2012 Kia Optima: Try to Find Something Bad to Say About it….

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Here’s the thing:

Everyone makes good cars now, so “reliability” and “safety” aren’t the selling points they used to be.

They’re givens.

That puts the name-brand Japanese brands – Honda and Toyota – in a new and much tougher environment.

And it has given a leg up to ambitious Korean brands like Kia, which delivers the same level of reliability as Honda and Toyota, but wraps it up in a sexier, better-performing package that gives you better gas mileage – at a lower price. And with a much better warranty, too.

The Optima sedan, for example.

WHAT IT IS

The Optima is a mid-sized front-wheel-drive sedan with near-luxury features and power that also delivers almost economy-car fuel efficiency.

It shares a basic underlying platform and engines with its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Sonata – but it has a completely different exterior and interior, a sportier personality – and a lower base price than its Hyundai sibling.

The Optima starts at $18,995 for an LX with 2.4 liter engine and six-speed manual transmission and tops out at $25,995 for a luxury-sport SX with 2.0 liter turbocharged engine and six-speed automatic.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2012

A hybrid version of the Optima has been added to the lineup, targeting the Ford Fusion hybrid. Prices weren’t available at the time of this review in mid-summer 2011, but the car should start around $28k. It will be arriving at dealer later this summer, or by early Fall.

WHAT’S GOOD

Sharky good looks.

Base 2.4 liter engine makes about 25 more hp than base engines in competitors like the Ford Fusion (175 hp) and Honda Accord (177 hp).

Optional 274 hp turbo four cylinder engine outpowers competitors’ optional V-6 engines – while delivering much better gas mileage.

No fussy controls; handsome and functional interior layout.

High-end equipment at a (much less) than Lexus – or BMW or Audi – price.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Headroom in both rows can be a close shave for taller drivers, if you order the optional sunroof.

UNDER THE HOOD

Like its cousin the Hyundai the Sonata, the Optima comes with either a non-turbo 2.4 liter four or (optionally) a turbocharged 2.0 liter four.

The standard 2.4 liter engine – equipped with direct injection – is one of the strongest non-turbocharged four-cylinder engines currently on the market, producing a very impressive 200 hp (192 in California) while also delivering an even more impressive 35 MPGs on the highway, 24 in city driving – mileage that’s about as as good as many economy cars with 50-75 less hp. For example, a 2012 Honda Civic sedan with a smaller 1.8 liter engine that produces only 140 hp – 60 hp less than the Kia’s engine – achieves 36 MPGs on the highway and 28 in city driving, a not-huge difference in fuel economy.

The 2.4 liter engine is available with either a six-speed manual or – in higher trim versions – a six-speed automatic.

The optional 2.0 liter turbo engine produces 274 hp – which is more hp than most current V-6s with twice the displacement . For example, the Honda Accord’s optional 3.5 liter V-6 is rated at 271 hp; the Ford Fusion’s optional 3.5 liter V-6 produces 263 hp.

But gas mileage with the 2.0 turbo liter engine is still 34 highway (22 highway) which is better than most competitors’ comparably powerful – and much larger – V-6s.

The Honda Accord V-6, for example, is rated 20 city, 30 highway. The Ford Fusion’s top-dog 3.5 liter V-6 is even thirstier: 18 city, 27 highway.

Also, the Kia’s quick.

Equipped with the 2.0 liter turbo engine, an Optima can shoot to 60 in 6.5 seconds – dead even with the V-6 Accord and quicker than the V-6 Fusion, which gets to 60 in about 7 seconds flat.

The soon-to-be-here Optima hybrid will improve the line’s already very solid fuel economy marks. In-city MPGs will likely be in the low-mid 40s, with highway mileage in the same ballpark as the non-hybrid Optima equipped with the 2.4 liter engine.

All Optimas are front wheel drive.

ON THE ROAD

The turbo version has a noticeable turbo surge as the boost wicks up – something that other automakers have been trying (for reasons I can’t appreciate) to dial out of their turbocharged engines. It’s not a furious, tire-skittering rush like in a Mitsubishi EVO or MazdaSpeed3, but it is there. A slight whistle, too. The boost comes on strong just above 3,000 RPM – and there’s definitely enough on tap to scalp the pavement a little, if you really get on it. But no torque steer issues – surprising given this is FWD and not AWD car and all that power is hitting the pavement through the front wheels.

Other high-powered turbocharged cars like the Subaru WRX modulate the output through AWD. The MazdaSpeed 3 is the only other car on the market with similar power on tap that’s also FWD – and it has torque steer issues, fun as it is to drive.

The experience is civilized violence. The Optima will go when you punch it – but it’s not necessary to keep both hands tightly clenched on the wheel, ready to countersteer. This is in keeping with its grown-up demeanor. The Optima is more Audi-like than rowdy frat-boy hot rods like the WRX or MazdaSpeed3.

But just because it graduated, don’t think it can’t still party.

That includes the non-turbo version with the 2.4 liter engine. 200 hp (and a six-speed stick) is solid – especially for under $19k to start.

For some perspective, consider the Audi A4. It has a turbocharged 2.0 liter engine but its output is only 211 hp – while its MSRP is $32,300.

Handling/eagerness to corner is not as tight as its looks might lead you to expect – about a 7.5 on a scale of 10, with 10 being BMW (or Acura). It’s similar to something a little on the softer side, like the Lexus ES350. Nothing wrong with that, either. The ES350 is a monster seller, in part because it’s a nicer driver than the stiffer-riding (if better all-out-handling) BMWs and Audis out there.

The Optima emulates that kind of driving feel and ride quality – only it’s about $10k less and it gets better gas mileage, too.

AT THE CURB

At 57.3 inches, the Optima sits about half an inch closer to the pavement than its Hyundai Sonata cousin. It’s also slightly longer, nose to tail (190.7 inches vs. 189.8). Longer and lower – plus some very crisply pleated sheetmetal (with BMW M-like fender vents), rakish front, rear and side glass plus an available oversized smoked black glass panorama sunroof – put distance, style-wise, between the Optima and its more formal-looking Hyundai relation.

Even though these two cars share the same basic platform and chassis, they are very different looking cars.

It’s like back in the 1970s when GM sold the Chevy Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird. Both cars shared the same platform, but their sheetmetal was unique to each car, with the ‘Bird being slinkier looking than its Chevy stablemate.

It’s a similar deal inside; you’d never know these cars – Optima and Sonata – sprang from the same source. The dash layout, the shape of the console, the controls – unique to each model.

The Optima has a more Euro-look. It reminded me a lot of current Audis – especially the spread of the dash, with individually stitched sections and the center stack with its very Audi-ish buttons – while the Sonata’s cabin/dash layout is closer in theme to current Lexus and Infiniti designs.

Among the high-end (and Audi-like) equipment you can get in the Optima: Multi-stage seat heaters and coolers, with large, ergonomically designed buttons for these on the center console – and an available Technology Package that adds an upgraded eight speaker Infinity sound system bundled with GPS and LCD display and driver information system.

