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Kia Optima 2006 and earlier



  • I like my care, it is the imperial blue color with sport visors and acrylic hood guard. It's really nice for the money and if it only had 225+ HP it would be perfect. I look at the competition and can't help but notice that their 4-cylinders nearly match the V6 in HP! That's a shame and even though I opted for the Optima, I can wish can't I. I hope to see what is in store, I like the body style now and even the previous generation looked nice. I hear that a Euro-looking body styling cue is up ahead, the 170 HP should be tossed and upgraded with maybe a 240-250 HP V6, even a 200 HP 4-cylinder wouldn't be bad if KIA can make'em. Other than the HP I am extremely happy with my car. I plan on taking it on a 3,000 mile round trip vacation in a week and can't wait to see what this car is truly made of. I've owned an '82 Chevy Citation, an '88 Toyota Corolla, a '98 Olds Achieva and an '03 Chevy Cavalier. I think the Optima is hands-down the best so far! Happy driving!
  • reebiereebie Posts: 1
    Hello everyone. I have just been reading the posts about the 2001 Kia Optima SE V6. I just bought one used, 32,000 miles on it. In very good condition. I had never really paid attention to the Kia's before so I had no preconceived notions. It has all the bells and whistles that I like in it, and the car looks great. It's not the pearl white, just regular white....and I bought it anyway. I don't even like white for a car.
    I really like the Hyundai Sonata 2005 and was tickled when my fiance told me that the Sonata and Optima are very similar. I guess you get what you ask for. I have been saying when I buy a NEW car I want the Sonata, just not now. Planning a wedding and conserving money. But to actually get a "like Sonata" at a great price was great. I'm hearing little things about Kia now, but I don't care. I love my 2001 Optima and will drive very happily in it. No matter that it doesn't go very fast. I don't want to ruin my perfect driving record with a speeding ticket anyway. :)
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    less than a Sonata. The depreciation works to your advantage in this case, you probably got a good deal. Frankly I like the looks of the new Optimas better. I think yours has the egg crate grill, followed by the Hannibal Lechter look. The new one is cleaner IMHO. Still an '01 Optima should be a very good buy. Some features such as trunk hinges were not on the Sonata until the following year.
  • I found this forum this morning; most posts and best discussions!

    I own a '04 Optima, black, all options but for the rear spoiler. I drove the car around 300 miles per day until last month. The comments that this car gets are outlandish to say the least. I was even stopped by a high schooler who just drooled over it.

    My current impressions of the vehicle are the same as when I test drove it. Great styling, excellent fit and finish, interior very comfortable, sound system outstanding. After 15k miles, no rattles or squeaks. Anyone who is in the market for a new or used car would do well to consider the Optima. There are few enough of them on the road that most people have no idea what it is,especially since I've pretty much de-badged it. Average fuel mileage is 20, but I'm a performance driver so I'm happy with it.

    Thus far, I've had no problems whatsoever. Performance wise, the vehicle is amazing for the price. The power and torque of the drivetrain I would rate as very good, save the occasional annoying extra upshift when using the sport shifter at full throttle. This can be a real drag when racing. I solved this by letting off the throttle during the shifts. Top speed driven thus far is 140 mph; body float starts around 120 or so - if you're going to drive that fast, consider upgrading the suspension and using an air dam.

    The mods I've done thus far are a CAI, replaced the grill emblem with a EVOfusion emblem and removed all the chrome emblems from the trunk lid, replaced the trunk emblem with the Korean version. Wheel centercaps are blacked out and brake calipers are red. I'll have a laptop ECU interface shortly and will be putting on the Zefiro front bumper later this summer as well as the Next Generation dual exhaust.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Welcome to our Forums!! :)
  • trol1374trol1374 Posts: 7
    I own an 01 Kia Optima 2.4L. I have a round trip commute to work of 125 miles. I now have 109,000 miles. I do regular oil changes around 4k. Did the other fluid changes as needed. Problems since buying: oxygen sensor at 2000 miles replaced at no charge. Passenger door window cable (auto) broke at 90k miles, replaced it myself for $30.00. Just now got the check engine light come on, I suspect the sensor went out again. I'm taking it in to get the timing belt changed. First change, and yes, I know I pushed my luck waiting this long. I always heard that doing "highway miles" is 2 to 1 compared to city driving.

