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Kia Optima 2006 and earlier



  • From a story in Autoweek about the Chicago auto show:

    A sporting variation of Kia's recently introduced four-door Optima sedan, the SE-L concept gets a 2.7-liter, dohc 181-hp V6, a modified version of the 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine in production Optimas. (The base Optima offers a 2.4-liter 149-horsepower four-cylinder.) The larger-displacement V6 is destined for production in 2002-model-year Optimas. Sportier transmission shift points, suspension and tires also appear on SE-L.


    (link should be on 1 line.)

  • giowagiowa Posts: 599
    If they build it, which they most certainly should, it will fix one of the big weaknesses of the platform: no sport sedan model. Now if they would just ensure the 2.7L V-6 can be ordered with a 5-speed manual!
  • giowagiowa Posts: 599
    Bloomberg News reporting that "Kia raised US starting prices on four of its models by as much as 4.6 percent this month after its sales in [USA] rose 19 percent last year."
  • serpentkiserpentki Posts: 20
    I recently purchased an Optima base LX I-4 5-spd. I am sincerely happy with my purchase. This is my second KIA.

    This car has been a head-turner. Expect to get comments and questions everyday from onlookers. The styling truly is beautiful. I understand now why KIA includes a first-aid kit with your Optima, people fall over when you tell them what you paid for the car.

    My car is smooth running, quiet, and very comfortable. Weekly I drive 150 miles each way from California's High Desert to the coast and back. Not an exceptionally long trip, it is just long enough to appreciate some comfort, and the seats have plenty of adjustment.

    At home I spend a lot of time looking out the window admiring my car. They really are gorgeous.

    So far I have no complaints. Everything works as it should, there are no mysterious noises, and no indicators that something may go amiss. I feel it really is well built and much thoughtful planning has gone into these vehicles.

    I will keep this board apprised of any idiosyncracies that may pop up over time.

    KIA is still building a name for themselves and keeping purchase costs down. This may change as the name becomes better recognized. They are well-built cars and have better name recognition in other parts of the globe. I expect resale values will go up as KIA demonstrates a reliable track-record in the US. For now, get them while they're hot.
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    I cannot find a single one in local dealerships in Wash., D.C. area. I have read of sales in Calif., etc. but not here on the East. Does anyone know?
  • astrol
    There are a few optima LX at Criswell KIA in Annapolis, MD. Was there sunday...all four bangers as I recall. I'm looking to try an Se/6 with the shiftronic
  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    that has a nice review on the Optima. Apparently this is quite a car for the money, and leaves behind some of the old stereotypes of korean cars. Further Japan has left quite an opening in the market for 'value' cars, and the Optima is apparently quite promising as competition for the Japanese on design features.

    Hyundai is getting serious.

    I will curious to see how you like your cars after 6 months or a year; please keep us posted.
    Hyndai has certainly gotten the design part figured out. If the quality is there to go with it, the Optima is going to be quite a winner.
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    Thanks for the info! I would like to check out the V-6 as well. My wife has a '00 Sonata GLS fully optioned...fabulous car. The build platform is well designed and the drivetrain is very smooth and refined. The Optima should do well with this running gear. I would get another for myself but she got the color I wanted...seems silly to have two.

    It turns out there is a dealer very close to me at another Criswell in Gaithersburg. He used to sell KIA out of the Chevy, Lotus, etc. site but appears to have moved KIA to a separate site here in G' least that's what it says in the directory. I'll give them a look-see tomorrow.
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    Didn't get to Criswell but was in the area of Ellicott City off Rte 40 at Antwerpen Kia, Hyundai, etc. Poured buckets, today, as you know so I didn't do much more than grab some literature
    and a sales card...guys' name is Richartd Hartzell. He said they have two V-6's, a White and a Black, two more that are being driven by the staff but are available with low miles, and lots of I4s. I didn't get to see if any was an SE. You might want to give a call at 410 747-3333.
  • greetings
    I think I screwed this up the first time and it didnt post....Thanks for the info. glad to see I was not the only fool out in the rain checking cars. unable to pass hyundai, kia or acura without inventory check and putting hands on the metal. Wife thinks I have a serious problem. Kia/Hyundai have released cvt sonata/optima in Korea. Neat thing is cvt trans with additional 6 speed shiftronic thrown in. Hope it gets here. Previous message either lost or in some other group by mistake...if my employer only knew what Im really doing at my computer
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,876
    Same here. The other day I was writing up one of these posts and my wife walked up. She stared at me typing and got the cutest quizzical look on her face. "I don't get it. What is the big deal with cars?". I think I'm getting worse, too. Printing out Kia and Hyundai reviews on the Optima and also Hyundai's new Santa Fe. I bring them in to work and blab on! Some interest has truly been shown about the Santa Fe and fuel cell powerplants. My workmate and I agreed that for the environment this idea is vantastic! It's going to be really interesting to see how it all works out and Hyundai's initial price for it. Also bugs worked out in time, etc....etc. Back to the Optima. Base price with the I4 DOHC 149hp 2.4L with the 5-speed also has all the options I would want like power steering, power locks, windows, AM/FM cassette w/6 speaker surround sound and door-mounted (separate) tweeters. I can't think of anything else I'd need Kia to throw in for that price. Looking for Optima feedback from those who've already bought. The Sephia's running like a champ so I'm in no rush. Really. ;)) :D :))