Order the Premium package and you’ll get a heated steering wheel, too.

And you’ll still be under $30k.

There are a few potential downsides, though.

That slick-looking roofline cuts into the available headroom, especially with the optional dual-section panorama sunroof. Taller drivers may have to skip the sunroof to avoid their heads rubbing up against the headliner.

On the other hand, both the Kia and its Hyundai cousin have a lot more front seat legroom – 45.5 inches – than competitors like the Ford Fusion (42.3 inches) and Honda Accord 42.5 inches) though backseat riders will pay a penalty for this.

There’s 34.6 inches of rear seat legroom in the Optima vs. 37.1 in the Fusion and 37.2 in the Accord. But – try it – there’s still plenty of legroom in the rear seats for someone my size (6ft 3) to sit without assuming the fetal position or even having my knees rubbing up against the backs of the front seats. The only issue I had was with headroom. But if you’re less than six feet tall, it probably won’t be an issue for you.

THE REST

Though the Optima’s a looker – and a runner – what’s most impressive about it is the car’s superior power-to-gas-mileage ratio. Both engines, but especially the optional turbocharged 2.0 liter engine. Mid-30s on the highway from an engine that produces 274 hp is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too situation.

For a bit more perspective on this, consider the Ford Fusion – also a very nice car and a direct Optima competitor. The base engine in the Fusion is a 2.5 liter four that makes 175 hp – about 100 hp less than the Optima’s smaller 2.0 liter engine – yet the Ford’s 2.4 liter engine is less fuel efficient than the Kia’s 2.0 liter engine, rating a so-so (in comparison) 32 highway.

The Fusion’s top-of-the-line engine – for which you’ll pay close to $30k – is a 3.5 liter V-6 that’s almost twice the size of the Kia’s 2.0 liter engine but it still doesn’t make more power (263 hp) and it gets significantly lower gas mileage (27 highway, 18 city).

Granted, you can get all-wheel-drive in the Fusion – a feature that’s not available in the Optima. But if you want very high power without very large gas bills, the Kia is hard to top.

Also hard to top is the Optima’s confidence inspiring warranty package. The whole car is covered for five years/60,000 miles and the engine/transmission for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Ford is still peddling a shaky three year/36,000 mile basic warranty and is only willing to extend its coverage on the engine/transmission to five-years or 60,000 miles.

Same with the Japanese name brands (Honda and Toyota).

Five years after you’d be 100 percent on your own with those cars, Kia’s still got you covered on the biggies for another five years – twice as long.

Keep in mind that car companies don’t pull their warranty numbers out a hat. They’re based on very careful internal research as to what is likely to fail – and when it is likely to fail. If it’s covered, it’s a good bet the part is probably not going to crap out on you during the warranty period.

And, the reverse…

THE BOTTOM LINE

It’s not easy writing 1,500 words about a car that has almost no flaws without sounding like you got a check from the company that built it. But it’s a risk worth taking if I can get you to take a look at this one before you buy one of its competitors.

It’s that nice – and that good .

Really.

Go and see for yourself.

Throw it in the Woods?

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106 COMMENTS

  1. I purchased my 2012 Kia Optima EX in May 2013, as the 2nd owner. ..and I have had so many issues with it!! I love the look of the Optima, it’s truly the nicest looking sedan out there in my opinion. But for a pretty new car it’s been a royal pain in my @$#. It’s become a joke among my family and friends as to what’s wrong with my car “THIS week”. Not long after I purchased it, there was a noise and obvious issue in the rear end, like a crunching sound if I recall correctly (that’s been awhile ago now). I took it in and ends up there was a recall for that issue (the notice of which never goes to 2nd owners in any make I swear). About 6 months ago my transmission started slipping big time, so bad that I didn’t know if I would make it to my destination. Since you can’t check the fluid in these newer cars, my mechanic changed the fluid and that resolved it for awhile. The mechanic said the fluid really didn’t look bad so he wasn’t confident the change would even help but lucky for me it did. Well now it’s slipping again ! Not nearly as bad/often but randomly, and when it slips it isn’t subtle. Other annoying things are always going wrong with it—the driver side panel around the seat adjustment control pops off; the outdoor temperature doesn’t work anymore and says it’s 80 degrees when it’s 15; I had a LOT of issues with the backup camera the first year I had it–it worked about 20% of the time (for some reason it’s been working great lately); on e of the 2 power outlets broke so I had to buy one of those 2-in-1 gadgets for the one that works so I can keep 2 devices running; my check engine light came on last year and had to be reset, no issues found in its computer; the air bag light came on months ago and i just had it checked today and its code B1490 “PODS sensor (bladder) defect (nice!!!!!); and last but not least (that I can remember anyway)—-now I am having issues with my steering!!! I am a girl and no mechanic so the best I can describe it is the steering wheel pulls right or left, as If there was an issue with my tire pressure or something ..but I ruled that out. So now it’s off to the mechanic again!! Thank goodness he is a friend and only charges me for actual costs.

    In conclusion. ..I was a big Kia fan and LOVE the look of my Optima and the interior, it’s a sexy car. But I ain’t getting another one now!!! I had planned to upgrade to a Sorento for the AWD (lots of snow here), but I’m afraid to take a chance now. I always buy pretty new cars to avoid all these issues. So much for that plan with this car!!!

    • Oh, and my salesman failed to mention that because I am the 2nd owner my warranty was cut in HALF! Shame on me for not knowing that in advance…but Kia is always bragging about their great warranties. Ironically, the Kia warranty is what I actually started looking to buy a Kia!

        • Hi Eric,

          Thanks for the reply. It was a dealership that told me about the 2nd owner part. So I just looked it up and the half warranty is for the power train according to Kia ‘ s 2012 manual.

          • Hi Cassie,

            Your car was two warranties. The first is the “basic” or “comprehensive” warranty. It covers the entire car, less routine maintenance items (e.g., oil and filter changes, tires) for a given time/mileage interval.

            The second warranty is the “powertrain” warranty. It is limited to the engine/transmission/transaxle (typically) and usually lasts for a longer period of time (and miles) than the basic warranty.

            The Hyundai-Kia powertrain coverage on your car is – IIRC – ten years, 100,000 miles.

            Both should be full transferable to second owners. Specific details will be in the new car owner’s manual (or a separate booklet) that came with the car and should be in the glovebox.

            Hope this is helpful!

    • It is nice to have the full-coverage warranty. But of course, you have to buy the new car to get it!

      Tie-rod ends are not a big deal. Fairly routine maintenance item – and (usually) not a big expense.

      • tie rod ends should last into the 100K+ range for a modern car.

        I assume these were worn out as a car with a broken tie rod end cannot be driven.

  2. Purchased 2012 Optima 2.4 turbo 1 year 8 mos. old. 23,000 miles.
    Love the car.
    But 2 weeks ago., front end shakes, rattles ,over bumps.
    Diagnosis at dealer : Busted tie rods??
    A little disappointed for such a new car with highway miles to have suffered
    such a breakdown already.
    PS. I did not drive it offroad.

