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Kia Optima 2006 and earlier



  • alharalhar Posts: 11
    Anyone know when 02 Optimas will be at the Dealers? Saw one at a car show several weeks ago.
    My wife liked it but I like the Sonata. Also had trouble getting the interior storage unit open but
    the wife opened it from the passenger side.!!!
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    too! I find this being constant comparing all Kia models versus Hyundai's. I own a Sportage and I like it's styling over the Santa Fe's. However, I saw a picture of Hyundai's HG350 in a magazine tonight in gold color. Wow-what a knockout! It was the 2002 HG350. That really looks nice. Check one out! Back to the Optima's looks vs.Sonata's. I thought I would like the Sonata in person(2002) but I don't really. The front looks weird to me with the fused headlights. I prefer the Optima. I may buy one someday.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • I really like the profile and rear end of the Optima, but I'd have to say I prefer the nose of the new Sonata to the Optima.
  • It's the LX 4 Cyl Auto. Dealer has it for $14,969 with all the incentives and such. I'm looking to either this or a used '01 Chevy Malibu. I Live in Iowa...what am I going to be happier with? Is KIA going to go out of business or something? I don't really care if they go out, I'm worried about the warranty, what would happen if they happen to? I read that Korea made Hyundai buy KIA out? What's the deal? This is my first "new to me" car, parents aren't much help. I can afford just about anything under $17k. My E-Mail address is, shoot me something with your opinions and such. I'll check back here every once in a while.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    with different styling and slightly decontented (tires mostly). The '01 Optima has most of the mid-platform upgrades available on the '02 Sonata. I've driven both the Optima and Sonata and would take them in an instant over a Malibu. Hyundai's in pretty good financial shape with sharply rising sales. Expect more and more of the Kia offerings to share platforms.

    As an Elantra owner, I still think the Elantra delivers more value per dollar, but the Optima/Sonatas are both fine cars.
  • Hyundai does own Kia, so they are not going anywhere. Hyundai's US sales were up 95% in October and Kia's sales were up 40% last month as well. Don't worry about the warranty. I would have to think the Optima would have to be a better choice than a used Chevy.
  • alharalhar Posts: 11
    Was out at the Kia dealer last weekend but all he had was 01's. Anybody seen any???
  • Kia/Hyundai Motors are doing excellent lately. U.S. and world sales are going up, and so is the quality of their vehicles. I do not see them going out of business any time soon. So, why they're cheap? Well, most of their cars are pretty plain, and it seems to me that they're serious in the mission of stealing some world market out of the Japanese and European car makers. Once they achieve that, be sure, their prices will be closer to the Japanese, American or European brands. Remember? That's how VW, Toyota, Honda and Nissan started some 20 years ago.
    ...Someone made a comment, two years ago I believe, that companies like Kia or Hyundai will come and go into the American Market just like Yugo or Fiat did some years ago. I think whoever said this, doesn't really know much about world economy or industry. I'm not Korean, and neither Asian, but I do know that the industrial output of South Korea is as big and competitive as the French, Dutch or British. And, obviously, dozen of times greater than Yugoslavia's (home of the Yugos). In Asia, only two countries are right behind Japan in the industrial and technological fields. Yes! One is South Korea, and the other is Taiwan.
    Back to the topic, I don't think these Korean brands are going away any time soon.
  • jonw2jonw2 Posts: 49
    To continue the previous thoughts expressed on the stability of the Kia/Hyundai company, I read this week in the LA Times that Hyundai is searching for a factory site in Ohio. By the way, I have no financial stake in Kia/Hyundia. In fact, we own an older Saab(I'm an admitted Saab freak!)and a fairly new Subaru Legacy. While on a trip this week on the West coast,we rented a well-appointed Kia Optima V6 and we were pleasantly surprised by the comfort and driveability of the Kia. The construction is very solid and the performance was excellent. We drove it several hundred miles and found no serious flaws. A little more trunk room might be desired, but it took our two luggage cases and a couple smaller bags. I thought the seating comfort was excellent. Our rental Kia had about 9700 miles on it and was well over 10K miles when we turned it in. The lady at the small Budget rental company said they have about 8 Kia's and they have been good performers with few problems. In short, it won us over. For what it's worth, I will definitely give serious consideration to a Kia Optima when we are in the market for our next new car.
  • I probably paid top dollar when I bought my Optima on July 4th (my timing never seems to be too good!). And in August I bought a Hyundai Accent for commuting, probably again for more than some of you out there. But in the end, I bought two good cars for $28000, on the road, tax and tags included, warranted for 100,000 miles! Try buying ONE Accord or Camry for that!
