With three powertrain configurations across the lineup, including 1.6-liter, 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter motors, the Optima's best straight-line performance comes from the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-pot which is mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox in the top-spec SX trim. With this powertrain, the Optima is gifted with outputs of 245 hp and 260 lb-ft and accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in a class-average 6.8 seconds, according to most test drives. While anything under seven seconds is respectable for the class, that's a lot slower than Honda Accord, which, with its detuned Civic Type R 2.0T engine and ten-speed automatic, accelerates from 0-60 mph in an impressive 5.7 seconds. With the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot mill and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the Optima makes the 0-60 mph run in a slower 7.3 seconds, on par with the Hyundai Sonata. The 2.4-liter naturally aspirated mill is the slowest of the lot, getting the Optima up from 0-60 mph in an uninspiring 7.5 seconds.
While it's common that most, if not all, vehicles in this class are offered solely as front-wheel-drive vehicles, Toyota just came out with an all-new all-wheel-drive variant of the Camry, and Subaru offers only AWD in its Legacy.
The base powertrain is a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, directed to the FWD system via a six-speed automatic gearbox. While competent enough in getting the LX and S models on the go, the 2.4-liter doesn't feel as refined as the other engine options; its responses aren't as consistently smooth and with heavier throttle inputs it tends to get loud and feels less in-tune with the gearbox, occasionally stumbling and hesitating on a downshift.
The 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, standard in the EX and EX Premium, with its peak outputs of 178 hp and 195 lb-ft is much more pleasant. It's designed to be the most efficiency-minded mill of the three, while the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox it's mated to proves to be a favorable alternative to the typically used CVT. The engine is surprisingly peppy, despite its penchant for efficiency, and though with less hp, its 17 extra lb-ft has its acceleration responses feel far more robust throughout driving. Furthermore, the gearbox is smoother and slicker-shifting under acceleration, and if powerful acceleration is less a priority than refinement, this could well be the Optima's choice powertrain.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is solely equipped in the SX and is the most potent of the lot, delivering 245 hp and 260 lb-ft to the front wheels of the optima via the six-speed automatic gearbox. The engine packs plenty of punch for the Optima and delivers ample thrust in a linear and consistent manner, making it easier to reach top speed without a fuss. It's a great engine for the class, but it's beat by most comparable rival engines and is considerably less economical than the lineup's alternatives.
|Kia Optima Trims||Kia Optima Engines||Kia Optima Horsepower||Kia Optima Transmissions||Kia Optima Drivetrains||Kia Optima MPG/MPGE||Kia Optima Range|
|LX||2.4L Inline-4 Gas||185 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||27 MPG||N/A|
|S||2.4L Inline-4 Gas||185 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||27 MPG||N/A|
|SE||2.4L Inline-4 Gas||185 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||27 MPG||N/A|
|EX||1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||178 hp @ 5500 rpm||7-Speed Automatic||FWD||31 MPG||N/A|
|Hybrid EX||2.0L Inline-4 Hybrid||192 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||N/A||42 MPG||N/A|
|EX Premium||1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||178 hp @ 5500 rpm||7-Speed Automatic||FWD||31 MPG||N/A|
|SX||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||245 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||FWD||24 MPG||N/A|
|Plug-In Hybrid EX||2.0L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid||202 hp @ 6000 rpm||6-Speed Automatic||N/A||41 MPG||28 miles|
The 1.6-liter turbo-four engine and seven-speed dual-clutch auto gearbox are the most efficiency-minded pairing; equipped in both the EX and EX Premium this powertrain returns impressive EPA mileage estimates of 27/37/31 mpg city/highway/combined. Still, the Honda Accord is slightly more fuel-efficient though, with its most economic trim returning EPA estimates of 30/38/33 mpg on those same cycles. The LX, which is equipped with the 2.4-liter four-pot and six-speed auto gearbox returns 25/35/29 mpg. The S, which carries the same powertrain proves a little less efficient, returning 24/32/27 mpg, while the SX, with its 2.0-liter turbo-four and six-speed auto, is the least fuel-efficient trim, returning EPA estimates of 21/30/24 mpg. All models are equipped with an 18.5-gallon gas tank, which allows the 1.6-liter turbo-four to travel up to 573 miles before requiring a refuel.
|Kia Optima Trims||LX||S||SE||EX||Hybrid EX||EX Premium||SX||Plug-In Hybrid EX|
|Kia Optima Tank size||15.9 gal.||15.9 gal.||15.9 gal.||15.9 gal.||13.4 gal.||15.9 gal.||15.9 gal.||9.9 gal.|
|Kia Optima Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||24/32||24/32||24/32||27/37||40/45||27/37||21/30||38/43|
|Kia Optima Hybrid Battery Capacity||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||1.76 kWh||N/A||N/A||9.8 kWh|
|Kia Optima Charge Time||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||2.7 Hrs Charge Time @ 220/240V|