  3. First off… great article, that goes for the comments as well. I recently purchased a 2013 Kia Optima LX, with the convenience package. Although I only have racked up about 330 some miles, I am absolutely enamored with this car. The looks and style are absolutely killer. It’s a pleasure to drive, and I am still taken back by the amount of standard features offered. The UVO system is money well spent, and the added features included in the convenience package make it all worthwhile. I always am left with the impression that I am driving a vehicle that cost more than it really does. I looked at several vehicles prior to my purchase decision…. Passat, Fusion, Accord, Altima, Malibu… and I am grateful that I made the choice that I did. The standard chrome really sets off the black, or any other color for that matter. As the article states… if you haven’t taken a closer look at the Optima, do yourself a favor and do so before choosing another competing vehicle.

  4. I bought my Optima in May this year. I am just a typical single female over 35 that has enough common sense to know that I do not know everything, especially when it comes to cars. I do love just about everything about this car, and that is not easy to say after swearing I’d NEVER buy another car, I was too in love with the mid-sized SUV that was stolen and totaled! However, due to economic issues and a job that required more miles than my pocketbook could afford from a gas guzzler, I went for the Optima after several weeks of research. My two biggest complaints are 1-the sub-standard paint (seriously, I have owned many new and used vehicles and NEVER had bird poop and bug guts eat through the paint!! I had just made my FIRST payment and the car was at 1,200 miles.), and 2-the insurance rating that has led to me paying out almost as much each month between note and insurance as I was on the ’10 Pathfinder! If you think you can get some warranty assistance with the paint, think again. I was literally laughed at for asking. I was told the warranty doesn’t cover an “act of God”, and God’s creature pooped on the car as she was about to lay eggs, yeah, that’s right, told me that the bird poop was more acidic when getting ready to drop an egg! I guess about a thousand bugs that hit the car were also about to procreate as well. Again, I love this car, have received many compliments, even from someone in the grocery parking lot that was driving a Lexus that was almost identical in looks. If you are serious about the Optima, especially a black one in the deep southern heat, stock up on wax, and consider paying for your own clear-coat paint job. At least that’s what I was told that I should have done…

    • Bird poop is bad news for paint… especially clear-coat finishes. Which is all modern car finishes. If the clear coat gets eaten away, you lose the shine as well as the protection. It is imperative to wash off the poop as soon as you see it!

      Sorry this happened to you…

  5. I purchased my 2012 Kia EX fully loaded the end of June. I LOVE the look of the car, the way it handles (much better than my Nissan Altima), and the gas mileage is wonderful! My only issue has been the heated leather seats! I had been driving my car for about 8 days when I noticed my driver seat seemed to heat up while I was driving, even though I hadn’t touched the button for this and it wasn’t on. It feels this way all the time now. When I brought it in to the shop, they ran a computer diagnostic test on it and said the computer showed there was nothing wrong with it! I’ve had heated leather seats in my Nissan for 9 years, so it’s not that I’m not use to leather seats and it’s not in my mind! Has anyone else ever experienced this?

    • I have had quite a few issue’s with my 2012 KIA Optima EX it is fully loaded. Most of my issue’s have been electrical and the mechanics at my dealership are idiot’s!! I brought my beautiful KIA home 4/31/12 and have had to have the stereo replaced, well when they did that they put a big gash in my dash which now has to be replaced ( still waiting for the part ). Then I noticed quite a bit of rust on the right rear rotor and all over my rim so I took my car back to the dealership. They never even took the tire off the car just explained to me that I must have gotten some red dirt or clay stuck in there and that was the problem….. I flipped out because I live at the beach where there is no red dirt or clay!!! Still nothing was done. I took it to my local mechanic and he cleaned it up for me but I’m still having issue’s with it slinging rusty water all over my rim every once in a while and its coming from inside the hub behind the rotor. Then my back up camera started messing up, the screen goes black constantly. I took pictures of it to prove there was something wrong and emailed them to my salesman. Now I got in the car Friday and try to open my sunroof won’t work at all!!! I messed with it for about 30 minutes and was able to get it to open but had to hold the switch the entire time. I truly love my car but I am so tired of crap going wrong!!!!!

      Deb, I suggest you contact KIA directly as I have done they will get the ball rolling for you or at least try to figure out what is going on! Their number is 1-800-333-4542. I wish you the best please let me know if you get anywhere with this, have a great day!

  6. 2012 KIA Optima EX. I purchased my Kia Optima just a few weeks ago. It now has 3,000.00 miles on it. I did not purchase the Turbo version. I find that contrary to previous reports of left or right pull in steering on the 2011 vehicles, the steering seems to be in balance, just a bit sensitive.

    The engine standard 2.4L engine is responsive but has an occassional lag. I am not sure if that is due to the Eco setting in on position. I normally drive with the Eco setting on.I have tried taken the Eco off but this does not seem to make a big difference.

    I usually drive the car a bit more conservatively on my highway commutes back and forth from work. However, sometimes I get that macho adrenaline need for speed and drive it more as a sports car. ( No Road Rage implied). The fuel economy is mixed. With the hot summer we have had, certainly running the air conditioner has been a factor. My initial fuel efficiency with mixed average mpg and air conditioner on has been 19-24 mpg. However, with the air conditioner off and all other aspects of driving normal, I am finding that my average mpg is closer to that which is advertised at 26-28 mpg. I am anxiously waiting to see the 32-35 mpg hwy results which I have not yet experienced.

    The exterior and interior design of the vehicle are wonderful. It has the look and feel of sports sedan and yet functional as a family car. The handling and the options on the vehicle add great value to this vehicle. I love the bluetooth, full function controls on the steering, and the safety ratings.

    I am not sure what happened with the aerodynamics of the interior of the cabin. You do have to becareful and balance out how your windows are open. I have noticed that you can get a sonic boom or just a lot or air pressure going on inside the cabin if your windows are open at the wrong proportions. However, I do not have the sunroof which may make some difference in air flow.

    I am amazed at how much new car prices have gone up on vehicles. On one side, who would have imagined forking out $ 30,000.00+ on a KIA sedan. On the otherside, you do get a lot of bang for the buck.

    One thing- I do not recommend the Base Model Optima with the 16″ inch wheel base. There is too much road noise going. I almost decided not to buy the Optima because of the rough ride and feeling the bumps. However, when I test drove the Optima EX with the driver power seat. I found the ride improved and was not as harsh.

    Overall, would I buy purchase the KIA Optima Ex again – Now that I know what to look for- Yes. In fact, I am almost wondering if I would have enjoyed the Turbo option. I just do not know if that would increase my insurance premiums. Thanks

  7. I’m writing from Canada and have an earlier post on here (Apr 18). I just purchased a 2012 Kia Optima (EX luxury model) about a month ago. These negative comments are rather disconcerting to say the least. I am hoping that this isn’t something that I have to look forward to. Prior to my purchase the comments were usually positive. No car is perfect so there will always be negative comments about something.