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I have had an Optima LX V-6 for two months now and love it. I've had Ford, Chevy, Toyota and many other cars and all have been pretty much the same in quality. Some good and some bad (the Toyota and Chevy had the most time in the shop). So this time I just wanted something different than the same old thing on the road.

    After two months and 2000 miles, it's running perfect. I've noticed nobody really knows what kind of car it is, they have to ask. They give me strange looks when I tell them it's a Kia.

    As far as all the comparison to Honda and others, who cares. All cars fall apart eventually, they all end up worth very little compared to what you payed, so just get what you like.
  • netranger4netranger4 Posts: 149
    Today, I popped into my friends' Kia dealership for a test drive in an Optima. The one I took out was an LX 4 with automatic. I couldn't believe how smooth the car rode over our Midwestern potholed roads. Being very short, the visibility to the rear is a little bothersome, but since I have gotten used to using mirrors to drive everything for the last umpteen years so it really wasn't a deterrent to owning one. However, the Sephia really fits me better. Am waiting for the rumored Sephia II. Slightly more modern styling and a supposedly larger engine...if one can believe what they're told. Supposed to be in May but who knows?
  • netranger4netranger4 Posts: 149
    AutoWorld just reviewed the Optima SE V6 and gave it an excellent review. This mag comes out every two weeks and usually has a Kia/Hyundai/Daewoo review of preview of one of the Korean cars. Hope you find it interesting.
  • serpentkiserpentki Posts: 20
    I posted this initially to the 'Optima vs Accord' board mistakenly. I duplicate here for benefit of this discussion:

    Almost a month and about 1850 miles on my Optima LX I-4 5-spd now and I love it. I still have a lot of people asking me about the car, ("What kind is it? Really!? I'm going to check out the dealer.")

    Very quiet on the road, it has good sound-dampening, smooth ride, and great handling. I can't complain about performance. The power-curve is on the upper end of the tach, just where I need it for passing on the mountainous California high-desert highways. It is common to drop to third gear when overtaking a vehicle moving under 60. For max acceleration getting onto the freeway I might take 2nd gear up to 5 grand or so, about 50 mph, before grabbing third on the on-ramp. This car loves the revs.

    I visited the KIA dealership service dept close to my home (not where I bought the car, BTW). My power mirrors were not adjusting, and rubber around one corner of the driver's side window was poorly cut and lets a bit of noise through, something I didn't notice the first week or so.

    For the mirror problem they found I had blown a fuse with a light I plugged into my cigarette lighter. They replaced the fuse and suggested I use only the auxiliary power outlet down on the console for my light. A new rubber piece has been ordered which warranty will take car of.

    The KIA service guys also gave it a close inspection and found a minor power steering fluid leak that they will replace the PS pump when they replace the rubber. We agreed in order to expedite time to wait for this repair as the leak was minor and no fluid needed to top it off.

    The service dept also told me they are replacing the cam cover and/or something related (not sure exactly), and asked if KIA had notified me of the campaign (not yet as I've had the car less than a month). They suggested they would perform that mod too when I brought the car back for the other service.

    I left there with a confident feeling the service department was interested in my satisfaction and performing quality work. Would this much work be considered excessive for new-car adjustment?

    Serpent Ki
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    Did you get your AutoWorld off the stand or have it delivered? What is the issue date, if you please?