    I am still getting about 30 mpg

    All said and done, my kia is still going strong (knocking on wood). I just wanted to leave a good note so people don't always see "negative" post.
  • trol1374trol1374 Posts: 7
    Could someone with the 01 optima or 02? 2.4 L engine, Auto give me their RPM numbers. Like, what is the rpm at 60mph and 70mph and 75.

    got my car back from dealer after getting timing belt changed. They said the ck eng light was due to dirty egr valve and dirty injectors. They cleaned that and my wallet for the repairs. I drive off down the highway and the rpm's seem a little higher then normal. Few miles later "wham" ck engine light comes on and car is doing like 3k rpm 60. Back to dealer and said it was a speed sensor that went out. They replaced it at no charge, in about 30 minutes.

    Off I go again. Seems the rpm's are running a little high. I can't seem to remember the actual numbers from before. Now it is doing about 2900 at 70mph. That right?
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,915
    if your check engine light stays on (sometimes they'll cycle themselves off) go into your dealer and tell them about it. It'll give them a code to read and they can find out what's wrong. If you're under warranty they'll fix it. Don't freak out about the CEL's. They're there to point out the problem. Yours may cycle itself off, drive around a bit and it might very well just cycle itself off and you'll be fine.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • zimerzimer Posts: 1
    Hello everyone,
    I just found this forum and I am sooo happy. Well, let me tell you my situation. I have a 2001 Kia Optima with 9000 miles on it. nope thats not a type O, Here is how. About 3 weeks ago, I was driving on the express way when all of a sudden something poped and my car just died. When I went to start it, the belt would spin but the engine didn't turn. Thats right folks, the timing belt snapped. So I took it to the dealership and they said that it would be about $2000.00 to fix all the bent pistons and heads and since my car had 64,000 miles on it, that $2000.00 was coming out of my pocket. So I was thinking and figured I call my regular mechanic and see what he thought. He called me back about an hour later and said that he could get a 2003 optima engine and install it for $2200.00. Sure I don't need to tell you what I choose to do. So, long story short, with a new clutch I paid $2400.00.
    Now for the reason I'm posting. Since I have no warrenty now, I'm want to trick it out. I want to get a body kit for it and a supercharger or turbo for it but the only problem is I'm having a little trouble finding these things. I noticed that Beemerwacker said that he'll be putting on a zefiro front bumper and a next gen dual exhaust. Just wondering if you (beemerwacker) or anyone for that matter could point me in the right direction of finding these add on's. expecially the body kit. Thanks.
  • trol1374trol1374 Posts: 7

    Can you look at my post a few up about the RPM's and tell me your RPM numbers at 70 mph?

  • elast_girlelast_girl Posts: 1
    try this website, I beleive its canadian, but maybe they have US affiliates
  • nburkenburke Posts: 1
    i have lots of regrets now. don't buy one. you will spendmore money in the long run fixing it.
  • jcvesqjcvesq Posts: 2
    When will it hit dealers and is it based upon the Hyundai Sonata?
  • nismokidnismokid Posts: 7
    I gathered all this info from random forums and press releases from Kia themselves. The all-new Optima should hit NA showrooms this December. It will make its official debut at the Franfurt autoshow then later at the Miami autoshow in the US. It will share platforms with the recently released 2006 Sonata but they will not be rebadges or share as much as they do now. The Optima will be slight smaller than the Sonata and they even have more unique interiors this time around. The Optima will get the new 160hp 2.4l 4cyl found in the new Sonata but rumours are that it won't get the new 3.3l V6, instead it might get a revised 2.7l V6 with VVT producing about 200hp. Kia is aiming more at the youth than Hyundai so expect something in the lines of the Mazda6 and Nissan Altima when it comes to the character of the vehicle. It seems the Sonata was mainly developed with the US market in mind while the Optima was developed more with the Europe market in mind. Spy pics are extremely hard to find for this vehicle and often are confused with the next Elantra(know one seems to know what either will really look like). I've seen some where the shape of the greenhouse(side-windows,etc) was similar to the Acura TSX and the last gen Galant. If anyone can find any post links here... ;)
  • daddyedaddye Posts: 7
    I posted here in 2003 when the car had $89K on it. It now has 119,500