    To this point I would say the Optima has been fine. I have just under 1500 KM (937 miles) on it. It had 4 km on it when I purchased it so almost all KM’s are mine. My gas mileage has been great (avg of 28 mpg (city driving 95%) on two fill ups so far, third one coming up). The ride is pretty smooth despite the lower profile tires. Noise is minimal to this point. The leg room is great. Head room is adequate. I’m 5’10” so it isn’t a problem. So far no pull to the left like some have experienced.

    I am hoping that this isn’t the calm before the storm. I can honestly say that I have been happy with the car to this point. I can only hope that this will continue.

    Is there anyone out there with positive comments about the 2012 Optima?

    • I also purchased a 2012 KIA Optima EX on 5/31/12, I love my Optima it is a very economical sporty vehicle and for the price I was a very happy woman. My experience with this vehicle has been great, there has been a couple small issues with the stereo but KIA replaced it very quickly with no problem. I get the most comments on my new car and people asking me what it is. I am a little concerned by the comments I’ve read this morning in reference to the engine issues. I hope that it was just a fluke and KIA is working hard to fix whatever issue may be going on. All in all my Optima is an amazing vehicle and I would tell you if you were interested in buying one, take one for a test drive.

  8. I recently bought a 2012 Kia Optima and have had it for 2 months with about 3,100 miles on it and it is already in the shop. A part in the engine broke and they have to replace the whole engine!! That is ridiculous for a brand new car!!

    • Hi Brittany,

      Several people have posted about problems with their new Optimas. This is the first time that’s ever happened (multiple posts describing major problems with a new car). It could be there is a major issue with the car. Unfortunately, such things rarely show up during the week I test-drive a new car. If something like that had come up – or had I known about a problem that was objectively verifiable – I would certainly have mentioned it. I’m sorry to hear about your problem with the car and hope Kia handles it to your satisfaction.

  9. I purchased a 2012 Kia Optima on 4/4/12. Seems like every 500 miles the car breaks down. The first problem…oil pump went out at 360 miles on the car. Then at 800 miles, the engine spun a barring. Now as of last night (1236 miles)…there was not a drop of oil in my car. Drove the car an hour from home just to get a phone call telling me to check my oil because it was all over my driveway. Wouldn’t you know, not a bit of oil in the car! It is now 5/21/12 and since I purchased the car, I’ve only been able to drive it less than 2 full weeks. I have to say I still love the new Optima…just not this one! But god forbid you say the word “attorney”…Kia apparently does not like that. This car has been in the shop at the Kia dealership well over the 20 day lemon law limit…but Kia is saying only 8 days. They do not consider the weekend days OR holidays. Then they tried to pass it off that I put bad gas in my car from the get go. Kia filled up my car with has when I bought it and I hadn’t even put gas in it when it broke down the 1st time. Anyways, that’s just dumb seeing as how it’s not a gasoline issue. Then they said I should’ve been checking the fluids on a regular basis. WHY SHOULD I HAVE TO CHECK MY FLUIDS AT A FEW HUNDRED MILES ON A BRAND NEW CAR! They will not admit that they sold me a lemon and replace the car. It’s just not in Kia’s nature to admit fault so don’t expect any help there. To top it all off, they threw a refurbed engine in my car te 2nd time it went into the shop. I could’ve just bought a used car at this point and had been better off. I researched this car for 6 months before I finally decided it was the one for me. Not a single bad review!!!!! I just happened to get the bad apple. Other than my car, it is an awesome vehicle and fun to drive (when it isn’t broken down). πŸ™‚ Now, my car is in the shop again…can’t wait to see the outcome of this one!

  10. I am thinking of purchasing a 2012 Kia Optima EX Luxury Sedan. I live in Canada by the way. How is the Optima for rusting issues? Does it rust easily? What is the noise rating for the car (inside)? Is there a lot of road and wind noise when driving in the city? What about for highway travel at higher speeds – road and wind noise? What about driving on rougher roads – what is the noise like?

    I’ve read that the paint quality might be suspect? Is it durable? Would there be problems going through an automatic carwash and the water pressure that is used? Will it peel or come off under the pressure?

    I would like an honest opinion on this car. Is it a good quality car, one worth buying? What is the longterm outlook for this car? Lots of questions but I don’t want to waste my money.

    At present I’m driving a 2008 Saturn Aura XR which has been a good car so I don’t need a new one. The new car bug is buzzing around and I’m looking at the Optima. As I said, I don’t want to waste my money. I welcome yours and any other comments, positive and/or negative about the 2012 Kia Optima.
    Thanks.

    • I haven’t encountered (or heard about) a premature rust issue with any new/late-model vehicle. They’re very well protected against corrosion at the factory, so I would not be concerned about that at all. NVH (insider talk for wind noise, etc.) is low – but take the car for a test drive yourself to be sure you’re comfortable with it. Paint quality is another almost non-issue with new cars. Modern base-clear finishes are superb and usually still look new ten years down the road. The paint is not going to peel off in a car wash!

      Go check the car out – and also check what current owners are saying about. That ought to help ease your mind. And keep us posted!

  11. Hey guys,

    Catching up late on the convo. Well, I fell in love with and bought the “Belle of the Ball” in early March. A 2012 Corsa Blue Kia Optima SX with the UVO system. What an absolute gorgeous car(you can’t go wrong with any of the colors really) in and out. The Turbo when you need is wonderful and with all the amenities and smoothness of the ride it really makes the driver feel like they are sitting in something special. I also just had my first compliment on the car while getting gas.

    This is my second Kia, I had the basic Rio model, 2008 LX which did not even have cruise control. But that was a neat little car that never gave me a single problem other than wind noise on a rear corner window which they had to work on a few times the first year I had it. Other than that, ZERO problems.

    KIA has come a long way, getting the guy who used to design for AUDI was a major coup. The new line of Optima’s have to be making other competitors in their class very nervous.

    • Good stuff, Brandon!

      I was very impressed by the car (and Kia) as well, as you could probably tell from the review. The Optima looks like a much more expensive car. Personally, I think it looks better than a new BMW – and within a couple of years, I expect they’ll be driving as well or better than BMWs, too.

  12. Eric

    I have had many cars over the years, I am a “car guy “, I had a Outback with the 2.5 EFI engine, the twin cam design, Subaru put the same engine in the Forrester, Outback etc, what I didn’t know was that particular engine, from 1997 to 2003 had the head gasket leak coolant at the back of the engine between the head and the block consistently at 70,000 miles or 180 k and then its a expensive job to fix, $3 to $4k fix !, I noticed Subaru owners in the US had a successful class action against Subaru in the courts, no such luck anywhere else in the world.

    A billion dollor corporation like Subaru lets a design problem go for 6 years and through at least two model changes before they fix the problem ?

    all for money and profit ? tens of thousands of people have been given a dud !