  • Which companies have Kias? I'd like to rent one on an upcoming trip in Florida; perhaps look for a used one locally around S.F. as I'm considering an Optima SE V6. Also, John W. who posted; did you used to work for USPHS in SF? Thanx-
  • 45auto45auto Posts: 16
    Yeah,yeah its me again. So tell me is the manual transmission hard to find in the se? finally decided on an optima in the next few months. I live in north missisippi. Can you tell me site(s) I can use to access dealer inventories in the southeast. What kind of prices are you folks paying for se models with cloth and 5 speed. Once again, thank you for any assistance
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Last year's cars had smaller tires than Sonata and cost more model for model. This seems to be corrected in the '02's. With supposed Sonata shortages at many dealers, have any of you looked closely at the Optima?
  • Hi all, Great site. After reading all of the above posts I decided it was time to visit my friendly, neighborhood Kia dealer for a test drive. I drove an SE 4 banger with an auto trans & a gl with V-6 & sportronic trans. Both engines were smooth as silk & quiet but I was surprised to find that the V-6 was slightly noisier at 70 mph than the 4 banger. I'm not sure why anyone would spend the extra bucks for the V-6 when the 4 has more than enough power. The SE 4 cyl. looks like the way to go, it's the same price as the gl v-6 but with more features like the 8 way power seats. The auto trans in both cars is a PITA as it likes to downshift when it does'nt need to. Since the auto has the adaptive logic will the silly automatic learn not to downshift when it should'nt??I would NEVER EVER buy a car with an auto trans for myself, but this one is for my dear wife. She just "wants to put it in D & go". The other thing I did'nt like on these two 01's was the drivers seat has a bulge that hits me in the lower back. Does anyone know if the 02 has more comfortable seats?? Except for the way the auto trans shifts & the uncomfortable seats I think that Kia has a winner with this car. Looks like i'll be buying a Sonata for it's more comfortable seats & because the 4 banger comes with the sportronic trans. The Optima only has sportronic on the V-6.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    The one with the I-4 cyl. and 5-speed tranny? You were pretty happy with it and I haven't seen you post for a long time. How are you doing? I also haven't seen majorthomecho, hung0820 or bluewinds post for a while.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • We want to buy a new car & can't deceide between a Toyota Corolla LE, & a Kia Megentis/Optima. We really like the Kia but are hesitant because it's so new. Toyota has a good solid reputation. We would appreciate hearing from Kia owners. Is it a safe investment?
  • ...until 2003 for the Corolla. The current Corolla is one of the most boring vehicles of these days, but the newer 2003 model is more like the newer Camry (bigger, better styled, more HP and good reliability). The Kia is nice, but the corolla caught my attention right away. Good Luck!
  • First of all, no car is an investment. If you're looking to trade the car in after a few years, you're probably better off with the Toyota. I own a Kia and love it, but I plan on keeping it forever. Then again with all the Toyota sludge problems, who knows. Toyota resale value might drop.
  • I test drove two '01 Optima LX cars fully equipped with leather, sunroof, all the goodies except they were 4 cylinder cars. The Doors on both sides of both cars made way more wind noise than the bottom of the line mitsubisi mirage (cheap cheap rental car) that I was driving. I really liked the optima ride, power and options (only they lack the anti lock brakes in all but the big V6 cars) but I don't like the excessive wind noise. Are other Optima drivers getting wind noise?
  • I was traveling last week and usually like to try something different now and again. This time was a big mistake. I thought it would be fun to check out the Optima (and it was not stripped). Bad idea. Let me summarize: dangerous, horrible ergonomics, cheap, tinny, uncomfortable, etc. I cannot imagine how anyone could ever compare this vehicle with even the cheapest Honda,Toyota, Protege, even Sentra. This car would wander all over the highway (I guess that could be the tires or alignment, but I don't think so). The rear view mirror was in a horrible location (don't know if it's too close or too low, but it REALLY bugged me, obvious from the start. It was loud, rough, and very unrefined. I remember a '91 Honda Civic that I bought new (cheapo model), way better than this '01 offering. We're talking 10 years ago - still better.