    Since then I have had to replace:

    - both power window regulators: $27.00 per door.
    - serpentine and alternator belts (at 118,000 $35)
    - fusable link (at 92,000K -- $5)
    - take it to the shop when the check engine light came on: (at 118,000K -- $200 -- turned
    out the battery terminal had corroded affecting the voltage and confusing the computer
    into thinking there was a problem with the air bags and the engine
    - replaced the spark plugs (118K these were worn down -- $6)
    - addressed a corrosion issue on the 'spark plug springs' that act as spark plug wires for
    two of the four cylinders (when I replaced spark plugs)
    - replace air filter ($12)
    - replace CV boot ($30) Unfortunately I should have changed the Axle nut when I did this . I didn't and there was never enough torque when I retightened the old one and the
    wheel bearing went out--can't blame that on the car (blame it on the mechanic: me)
    another $50 for the wheel bearing (and axle nut :) )
    - We took it camping up some dirt roads and hit a large rock that bent the rear right lower
    control arm. I litterally hammered this back into shape, put it back on, had the car
    realigned and the shop said it was fine.
    - I probably need to have the brake rotors turned, but have been too lazy to do it.

    In my opinion, that is not a lot of work for a car to have done during its 90K to 120K mileage range. The car is still very quiet and solid to drive. No rattles, although I believe a slight squeak has developed between the dash board and the windshield.

    It has been so reliable and felt so solid even with high mileage that we went out a bought a brand new 2005 KIA Sportage.

  • anravelanravel Posts: 2
    HELP! It appears at 68K miles my car stopped as a timing belt broke. The belt was replaced but my mechanic is still getting no compression from the engine. Today he will start checking each valve---

    How much could this potentially cost? This is purely a commuter car 130 miles daily. The purpose of buying this car!

    I've never had a timing belt break like this and know the damage could be bad I just don't want to dump $1500 now & find out that my wallet will continue to be sucked dry..

    Need help fast.

    A woman w/no car sense :) :sick:
  • mike_belknapmike_belknap Posts: 378
    Here are the most recent spy shots (if anyone wants more, just let me know and I'll post them):

    Exterior - rear 3/4
    5-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels

  • nismokidnismokid Posts: 7
    looking good...

    Post more if you can, please.... ;)
  • mike_belknapmike_belknap Posts: 378
    Most of these are rather old (the earliest are from last Fall), but since I don't know what you all have seen, here goes:








    Photo8 (Interior)

    Photo9 (High res - may take time to load)

    Photo10 (High res - may take time to load)

    Photo11 (High res - may take time to load)




    Am I missing any...? Note that the majority of these images were originally missidentified as the new Hyundai Elantra (due next Spring as an '07 model).

  • nismokidnismokid Posts: 7
    Thanks, I've seen most of those. Atleast we know that its the Optima now. Mike, do you also post in carspyshots? My name is Nismo over there....

    They changed the interior alot over the testing time. Looks way better now. I can't wait to see official pics and autoshow pics.

    In some of the pics you can see the Sonata near it to compare. They're pretty different this time around, thought the rear did look similar when they had the same color arrangement.
  • mike_belknapmike_belknap Posts: 378
    Yeah, I figured you were Nismo. ;) I'm "Miyka'el" on CarSpyShots. Not that we're encouraging anyone on this board to go over there, as it would be against this forum's rules to do that.... :P

    "They changed the interior alot over the testing time. Looks way better now. I can't wait to see official pics and autoshow pics."

    Totally. It will be here before we know it! Well, maybe not literally....