    No wonder the japs are losing out to the koreans !

    • Chris, Subaru surely assed it up with the head gasket issues in the years you mention. Just think of all the thousands of otherwise working vehicles that got thrown in the woods because of HG failure. A bloody shame. They claim to produce a coolant now that reduces the risk of failure in the 97-03 years but I still wouldn’t fool with a car made then.

      That said, I recently drove a new Legacy sedan in a colossal Florida rain storm and I was amazed at how well it handled deep puddles of water. No jittery steering feedback when I hit a 6 inch puddle at 25 mph, it just blasted through. Not sure that kind of stability is worth the price tag, but it was impressive.

      • mikehell

        crap like Subaru pulled only gets found out AFTER the event by reading as many of the online forums as you can, my mistake was only reading the sites after the problem surfaced !, which is often the case, but I wonder if giants like Subaru care enough about the problem, so whats 20 or 30 thousand unhappy customers, who probably will not ever buy another Subaru car again ?

        It SHOULD matter in these tough economic times for car makers, the interesting question is, if the marketing is slick enough most people will buy.

        by the way I used to drive a little Mitsubishi Mirage from Florida up to Carollton GA and got good handling and reliability from said car, till the computor module controlling the engine sensors packed it in. nuff said !

        • yeah, subaru’s marketing is nauseating. All those happy moms driving all their Ritalin-fueled kids to soccer practice, barf barf.

    • I am a big fan of old Subarus. As in, 1980s-era. They were incredibly tough, durable cars. Not glamorous or quick, but they’d go for 300,000 miles – the engines, at least. Current Subarus are overpriced, gas pigs and (from what I gather) not nearly as reliable as they used to be.

      • re: subaru. MPG has gone up significantly with CVT; time will tell if the 2010 engine re-design will lower maintenance. So far the data are looking promising but who knows with new cars these days? So many things can go wrong with them.

  13. Hate to be a spoil sport, but the Kia’s and the Hyundais have poor re sale trade in value, they they drop value much faster than other main stream build cars such as Toyota, Nissan , not defending Toyota etc, but the Korean cars are 3 year cars only .

    Caveat emptor !

    • That’s been true in the past, but I expect it to change. Keep in mind that the current Hyundai-Kia stuff is light years better than the stuff they were selling as recently as three years ago. Meanwhile, the Toyota/Honda stuff is no longer what it once was.

      The resale values will reflect this soon.

        • Don’t get me wrong , the cars are great to drive, but if one breaks down by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere , good luck in getting things fixed on it !!

        • That problem is a general problem with any new car. They’re all harder to work on than pre-modern cars because of their much greater complexity and also their packaging. The engine compartments are typically very tight – and if it’s a transverse engined (FWD) car, accessing things on the other side of the engine can be a real bear!

          The upside is that almost any late-model car will usually not need much more than the occasional fluid/filter changes, brake pads, tires, etc. for the first 8-10 years or so from new.

    • Poor re-sale value? Just traded in my 2011 Hyundai Sonata limited (which I paid $24,500 for on April15 2010. Dealer gave me $19,000 for it.Traded it in on 2013 Kia Optima EX with the Premium Package which I neg. it down to $25,500.

  14. It was a hazy Southern Califonia day in 2011 when I first saw you. Thinking I was not in your league, the high maintaince all those guys staring at you. With that said I never thought you could like a peasant like me. Yet a year later I was able to DRIVE you out the door for under 20k. True Love or Love at First Site. I love you Black Beauty

  15. BTW, a lot of people at work and where I live at just stop to stare at the car. Everybody at work has been asking me for a ride. I got mines white pearl which I think is one of the best, if not the best color for this car. I was searching for the perfect mid size sedan for years now and I wanted it new as it was going to be my first new car. Couldn’t be more happier!

  16. I bought my 2012 kia optima sx with premium touring pckge last week. I’ve been getting 33.4 mpg on the highway and about 24 mixed. Great built quality, drives as smooth and quiet as a Lexus and sporty as an Audi. Only thing that frustrates me is that I can’t test its power until the break in period as it only has 280 miles on it.

    • Hi Fevian,

      While most new cars don’t have a set “break in” schedule as older cars commonly did; usually, the advice given by the manufacturer is to drive moderately (avoiding full throttle run-ups, sudden hard braking, etc.) for the first few hundred miles to give friction parts time to wear-in, which is smart policy to get maximum mileage/performance/longevity out of the engine and drivetrain.

    • Something is wrong – unless you’re driving like me!

      You didn’t say whether you have an EX turbo or regular EX, but either way, both versions ought to average about 25-26 MPG. But if you’re running hard, that could drop to what you’re getting. How fast do you drive?

      • Not a turbo. Not heavy on pedal. Average drivef. Not a speeder, never was. Drive same routes I took my 6 cyl pickup. Got better milage with that. 19 Average. This is 18.5

        • Ok – something’s not right. First (and I’m just asking) are you sure you’re averaging 18.5? I mean, have you actually calculated your consumption yourself, by filling up the tank, noting your mileage, then driving the car to near empty, refilling the tank, taking that number of gallons you added and dividing that by the mileage covered? If yes, and you still come up with 18.5 (or anything like that) your next stop is the dealer. If you aren’t dogging it, you shouldn’t be using this much fuel.

          Keep us posted!

  17. I buy a new car every December. Last year I bought a 2011 Kia Sorento. Never any problems. Perfect car. This year, I decided to buy the 2012 Optima LX with automatic. My wife and I both love the car and think it is waaaaaaaaaay better than that POS new Corolla I bought in 2007. Now that Toyota had some problems.

    I’m definitely a Kia lover all the way. I wouldn’t have said that 5-years ago. Kia has blown by all the Jap competitors. I’ve owned just about every car made and bought and sold cars for 40-years and am a certified mechanic. I see absolutely zero issues with both Kias I’ve owned. Buy one. You won’t be sorry.

    Last but not least, everywhere I go, when I come out of a store I always have the nicest looking car in the parking lot. People drool over how nice it looks. Awesome!

  18. i bought a black optima 2012 (ex) 2weeks ago i love everything about this car the drive is very comfortable pick is great and its giving me almost 500miles in one tank i will give 10 out of 10 to kia optima and will surely recommend it to anyone who want to buy a brand new car in a great price.
    buy EX version as it has almost everything u need leather auto start climate control and other small but important things
    thx

  19. I just brought my 2012 Optima in dark cherry home yesterday! After researching many, many cars over the past few months, I finally decided this was the car for me. I traded in my 2005 Prius (loved the fuel economy but was oh, SO TIRED of the uncomforable drive on my long commute). The Optima is simply a beautiful car, inside and out. Too many amenities to count, and the fuel economy (which is still important to me) is still within my target range. Just thrilled with the purchase. This article (which I hadn’t read before today) is a nice confirmation for me.