    Summary - I've driven all of the contestants in this market segment and this car would be in last place by a long shot. I couldn't wait to get out of that car (300 miles). Not meant to offend, just my experience.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Somehow I find that you are bashing this car whether you were trying to or not. I don't believe one word you said. I did not drive the Optima but have sat in one and drove the twin sister, the Sonata. Both cars had a solid non-tinny sound to the doors and felt solid driving down the road (way more solid then my 97 Altima). The four banger was a bit loud in the Sonata, but not obscenely so. The engine was definitely not rough. The seats in the Optima were very plush, almost like sitting in an overstuffed couch. Whether this would be comfortable over a long distance is to be determined, but I thought they were comfortable. Dangerous ergonomics?? This is where you lost credibility. What in the heck are you talking about? The interior is very simply designed and very easy to understand and operate. The controls look like any Honda or Toyota. How anyone could say it has dangerous and horrible ergonomics is beyond me. I find the interior to be well designed and good looking. Some of the plastics are cheap but that's to be expected since the car is cheaper then others in its class. Overall, I think the Optima is a good buy and is far from the junk that some people like to falsely claim it is.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,920
    is bogus. I did test drive an Optima. It was a 2001 Optima with automatic transmission and V6 engine. The car was effortless to drive. The ride was quiet and steering was smooth and easy. The engine accelerated smoothly and quickly and although the stretch of road I drove didn't have many bumps I was sure not afraid to run the Optima over any for fear of uncomfortableness. Kia has done a great job with Optima especially for it's low price. A good looking body on it, too. Cleanly blows Accord and Camry out of the water. I was considering buying one but chose the Sportage SUV instead. It's proven to be a solid little runner that's fun to drive and reliable. IMHO Kia has turned the quality corner and in comparison to anyone else out there they're top choice in my book. The only other two I'd consider would be Hyundai or Daewoo but my guess is that I'm going to be driving Kia's the rest of my driving days. No other brand makes as much sense as Kia.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • fxashunfxashun Posts: 747
    Are OK but as far as blowing the Accord out of the water??????? I don't think so. It's all a matter of taste. Toyota makes cars with the same over-done over-chromed look that the Optima has. The choose to leave them in Japan where they must like that type of thing. That look is not all that popular in the U.S or domestic makes would still be chromed all over like they used to be.
  • Chris--the model you drove was an SE. The sunroof and leather gave that away. Second, I found the 4 cyl mated to the manual transmission to be the best choice. I have driven both manual and automatic and the manual was fun to drive, IMO. Also, I found the leather seats were very comfortable. They are the seats from the XG, not the Sonata (for some reason). The 4 cyl SE with 5 speed, sunroof and leather had a very European sport sedan feel to it--again my opinion. Also, I'm not looking to have people blasting me because I said the Optima is better than BMW. I did not say that, I just said that with the leather, open sunroof and manual shifter, it felt European when driving around.

    magila--I also can't believe a word of your post. If you did not like the car, that's fine--just say so. But, the junk about being tinny and dangerous to drive was total BS--and you knew it when you typed it. I find it funny that people who like the Sonata will bash the Optima just because it's a Kia. I don't now if you said good things about the Sonata, but many people do this.

    To the person wondering about the "investment." As others have said, it's not an investment. If you get new cars every three years, get the Corolla. If you want to drive it into the ground, get the Kia. The Kia is bigger and more powerful. Even if you don't need the larger interior now, you might one day. Also, why bash the 4 cylinder? It puts out 149 hp. The 4 cyl Accords are good for 150 hp. No body complains about 4 cylinder Accords. Up until a couple of years ago, 149 hp would have been considered a lot. Lastly, the Optima may not compare with Accord in quality (not yet anyway, maybe in a couple of years), but it certainly does compare in terms of size, power, and layout. Better, no--but certainly worth a look.
  • What is wrong with you people? In this forum, it's about questions, opinions, and making decisions. Why is it that when someone has an opinion contrary to what you want to hear, you disbelieve or get angry or call it BS? Good luck living happily in your own information-controlled worlds.

    I said it was my opinion, and unless I've missed something, I'm entitled to that in this country. If you don't want to hear it, don't participate in an open forum. This is not marketing for Kia. We're not making propaganda here. It's about honest dialogue to help others make decisions. I didn't like it at all. I've owned Honda, Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Fiat (of all things), Mitsubishi, and Nissan. I like this car the least of anything I've ever driven. EVER. You don't have to believe it. I'm not going into the details anymore because you don't want to listen anyway. I thought my differing opinion might help someone, somewhere be happy with an expensive car purchase and make a more informed choice. And BTW, I understood the ergonomics, I just didn't like them. And for your information, Intonge18, ergonomics are not about what controls "look like", it's about where they're placed. The mirror impeded my vision. That's placement, bad ergonomics. And yes, I know the Sonata is basically the same car - didn't care for that one either.

    I'm happy that you all like your cars with the passion (a.k.a. disbelieving venom) shown in your responses. Just remember, we all don't have to like the same things. If we did, there'd be only one car maker, one style of clothing, one haircut, one food choice, etc. Lighten up. If you are happy with your purchase, more power to you-enjoy the ride. Life's too short to be driving something you don't like.