  • mike_belknapmike_belknap Posts: 378
    Two additional images:


    Linking directly to photos from this source website will not show up on some systems, so click here if the above links don't work for you.

  • sjbaileysjbailey Posts: 1
    I have the feeling you are being duped by your mechanic.

    The timing belt breaking could have damaged some other components, although rear in the newer vehicles like yours:
    1. Bent some valves from hitting the piston head
    2. Broke a piston head from a valve
    3. Both 1 and 2 can be ruled out if the engine cranked over without making clanking noises.

    Having the timing belt replaced requires the belt installed correctly by a well qualified, certified technician.
    1. Timing marks not correctly aligned can result in valves not fully seated. Thus, you will have little to no compression. Sometimes valves are still open for certain cylinders for the timing marks to align correctly--not all technicians are aware of this.

    Best price is the dealer or a well known repair garage with good credentials.
    1. You have already spent $1,500 more than you should have because a belt breaking requires a full engine inspection prior to charging the owner.
    2. You should have been informed about all the damages and received them in writing, if any, before the repairs were performed.
    3. In general, do not substitute the certified technician to save money.
    4. It's always better to call a couple of garages for price comparisons before a repair commitment.

    Possibly seek legal assistant on the grounds of fraudulent repairs performed on your vehicle.
  • Lol... Cool to see you over here, though I'm over at the other site almost everyday. I've heard the new Optima might make its US debut at the Miami Autoshow like the first Optima and new Sportage so I might go since I live in South Florida. ;)

    This car is definately flying under the radar... after seeing how nice the new Sonata is I wanted to know what was in store for the Optima. Can't wait to see less camoed pics and get more info/specs since the V6 for this isn't confirmed yet. :confuse:
  • Miami Auto Show -- that's in November isn't it? It would definitely be cool if you got to see it in person. If it all pans out, you'll have to take some photos for us!

  • October, I believe. I could be wrong though... I can't wait! Its a rumuor but Kia has done it before and it will go onsale this fall in the US and the Miami Autoshow is one of the biggest in the fall for us.

    I was just comparing the rear of the new Sonata to some of the Optima spy pics and them changing the tails to almost all red makes it look "that" much different from the Sonata that they don't even look alike to me anymore, but I don't know why they decided to even make the rears look so similar from the begining. Its not like they share rear ends to save money, the Optima's rear is shorter and higher so they could have went with a totally different style from the get go. Anyways, hate to rant. This will be a surprise for alot of people.
  • You all ready for this? It looks like a three-way mating between an Infiniti Q45, a Saab 9-3, and a Hyundai Sonata:

    Front 3/4
    Rear 3/4
    Side profile


  • serge79serge79 Posts: 10
    It looks awesome. Even better than the good looking Sonata. Oh! This model won't make the Accord look any better! Wow. Honda is no leader in design no more, their style is one of the most bland and awkward on the market. I used to love Hondas, but lately their models are... yurk. The Accord is so oddly shaped.
  • spectramanspectraman Posts: 255
    1. I know that this is nit-picky, BUT..... take a good look at the way the window border on the upper right of the rear door is integrated into the angled/rounded roof molding. The molding/flat black area is a nice curved shape, BUT the door line is a straight up-and-down gap that doesn't match the flow of the molding. I consider this a noticeable short-cut. Check it out below just up and to the right of the rear door handle:



    2. As much as I've read about the Optima being smaller than the new Sonata, I don't see it. Without having the actual dimension specs in front of me, compare the above picture of a new Sonata to the new Optima. Every angle and hard point in each car look pretty darn close. The sheet metal on both cars IS unique, which is good. But the overall size of the cars look very close.

    3. I like the styling of the new Optima. I don't see any glaring faux paus. It looks a bit too much like a Malibu from the direct side shot for my tastes, but even then it omits the many creases and boo boos of that car.

    If Hyuan-KIA has engineered the quality of my Spectra EX into this car, along with a decent powertrain AND they keep the prices down, I think they have another "weiner" on their hands!!!


    My 1-year old, 12k+ miles, 99.99% defect free 2004.5 Spectra EX ...
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