  20. Confused by all the clutter that does not discuss Optima.

    I recently purchased a 2012 Optima with no prior experience with this brand. I don’t even KNOW someone who owns one. I have owned Honda and liked it but wanted a family sedan that didn’t yell “OLD LADY DRIVER”.

    I LOVE THIS CAR. As I work with many people who can actually afford the luxury sedans, I was quite taken aback when everyone I worked with wanted to know whose new car that was in the parking lot and was it really a KIA?!! Then there was a rush of people wanting to sit in it. Really, these are not people I can easily impress, but I did with a budget priced family sedan.

    I still cannot believe it’s a 4 cylinder engine. I’ve driven a V-6 for the past 10 years and can only tell the difference when I continually get to pass gas stations without filling up.

    This car is just amazing.

    • Barb, my sentiments exactly about the unrelated “clutter.”

      I totally agree with you about getting something that didn’t scream “old lady driver” (like I’m sure the Mercury Marquis I formerly drove and traded in screamed). Like Dee, I purchased the 2012 Optima, in dark cherry, on Dec. 31. Love, love, love the color.

      My seven-year-old granddaughter accompanied me on the test drive and fell in love with it. I was sold. It is a pleasure to drive.

  21. The only bad thing I have to say about the Optima is “what about daytime running lights???” The Sonata has them, and they are pretty much a standard feature in this segment as they should be. It’s hard to understand why Kia didn’t include DRLs in what is otherwise such a nice vehicle. I’ll end up having to get the fog lights wired as DRLs post-purchase or something like that.

    • Hi Roy,

      The value of DRLs in a country with normal light conditions (and assuming competent) drivers is very debatable/ For example, DRLs add “visual clutter” to the driving environment; they make it harder to see motorcycles and emergency vehicles and pick them out from the surrounding traffic. They also produce glare. And, because it takes energy to burn headlights, they increase energy consumption. I oppose DRLs for markets such as the US, which has normal light conditions. I hope they are never made mandatory and I am happy several automakers still haven’t made them standard equipment.

  22. Is the 2.0 Turbocharged trim available in a 6 speed? If it’s only available in the automatic that is a HUGE con and would be a total deal-breaker for me. If I’m buying a 4cyl with that much power, it has to have a manual transmission. That’s the one think I hated about the V-6 Honda Accord, the 6 speed is only available in the 2dr….only auto in the 4dr πŸ™

    • When I tested the car earlier this year, it was automatic-only with that engine – which I agree is a negative. On the other hand, there are other sporty/performance cars that are automatic-only and maintain a following; one example being AMG Benzes. The Nissan Maxima also still sells well, even though it’s no longer offered with a manual, either.

  23. I had the pleasure of driving one of these as a rental car recently and am now considering one. Sleek design, great interior, and runs smoothly. Only minor complaint is that it’s rather hard to see out of the rearview (shouldn’t come as a surprise from looking at the car given the huge slant). But overall it’s a good value and probably my favorite new 2012 car that I’m considering.

  24. I’m a little late in replying to this, but getting back to the article itself, I have the Optima in the photos. Same color combo. I have owned MANY vehicles over the years and can say that I have NEVER had as many compliments and “what kind of car?” questions asked as I have had with this vehicle. I truly love it. There are a couple of issues with it, none of which are major, so for me – it’s a win/win!! Love this vehicle. I’m very surprised that I don’t see more of them on the road. Guess it’s the economy. For me, though, that’s good because I have one of only a few of them that you’ll see on the roads. Beautifully designed sporty looking vehicle inside and out. Great job Kia!!

    • Hey Tom,

      That was my experience, too, when I had the Optima for a week. Meanwhile, most people paid no attention to the $70,000 BMW 7 series I had a couple weeks earlier….

    • Tom, I too purchased the SX and could’nt be happier. A freind of my daughters works at a nearby car dealership and knew I was testing out used BMW’S. 3 Series mostly. He told me I needed to test drive a car on his lot but wouldnt tell me the name in fear that I wouldnt come over. When I did drive the SX I was astounded by the feel and the overall smoothness of engine accelleration. Very happy with this car. I too get a lot of looks and questions about this car. Very Euro but athletic looking at the same time.

      • We do have a local Kia dealership here (Fredericksburg, VA), and they advertise heavily on the radio and tv. Very effectively, too. The lady who owns or manages the dealership ends the ads with, “And please, don’t you leave until you see me.”

        I might even look at Kia, except I can’t quite get over my love affair with Toyota. Also, it would be a bit disconcerting to drive a car with a name that is also the initials for “killed in action.” lol

  25. As a writer, I’d like to compliment you on your excellent grammar and skill. As someone looking to perhaps buy an Optima in the near future, I’d like to thank you for your thoughtful review. But as someone who follows politics, I have to say that you scare the hell out of me.

    Normally people who hold your views couldn’t write a coherent sentence if their lives depended on it. A well-spoken, articulate person like you, who believes what you do and promotes the ideas that you do, is enough to give any reasonable person nightmares.

    • Hi Doug,

      Thanks – and welcome!

      I’m curious as to why my advocacy of Libertarian ideas frightens you. Bear in mind that my fundamental moral principle is the principle of non-initiation of violence. I oppose – and loathe – all forms of theft, violence against individuals and repression of individuals – whether by other individuals or groups of individuals acting under the auspices of “the government.” With regard to the latter, I especially loathe our current turgid militarism, empire-seeking and rape of civil liberties.

      Why would any of that be frightening to anyone – except a Clover?

      PS: The Optima’s a great car; if you haven’t done it yet, go take one out for a test drive. Beyond how it drives – and the great value it represents – I also think it’s one of the nicest looking cars on the road right now.

      • I also find it strange that people fear libertarians. Since libertarians reject for lack of a better word – criminality, it is hard for me to understand what would make any rational person fears us. Maybe it is because we want to be able to just live our lives and allow others to do the same? Gee what a horrible concept.

        • That is a “horrible concept” for sure. I will NEVER understand it, but some people (a lot of people)can’t stand to leave others be. I don’t give a crap what anyone does, has, or wants to do. All I want is people to leave me alone. How simple is that! -impossible

          • You’re one of the few – but be proud!

            As frustrating as dealing with our Clover-encrusted society can be, I take a lot of personal pride in trying to live my life on the basis of the principles I espouse. There’s a great country song that says it better than I ever could: “I don’t want nothin’ from no one, if I can’t get it on my own. You don’t like the way I’m living? You just leave this long-haired country boy alone!”

            I point out to people that it’s not cool to steal – whether you do it personally or by voting to do it.

            I tell people I am not comfortable with the idea of threatening people who haven’t done anything to me or anyone else with violence – whether I do it myself or vote to have a gang (the government) do it for me.

            I tell people that I think the voluntary society is the best possible humanity society because it would be the most free – and least violent – society. You’d think liberals especially would like that, but I have discovered that liberals are among the most mean-spirited violent – and personally cowardly – people you’ll find.