  • IMO, the Optima is marketed wrong. They say the Optima is the lower priced alternative to the Accord. Well, they need to move down a little. As it has been said before, you will be very hard pressed to get a Honda customer to give up his Accord for an Optima just to save $1500. At Mall of Georgia Kia north of Atlanta near Lake Lanier, the 2002 Optima LX is advertised from $13,999. To me, they should go after buyers of Civic, Corolla, Sentra, etc. For $14k, Honda will sell you a Civic LX with a 115 hp sohc engine and 14" wheels. For $14k, Toyota will sell you a Corolla with manual windows, locks, mirrors, no cruise, etc. Nissan will sell you a wel equipped Sentra for 14 grand, but it will be a smaller compact car. For $14,000 Kia will sell you a true mid size sedan with a 149 hp dohc engine, 4 wheel independent suspension, all the power features, side airbags, 15" wheels, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty (50,000 miles transferable) and other goodies. As hard as it is to convince people to save a little money over Accord, it should be easy to SHOW how much more car they get over Civic--size, power, and content. As more Optimas go on the road awareness will increase. Ferraris are rare because they are really expensive. Optimas ae rare because not many people are buying them because (I think) they don't want to look like the only ones who want to take a chance. As they sell more, people will feel more comfortable buying one. Then, the nicer models will follow. People will say "I like the car, but I want a leather interior." Well, you tell them to go get one with leather, or sunroof, or V6, or whatever is holding them back from getting one. People who buy them and like them will hopefully go back to get another one a little higher up the ladder. Anyway, this is just my take on it, but it seems like the way I would go. Then again, if they did this, how would they market Spectras? I guess if Optima took off like Sedona did and if the new SUV is in demand, buyers would feel more comfortable buying lower end models because they would feel better about the Kia brand. Kind of why people buy Echos. They know Camrys and Avalons are good cars, so they feel Echo will be, too. With a little luck, Kia could be like this in a few years.
  • Of course you are entitled to your opinion. Remember 2 things, though. First, you came on to a board set up for the flow of ideas about a specific model. Most posters here either own an Optima, or are thinking about buying an Optima, or own a similar vehicle and feel good about Optimas. This is NOT a board like the one in News and Views labeled "Tell our thoughts on Kia." The point I am making is that Kia owners get beat up all day long simply because they own a Kia. Maybe it was all they could afford. Maybe they really liked the car so they bought it. Either way, these folks own and are happy with their Kia. I guess they feel that this thread should be a safe haven from criticism because they own a Kia. If you want to bash Kia (which is what you did regardless of your intent), fine, bash away. But, try to find one of the boards that was set up for the bashing. Now, if you had said "I drove an Optima and I did not like it" then that would have been one thing. You went on and on, though, about how you thought it was dangerous to drive and low in quality and just a rotten car. The pro-Optima crowd took it as yet another post with someone wondering what kind of drugs folks have to take to actually want to own one of these horrible cars. Second, you chose to attack the Optima. Besides the Sedona, the Optima is the most praised car in the Kia lineup. Even the auto media is somewhat kind to the Optima. Please show one professional review describing the Optima as being tinny and dangerous. You can't because they don't exist. You probably had some preconceived notions about the car because it's a Kia, and you were not going to like the Optima no matter what. Who knows? You may not have gotten any response attacking the Rio or Spectra, but the Optima is an okay car. At least the experts think so.
  • Bill, no offense here, but you know your rock bottom dealer auction prices have no indication of depreciation. Sure, a $15,000 (stickered) Optima may wholesale auction at $9000 two years later--but you also know the original owner did not pay $15,000 for it. Probably gave $12,500 or so. So it lost $3500, not $6000. Also, it will private party sell (and on a car lot) much higher, so the depreciation just got smaller. I know you see tens of thousands of cars and you have more knowledge of wholesale value than anyone else here, but you know you aren't being exactly fair about Optima's depreciation, right?
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    So, you deem an interior to have dangerous and horrible ergonomics because the rear view mirror annoyed u?? The rear view mirror is in the same spot it's in in every car. In the center top of the windshield! Unless you sit on the console, I don't see how it could get in your way. You shouldn't be trying to look at the sky anyway. You are supposed to be looking directly in front of you, in which case, the placement of the mirror does not intrude. And I know what ergonomics mean. It has to do with how intuitively placed the CONTROLS are and how easy they are to operate and understand. This means: where the HVAC and radio controls are, are they big enough, how easily does the cruise work, are the gauges easy to read, etc. Under that definition, the Optima has good ergonomics. You said it yourself, "I understood them, just didn't like them". So Kia was successful in their ergonomics; it's just that you didn't like the looks. I have no problems with you not liking the Optima. It's just the way you said things that didn't make sense. You should have said, "I didn't like the interior styling and the rear view mirror annoyed me.", instead of, "this car has terrible ergonomics that are just dangerous!". See the difference? Going into more detail would have made you look a lot more credible to others. Not to mention that I think it's laughable to compare an 02 Optima's structure to a 91 Civic. I know for a fact the Optima is a much more substantial car then that small thin sheetmetal car. The 91 Civic was no doubt a high quality well built car in its day, but it was far from substantial feeling. A 2200 pound car is not gonna feel as solid as a 3200 pound one. I, for one, was very impressed with the solid thunk of the Optima's doors. It was far from tinny sounding.
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