figure, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • in my driveway. After more than 41K trouble-free miles of pleasurable driving I traded in my '01 Optima LX and bought a new '04 Optima EX - the new designator for the previous SE model.

    This seemed noteworthy enough to ask the moderators to re-open this board. I've been happy with my KIAs. I got this '04 straight off the truck. I had to take delivery the next day so I could grab this one that was equipped right, I-4 with leather interior, and the right color, Pearl White.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    Where ya been? So you're on your 2nd Kia now? So am I-I traded my '99 Kia Sephia for a 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 and I continue to be impressed by this very solid little SUV. So did you get 5-speed transmission again? Didn't your old one have a stick?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Initially I had a Spectra but traded it when the Optimas came out. So now I have my second Optima. This one is an automatic, but you are correct, my first had the 5-spd.

    I had too many start-stop freeway trips through Los Angeles and made the 5-spd a pain. I'm glad to see the I-4 now comes with the SportMatic dual-gate shifter. So far I like this transmission.

    Ilu, it is nice to see you and some other familiar names still on this discussion board. I have had very good luck with all my KIAs, actually I think it is more Korean engineering skill than luck though.

    It was a few months back a friend of mine that owns an automated machine shop rode in my Optima. He has been very impressed with what the Koreans are doing presently. He opened the panels of a new Korean milling machine to show me how well it was put together. Then he showed me a similarly new Japanese machine. The difference was amazing. As a tech type I could appreciate what I saw. Those Koreans are really putting out some amazing products.

    Similarly, when I brought my new Optima to work this week a group of folks from the Japanese Defense Force, who are in for their annual testing, were very intently looking over my Optima. I know they were impressed with how many Japanese cars are being driven here in the US, I could see by their expressions when looking over my Korean-built car that they were concerned and probably thinking to themselves, "look out." It's obvious they were impressed with my car, but concerned.

    The new climate control system is a nice feature. I also have an '85 Nissan 300ZX Turbo, too old for my commuting but a great weekend sports car, it has a climate control system but is never as controllable as a manual system. The Optima's allows me much more control over the ducting, fan, and settings, all the control of a manual system plus being automatic.

    Another nice new feature is the automatic dimming rearview mirror. I do most of my commuting during the night hours - if you recall, I drive about 150 miles to the air terminal and home each way once a week and remain at my island workplace for a week at a time - this new dimmer really works great for eliminating glare from headlights in back of me, then returns to a normal setting allowing better visibility when the glaring lights are gone.

    I think this new Optima and I will get along just fine. I'll keep the board updated about any praise or complaints I might have. My '01 Optima was just terrific. This one is even better.
  • Hi,
    I'm buying a Kia optima tomorrow(We could pass on the jokes, thanks)It's a 2002 with 26,000 miles. The only noticeable defects are two or three small dings in the body. Both the inside and body rate at least 9 out of 10. It's the LX model with the V6.. The price I'm paying is $7,999 Which is a down right steal compared with the prices I come up with in my research. I went to and searched through 300 2002 optimas and the cheapest car I could find was posted at $9,995. Most of them were around 11,500. Why is mine so cheap? The dealer has a good reputation and actually has two Optimas to choose from, both identical @ $7,995. I was to pick the car up today but the dealer told me he came across a recall (Something with a crankshaft censor)that must be addressed, so the car is being taken to a Kia dealer to have the part replaced. I'm pretty certain the dealer gets his kias from the parent company who is a kia dealer. I suspect the optimas were either rentals or leases. Anyway I just feel like I'm getting a really good deal .. a little too good at $7995 for a 2002 with 26,000 miles. Any opinions?

    BTW, I am informed as to the pros and cons of kia and made my decision to buy one none the less.

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    I am on my 2nd Kia(a 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4)and love it! The reason you're getting your Optima so cheap is because Kia's have poor resale value. You are getting a good deal, though, so take advantage of it. I have had very good fortune with both of my Kia's and I have a feeling you'll like your Optima, too. Post back with your experiences with it, OK?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    There is an Enterprise rental resale lot a few miles from me. An 02 Sonata was going for $14K, a last-gen 02 Mazda 626 was going for $13K and two Optimas were going for $11K. All had mid twenties for mileage. Sonata was decked out a bit better than the Optima but no big deal. Couldn't believe the pricing difference.

    Enterprise moves all of these cars quite rapidly and as far as I know, no dickering. So-- IMHO you got a real good deal on the Optima.

    These prices were last summer. Rental lot prices tend to cheapen up a great deal in winter so things are probably headed south.
  • I bought a 2003 Optima the first week of October and it's been in the shop since. The second day of ownership the "check engine" light came on. The dealership said it was the oxygen sensor and it had to be ordered. A week later I got the car back. The same day the "check engine" light came back on. "Bad plugs" were replaced. Again the "check engine" light came on as I drove from the repair shop. This time it turned out that the shop had to call Kia to get an idea what was wrong. It turns out the engine block was miscast and the engine had to be replaced. Today I was told the engine has been replaced but there is antifreeze leaking from a gasket which has to be replaced. The dealer's shop doesn't stock the gasket since "the car is new and you don't expect a gasket to go bad" so the part isn't stocked and will have to be ordered from Kia and Kia won't say how long it will be before the part can be delivered. Needless to say, I am disgusted with the wait for this car to be fixed.