        • Those that fear libertarian thought have been brought up to believe and are convinced of the idea that government protects us from evils. They believe that government does good. They believe that people are basically selfish or worse and can be made good at by force of law. Libertarians are the most selfish because taxes to them are “giving” or the “price of living in society” Like Clover they do not believe there is violence behind the system and define society/civilization as the state/government.

          I think the key to breaking through to people may be educating them that the government is influenced by, effectively run by and for the people we were taught in government school that government protects us from. How the robber baron families got into banking, founded the NGOs, set tax,”public”, and foreign policy (for their own benefit of course). A prime example is how we got government schools in the first place.

        • I’ve never understood it, either. Well, I take that back. I do, to some extent. Low-grade Clovers fear Libertarianism because they’re fearful people, the type who easily buy into the “safety” and “security” shibboleths presented to them by higher-grade Clovers such as politicians, who are in it for the power and prestige that comes from controlling others via the machinery of the government.

          Both types instinctively distrust/dislike allowing individuals to exercise their own best judgment and live their lives as they see fit. They often equate Libertarianism with “selfishness” (because of our opposition to being forced at gunpoint to “help” whomever the Clovers decide “needs” our money) and see it as “anti-social” because we reject all forms of coercive group-think and group-do.

          Another poster here suggested re-classifying humanity into two distinct groups: People who have no desire to coerce anyone to do anything, who have no interest in taking anyone else’s property for any reason except by mutual voluntary consent – and the Clovers.

          We’re probably 10 percent (no more) of the population, so it’s going to be an uphill battle.

          • Eric ,

            below is a quote from the ” Daily Reckoning”

            It comes from the Age another Murdoch owned piece of trash ……I quote …

            …..Melbourne’s The Age newspaper. On the rare occasion you do find an opinion in the news, it’s usually best left unread. Unless you’re in the mood for a good laugh.

            Well, Chris Middendorp might just be our new favourite comedic writer. The title of his piece? (Are you ready?)

            “A caring state is no nanny, it is doing its job.”

            Your editor nearly spat his Burger Rings into the next aisle when he read that one. “A caring state.” Ha! The favourable personification of a non-human entity. The slavish, drooling adoration of one’s own keeper. This had to be one of the most poorly disguised cases of political Stockholm Syndrome we’d ever come across. But there’s more. Here’s a choice quote from a little later in the piece:

            “Our government exists specifically to represent the best interests of citizens.”

            Seriously. Did you read that, Fellow Reckoner? Bill Hicks had a line for this too: “Go back to sleep, citizen. Your government has everything under control.”

            Of course, Bill Hicks actually was funny…as in, funny to laugh with, not at. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The author has more for us. Here he is again, struggling to explain something so simple it needs no explaining at all:

            “Bodies that aggressively advocate free market economics are most vocal in their criticism of what they consider to be government meddling.”

            Well…Yes! Free market advocates would be opposed to unfree, para-market intrusions, wouldn’t they? We would think it might even go without saying…for the same reason we don’t bother to accuse assault and battery victims of (aggressively?) defending themselves against “what they consider to be punches and kicks.”

            What fuels this hatred for freedom of choice, we wondered. Further along we get to Mr. Middendorp’s primary vexation: Individual responsibility

            “The central point is that human behaviour is often problematic,” he writes, winding up for the punchline. “We cannot rely on individuals to behave responsibly.”

            The Socialists and Elites just mouth this stuff…..worse they believe it ! and for a real libertarian like me they inhabit the universities and halls of power ! so go figure !

          • @ Chris: Middendorp is quoted as saying, β€œWe cannot rely on individuals to behave responsibly.” Arrrrgghhhhhh. Typical arrogance from the descendants of the Progressive movement. He’s really saying, “We cannot rely on individuals to behave in a way that I think is responsible.” It’s like when Herr Clinton was asked why it would be so bad for people to keep more of their own money, and he replied that they might not spend it the right way.

            The progressives were the most arrogant bunch of people I’ve ever heard of. They really did (and do) believe that they know how we mundanes should lead our lives better than we do, so they have no hesitation in mandating or forbidding behaviors…for our own good. In their sick world view, if we would just recognize their all-knowing, all-seeing, all-benevolent natures, we would obey and be happy.

            Just take a look at some of the awful things they have wrought: the Federal Reserve; an imperial foreign policy; the income tax; compulsory government schooling; direct election of senators; zoning and myriad other regulatory laws; non-objective law (this is huge, but would take volumes to explain fully); propaganda as a normal tool of government; political power concentrated in the Fuehrer (oops, president); laws made by the executive branch instead of Congress (i.e., so-called administrative law); involvement of the state in marriage; eugenics; mercantilism such as professional licensing laws; crony capitalism; ad nauseum. Yes, some of those categories overlap; no help for that, since those jackals are so pervasive.

            For the philosophical roots of the movement, see Plato’s “Republic” (especially the parable of the cave) and Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason.” Kant’s book, ironically, was published the same year as the Declaration of Independence.

        • They are “Scared” because they have been told to think of political terrorists as “Mommy and Daddy” – for there entire lives. Most children are afraid of those who reject the concept of “parents” and not necessarily the concepts of peace and freedom.

          It is a VERY effective propaganda technique.

    • Is the second half of your comment meant to be satire?

      “Normally people who hold your views couldn’t write a coherent sentence if their lives depended on it.”

      Which tells me you have ZERO experience with these views, because I’ve found the true liberty-minded (not to be confused with the “TSA and million-man standing army = liberty” types)to be among the most articulate, sane, and logical folks you’ll find anywhere.

      War is peace, freedom is slavery, reason is unreasonable.

      I honestly don’t know why these comments even surprise me anymore….

  26. I would provide one exception to the long warranty=reliable equation: Chrysler products. Recently they started offering very long warranties on some of their. Ehicles in order to compete with GM who was also lengthening their warranties. This was a bad move as the engineering at Chrysler had not caught up. They’re still suffering from that one.

    That said, Hyundai and Kia have really built up a head of steam over the past ten years or so. They have successfully started to make the transition from “cheap” to “value” especially in the past few years. With successes like the Genesis from Hyundai and the Optima from Kia, they’re looking to pull the same trick on the Japanese car companies that they pulled on American car companies about 30 years ago. Better quality at a lower price. Hurrah for competition.

    I remember talking to the second I command at one of the largest dealerships in Louisiana. They sold GM, Honda, and Hyundai at the particular site I was at. He told me that they sold more Hyundais than they did Hondas yet only needed one mechanic certified on Hyundai vs about four for Honda (and loose to twenty for GM, though they sold the most of them). He told me a story that in about 2003 or ’04, a Hyundai engineer from Korea actually toured several dealerships with Hyundai execs talking to the mechanics as well as dealership owners. They were trying to find out why their. Ads weren’t selling as well as they predicted. They discovered that electrical problems plagued the cars and traced it to a poorly designed electrical coupler used throughout the car. A couple of years later, the flaw was fixed and the repairs dropped dramatically with few other changes. They’ve been as reliable or more so ever since, from the dealer’s perspective, and sales have skyrocketed.

