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Prepared to Hate It - 2016 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test Posts: 10,006
edited August 2016 in Kia
imagePrepared to Hate It - 2016 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

If you are shopping in the midsize-sedan segment, I urge you to consider the 2016 Kia Optima. It may surprise you. It surprised me.

Read the full story here


  • s197gts197gt Posts: 485
    If you got in my car and "mashed" a button I'd probably say indignantly, "What are you doing?! Easy buddy!"

    You mash an accelerator... or potatoes. Don't go mashing buttons.

    Otherwise, I agree with your post. My co-worker purchased a mid-level '15 Optima and some of us drove with him to go to lunch and found it a nice car.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    Kia has come a long way. It's like it's sister brand, Hyundai. Everyone remembers the Excel from the 80s. But the truth is that both companies, for the most part, offer the most bang for your buck. I had a 2000 Kia Sephia. Interestingly, its running gear was built by Kia under license from Mazda. The 1.6 (or 1.8, I can't remember) four cylinder and five speed manual was basically the same engine and transaxle you'd buy from Mazda just a couple of years prior. My biggest criticism was that all of the switch gear and components on the inside still had an "80s" vibe going on. The AM/FM stereo in it still had the actual knobs that physically moved the radio dial. A $100 later, I had a Wal-Mart Special Panasonic digital AM/FM CD in the dash, so it was all good.
  • A good friend bought a 2015 K900 and he absolutely loves it and has not had problem 1 with it. I've been reading every review of them I can find including consumer reviews and it seems like people either totally love them and they're problem free, or they're having more problems than the pope and can't wait to get rid of them. I hate to roll the dice like that since it seems like a 50/50 proposal as to whether you'll get a good one like my friend has or a clunker like the other 50%. If Kia can eliminate the problems in most of the crappy 50%, there is no question that a K900 is my next car. Kia has made the transition, apparently, that so many other makes haven't been able to do so far.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    If Kia had warranty issues with 50% of their cars, they'd be stone cold broke. Sounds like their warranty costs are well under control and that's a good indicator of out of warranty reliability in my book too.

    For the other extreme, look at Tesla's warranty costs.
  • @s197gt I love mashed potatoes! :)
  • smr1973smr1973 Posts: 2
    Wait; you've got a job at a company that exists solely to be about cars, and you somehow managed to be SURPRISED at what a current Kia looks like? You've not seen a recent Optima before? You're theoretically a "car guy", being a Vehicle Testing Assistant at freaking Edmunds, and the fact that Kias aren't total garbage anymore was news to you?

    Geez. How the hell did you get hired? This is stock knowledge for a car person.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited August 2016
    Ha, I've been here ~15 years and all sedans look alike to me. But I have been shopping Souls for a few years now so I know their rep.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @stever: All cars look alike to you because you only have eyes for minivans.

    Bashing on a particular marque of vehicle is sort of the automotive equivalent of Chris Rock's opinion of Racism. Some people will say "Oh, I'd never buy a ______, well except for _______, I'd totally drive a ________, if the price is right." Even I'm willing to admit that there's a few FCA products I'm drawn to, even if I can't stand the company as a whole (you know, the Wrangler, Challenger, and 300).
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683

    @stever: All cars look alike to you because you only have eyes for minivans.

    I'm starting to come around to hatchbacks. ;)

  • stever said:

    @stever: All cars look alike to you because you only have eyes for minivans.

    I'm starting to come around to hatchbacks. ;)

    Isn't that just a baby minivan?
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    edited August 2016
    @Desmolicious: Most hatchbacks don't have sliding side doors, so he has a hard time getting the mobility scooter out of the back. But at least he's making progress.

  • Even I'm willing to admit that there's a few FCA products I'm drawn to, even if I can't stand the company as a whole (you know, the Wrangler, Challenger, and 300).

    *Cues "We Are the World" on my Sony boombox*
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Mobility mean a Honda Fit?
  • Sorry I let you down, @smr1973. Also, referring to me as a car guy, even in a theoretical sense, is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I'll try to do better next time, so you'll be proud of me. :-)
  • metalmaniametalmania Posts: 167
    Actually, I don't consider it THAT big of a surprise, even for a "car guy". I'd call myself a car guy, but for the most part, until recently I pretty much ignored any news or reviews of Kia products because I had memories and opinions of them from years back and they just didn't interest me. But, as mentioned just like Hyundai they've come a long way and are definitely worth consideration against most of the other usual mainstream brands. I'm kind of surprised other manufacturers haven't followed Hyundai with a 10 yr / 100,000 mile warranty, especially Honda and Toyota who have built much of their reputation on reliability.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    stever said:

    Mobility mean a Honda Fit?

    The Fit is GO!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I had a good test drive of a Fit last summer but the AC in the one we drove couldn't keep up with the heat. That was disappointing.

    @metalmania, there were a couple of awful Volvos in my family back in, oh, 1974, and I still hold a grudge, so I understand where you are coming from.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @Stever : I can understand what you mean about the AC keeping up with the heat. Granted, my part of Texas doesn't get too hot (the worse is about 105 in the Summer), we do have times where the ACs struggle. Remember when most vehicles didn't have AC? How did we survive?

    As for the Volvos...its funny. The older Volvos are known for their tank-like durability and crash survivability. It's the newer ones with the Turbos that people complain the most about.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I haven't noticed any other complaints about the Fit AC so we may have tested a one-off that was low on refrigerant for some reason. We've test driven quite a few other cars in the heat here (including other Hondas and several Kias, mostly Souls) and they all passed muster.

    Our Volvos were very comfortable to sit in as you waited on the shoulder for a tow.
  • gslippygslippy Posts: 513
    We're on our 5th Hyundai/Kia, with 2 Kias in the driveway, and 2 Hyundais in my sons' possession. The first one, a 2001 Elantra, finally bit the dust (rust) at 201k miles.

    Believe it or not, it was the 01 Elantra that sold us on the brand.
    In order, we've since gotten a 09 Sedona, 11 Sonata, 13 Optima Hybrid, and 07 Sonata.

    Parts are cheap, and since I do my own work, they've been very affordable to own.
  • rysterryster Posts: 569
    My 2011 Sonata was my first experience with Hyundai. I bought it new, drove it for 5 years and put 70,000 miles on it. I was glad to finally get something different. No more Hyundai/KIA products for me. A couple of people at work got new 2011 Sonatas around the same time I did. They have also left the Hyundai fold. One guy was so frustrated with Hyundai that he dumped his nightmare Sonata and his wife's Santa Fe at the same time. The other guy drove the wheels off his Sonata and then traded it on a used Ford Fusion.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @ryster: Only 70k in 5 years? God, I wish I could keep mileage that low on a vehicle. My daily round trip is 78 miles, and that's just to and from work. By the time you add in all the other trips, I'll typically burn through the standard warranty in the first year. I've put 63,000 miles on my F-150 in almost two years.

    @gslippy : It sounds like you're firmly in the family transportation hobby. Nothing screams "a family of four or more" like two minivans and two sedans.
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