    Lately, the mag has dried up in my area newsstands. The only thing I am able to find is the Spring Used Car review. This kind of stuff drives me crazy. I mean, you shouldn't have to subscribe to everything you might want to read.
  • netranger4netranger4 Posts: 149
    Astrol, lent my copy to a friend. Will call and ask him about the dating. Back at you as soon as possible. Am going out of town today.
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    there is a dealer for Kia/Isuzu in Tyson's Corner VA on Rt 7, just FYI.
  • astrol
    try a safeway if you have one in the area. Over here in Crofton its the only place Ive seen them
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    Thanks. I already located the AutoWorld bins at my Safeway but only the Used Car Special Issue. They don't even put it with the other mags. Just in the checkout lines. It used to be I could walk into any 7-11 and get slapped in the face with it at checkout. Giant, you name it, it was everywhere. Now it's hard to find. I just don't get it.
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    I found it. Apr. 10 issue. Thanks everybody for the help.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,876
    I just wanted to comment on how well-behaved this particular Kia Optima forum is. Really, go back 20 posts and you'll see what I mean. People who've bought Optima are generally pleased with them. Very pleased. That's what I want to see, I'm considering one after my Sephia. If you put the Optima up against Honda and another car in a forum you get more chaos. Humm? Anybody else enjoy the new Kia commercial as much as I did? A bunch of dressed up people standing next to an Optima at some big event. One of the guys looks at another and says "Isn't that your car, Dave(or whatever his name is)?" The guy pauses just a slight second then slowly gets a smile and says "Yes, that is my car" in a proud way reminiscent of the Optima owners in this forum. Supposed to give you the impression that it's a much more expensive car. I like the way they styled it regardless of it's perceived value. Agree, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • kia99kia99 Posts: 1
    I currently own a '99 Kia Sephia that I purchased new and have been very satisfied with it's performance and longevity. I am a high mileage driver and look for the best value plus economy. I am now thinking of moving up to the Optima, but would appreciate some honest feedback from current owners. 0-60 mph stats are not of importance to me ... reliability and economy is.
  • duly89duly89 Posts: 1
    Hi! I'm considering the Optima SE-V6. I'm open to all suggestions/comments/feedback from current owners! Please e-mail me at
  • astrolastrol Posts: 312
    This is really weird. I posted a response to you last night. Serpentki posted one as well. Come back tonight and neither post is here. Mondo Bizarro.

    Let's try this again. You ask for news on reliability and economy from current owners but the Optima has only been sold here for a short time. Both Serpentki and I suggested you try the Sonata Topic for info on the reliability question in so far as the Optima is built on the Sonata platform using shared drivetrain components. Perhaps this prompted a 'not on topic' deletion from the host meisters. Who knows? I didn't get anything in the e-mail.

    My '00 GLS V-6 with auto gets 25 mpg in mixed suburban. Pure highway yields 30 mpg or more depending upon load. The car has nearly 16K since last July purchase. My wife is the primary user and she has never felt more safe and confident behind the wheel.

    Good Luck.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Folks, Town Hall had a severe problem last night, and posts made after sometime yesterday morning disappeared in the process of getting TH up and running again. The technical folks have been working all night - and are still working - trying to get them back.

    I understand some have already been restored, and more may be coming, but there are no promises at this point.

    Please accept our sincerest apologies for this situation and trust that every effort is being made to rectify the problem. Thank you for your patience.

    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 KC MetroPosts: 6,876
    I bought my '99 Sephia new and also am happy with it's lasting power and performance. I seem to be in your boat kia99. I would agree with astrol and value his review on the Optima as far as it sharing platforms with the Sonata and sharing drivetrain components. The input on the Sonata has been fairly impressive as far as I know. Hyundai and Kia are making big strides. I'm probably going to keep my Sephia a while longer and run up it's miles. I have 60,000 now and just had it's timing belt changed. Don't forget the timing belt replacement at 60,000 miles by the way! Hope my input helps kia99 in your Optima quest!

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • netranger4netranger4 Posts: 149
    Hello Kia Posters: Am just wondering what happened to all the Kia bashers that used to show up on these forums. The quality must have improved considerably. Drove an Optima 4Cyl with Automatic and it was very similar to an Accord only it felt heavier and more substantial in every respect. Am waiting for the new Sephia II which as been moderately restyled. Supposedly due in May-June sometime according to my friend who is a local Kia/Daewoo dealer.
  • hal9001hal9001 Posts: 28
    My rental car for two weeks in Portland OR. was a Kia Optima. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it drove and handled. My main car at home is a Nissan Altima and the Optima compared favorably. I went on two 150+ mile driving trips and the only complaint I had is a rather coarse sounding engine. I kept some accurate numbers and got around 27-28 mpg in mixed city and highway driving.
  • giowagiowa Posts: 599
    Was your Optima rental an I-4 or V-6? Manual or automatic? I'm assuming it is an I-4 automatic, but might be V-6 auto.

    The last 3 tanks in my '00 Sonata GLS V-6 w/5-speed manual averaged 28.80 mpg over 900 miles. Mostly rural 2-lane county or interstate roads. I live in a smallish rural city, with only 3 stoplights!
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