    My brother owns the same car and loves his. I bought this one based on his recommendation and the few days I was able to drive it I loved it.

    I have a bad feeling about this particular car and wanted to post this message to alert others to my problems.
  • The Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata are on my list to look at for a new car, which I need to get in the next month or so. I've asked the Hyundai board why I should choose Hyundai over Kia, but I'm all for equal time, so can anyone here please tell me why I should choose Kia over Hyundai? :) I have to admit, right now I prefer the look of the Hyundai to Kia. BTW, I am looking at the Sonata LX cuz I like the leather seats. Is leather available on the Kia? It doesn't seem to be standard on the high-end model. Thanks!
  • uga91uga91 Metro AtlantaPosts: 1,065
    on the Optima. The Optima--as you may know since you are shopping both--is thw same thing as a Sonata. I have been told, but do not know for sure, that the leather seats in the Optima are the seats from the XG350 and not the Sonata. I find that a little hard to believe, but you never know. I would get the one you like from the dealer you like more since they are the same car. You like the looks of the Sonata more, so go for it! Good luck!
  • Thanks for your input! I'll still check them both out, just for the heck of it.
  • Hello everyone.

    Here is my KIA story. I bought a 2001 Optima KIA SE with 89K on it at a public auction in Commerce City Colorado. The intention was to buy it, sell it, and make some money. I won the auction for $4000, which was more than I needed to pay for a used KIA. I drove it about 30 miles, wondering if the timing belt had ever been changed. (Recommend to change it at 60k). Found out the hard way that it had not been when it broke. The dealer replaced the belt and the camshaft positioning sensor and got it back up and running.
    When we got the title, we discovered it had been a repo and was 'ridden hard and put away wet.' A few fuses had blown, the door lock mechanism on the drivers side was worn out, and the antenna was not going up and down. The fuses, door lock, and antenna were pretty easy to fix and inexpensive (under $100). The tow bill and timng belt change was not (about $850).
    Unfortunately, KIA's do not have a high resale value, especially with high miles. I was looking at at least a $1500 loss. I was frustrated cause me and my girlfriend really liked the car! So we decided to keep it.

    Although the car has 89k miles on it, you would never know it. It is smooth, quiet, solid, sound. Put new tires on it and it runs completely straight down the road. No drips in the engine.

    So here is the good and the bad news for KIA optima owners I think: The first Korean Hyundais were horrible. Because of this, resale values are bad. But remember the early 80's when Honda's first became popular? Everyone thought that they were crap as well, and the first generation models did lack. Overtime, whenthe things were still running at 150k miles, they got a reputation for longetivity which increased their resale value. I expect in the future that KIA resale values will go up, as there are more KIAs on the rode with high mileage still running.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    i am excited about the good news with Kia/Hyundai. my mom likes my V6 Accord, but doesn't want to pay Honda $$$. she really likes the Optima and Sonata both. she also drives about 80 miles a day. so, the long warranty would be great for her. after Christmas, she is making up her mind and taking the plunge on one of them. (she REALLY likes the warranty)

    are the Optima and Sonata built at the same plant in Korea? why does Kia still have such low scores reliability wise, while Hyundai has improved?

  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Haven't checked Edmunds yet, but Kiplingers car issue listed a remarkable difference in the two in terms of depreciation. Apparently the Optima is associated with the Spectra and other sub-par cars.

    During the summer I checked three identically used cars on an Enterprise used car lot. If memory serves me right the Sonata was priced at $15K (remarkable for a rental car w. 25K), a Mazda 626 at $14K and two Optimas at $12K. And-- Enterprise doesn't dicker. All models sold quickly.

    My advice-- buy new get a Sonata. Buy used get an Optima.

    The new Spectra replacement looks great and the one year advance on the Elantra re-do should get it some added sales and make Kia a higher regarded mark.
  • The headlights on my '03 Optima suck. On low beam they do not illuminate the proper distance ahead so I am constantly over driving their limits. I had the dealer adjust them, which if you care to notice, is a major task in itself. Apparently the light units are all one unit on each side and have to be adjusted together. Has anyone else noticed this problem? Is there anything that can be done to correct this situation?

    I'm convinced that the first thing to wear out on this car will be the dimmer switch.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Reopening by request ...
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    IMHO the Optimas most recent front end is nicer than the Sonata. Looking forward to seeing the next gen. car.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    very handsome in black, IMO.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I'm looking at getting an Optima and was wondering what everyone's experiences were with the car. I'm also looking at the Mazda 3 and 6. Thanks.
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