    Amazing how the free market system rewards good work and penalizes those who stand still.

    • It is one thing to have one longest warranties in the industry, but it is another thing when you have to sit in the dealership every Monday night to have yet another problem checked on your new car.

    • I recently purchased my 2012 Optima.. I took the dual sunroof because well I’m 5’3 head room is not an issue πŸ™‚ But I have to say that I did get the tech package and while the speakers are excellant.. when it rains like today they don’t work πŸ™ horrible to drive 1 1/2hrs to work with no sound at all!!!! Overall I LOVE my Kia.
      This is my first brand new car and I’m loving seeing milage under 100k πŸ™‚

    • I purchased a 2012 Optima SX (31,800) on 1-13-2012 and today the dealer bought it back ($5,000 loss for me). The car pulls left and they can not fix it. Check out the KIA Optima Forum site. This is a well documented problem that KIA can not figure out yet they keep selling the car. It is a dangerous situation and very annoying. I would rather take the loss and get rid of the car than have to drive it for the next several years. KIA should be made to fix the problem or buy the car back at the selling price. It is not right the buyer gets stuck with this dangerous issue.

      • I have a kia 2013 optima I has steering pulling to left from day one has been back to kia 4 times they have spent hours doing 4 wheel alingment at three diffrent kia dealer and they cannot fix the pulling 6000 klms and no betters now than day one this model has steering issue that kia can not fix

        • Hi Marshall,

          Sorry to hear about this. You might want to check into your state’s Lemon Law – you may be able to get Kia to buy the car back.

          Keep us posted!

          • Agreed Eric. I had a almost similar problem with a new Bronco II, Ford kept telling me all was well and kept sending me home as is. Turned out it was an improperly jigged/ welded /assembled rear end. Two years later they had to give me all my money back under the lemon law.

    • Hey Everyone,

      I came across this thread because I have been vigorously researching negatives about the Optima SX… and I honestly can NOT find ANYTHING. I’m currently driving an Acura, and I would have never have thought that I would trade it in for a Kia. Like everyone else, I truly see the value, but am concerned for the reliability down the road. I understand Kia offers 10yr/100k warranty, but more concerned with the materials (as in buttons fading, the power moonroof shades failing, cooling seats stop working after 3yrs, power folding mirrors breaking, etc.) since I will probably drive this vehicle for the next 5-7 years. My 04′ Acura looks brand new, and has nothing wrong with it, but I would like more features.

      Therefore I am in a position where I don’t NEED a new car but it seems that I WANT a new car, and it happens to be a KIA. Can you guys offer me some insight? Do you think the quality will be there in 5 years?

      • The only thing I know for certain is that recent vintage Kias have a good record – high customer satisfaction scores and few major recalls for defects or other issues.

        The truth is that until a given car model has been in service for at least five years or so, it’s hard to do more than generalize based on the past performance of that brand.

        But all in all, I’d take the risk as Kia the company seems to be squared away and its cars seem to be well-built, etc.

      • You get what you paid for… I bought a 2012 Optima EX fully loaded and within the first 30 days I have already taken the car back for service 8 times, too many small issues. This is my 6th week driving the car and now the driver heated seat is not working among other electrical issues. Now I regret trading my old simple car for new car with more toys and more issues… 2012 Optima may be a new car design with lots of toys, but you know what they say Kia is a Kia and will not be your Toyota or Honda. Kia still has a long way to go.

        • Thank you, both, for your honest opinion. As you can see, Eric thinks it’d be worth the risk, as “Sha” is dealing with issues. However, it seems that Sha bought a fluke. I’m in awe that you put all that time into commuting back and forth to the dealership within one month. If I were you, I’d probably go with lemon law (you’ll get somewhere dealing with corporate-it won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it in the end).

          Eric- It’s been about a week now since I test drove the car…and although I love everything about the car-the interior still haunts me. I’m hesitant about the quality of them. For example, the power window buttons are straight up plastic-it feels as if I was going to snap it in half when I apply the button. As well as the buttons one the steering wheel. Other than that, if the fit and finish (interior) was just a little bit better, I’d consider a KIA. Hell, it’d probably be sitting in my driveway right now.

          In my opinion, I think the SX or new Limited model(s) should have “nicer to the touch” materials on the inside, than the lower trimmed models.

          • Overall, my point of my last thread was that a few buttons are holding me back from purchasing a vehicle. Sounds crazy, but something as simple as that, is very important to me.

          • Well, few cars are perfect – and plastic abounds (even on high-end cars). The upside is it’s usually cheap if it breaks and easy enough (usually) to replace. I’d be much less concerned about, say, a plasticky (and possibly chipped/broken downthe road) door pull or power window switch than something like a defective transmission or blown head gasket.

          • **Update** I couldn’t stop thinking about the car and had to take a 2nd test drive…Long story short, I went to another dealer and they made an awesome deal that I couldn’t refuse. I signed papers and took delivery of an 12′ Optima SX Premium Package today. I actually met a guy there who was trading in a Lexus ES350 for one…

        • My problem is that the driver side started feeling like the low setting of the heated seats was on all the time after owning it for 8 days! The dealership ran some tests on it and say nothing shows up as being wrong with it. Anyone else ever have this????

          • Hi Deb,

            You could probably determine whether this is “in your head” (not saying it is, just for the sake of discussion) by either pulling the fuse on the circuit that controls the seat heaters or disconnecting the electrical connection at the seat itself. Then you can drive the car and see whether it feels like the seat heater’s on when it’s off.

            PS: I have to ask: You’re sure the control button for the heater is completely off? Double check this first….

        • In regards to my 2012 Kia Optima, I wanted to chime in that I have also had my drivers seat heater go out. The part has now been on order for two weeks and I am told that it will be another two weeks as it is on back-order. I have also had issues when backing-up with a very loud beep that goes off. I backed out of my garage and a horrible loud beep went off in the car and there was no indication of what it was. It was a different beep than one gets when the car does not detect the key fob within range. The beep went away when I put the car in park. (I do not have proximity sensors on my car so it was not a beep to indicate that I was too close to an object). The service center tells me that this could have been the case as some are equipped with this, but mine is not. I drove to the service center and had them check as I was not sure what to look for to see if this was a feature on my car. Has anyone else had this issue and if so, were you able to find out what it was? Additionally, I have had problems with a very noticeable and large lag that happens when I push on the gas to get out in traffic? It does not happen all the time, but when it does it is very scary. Basically, you can feel the power kick in, then the power lags as if the engine has no power, and then you can feel the power kick in again. Not sure if I am explaining this well). Has anyone had this issue before with their Kia Optima? We have been Chevy owners for about 20 years, and decided to give Kia a try as the Optima is a beautiful car, but now I am really regretting my decision. Our Chevy’s have rarely had a problem so this is a real first to have a car with less than 4,000 miles on it have problems. Any advice on these problems?

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