Used Car Review

2015 Kia Optima: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Joe Tralongo October 2016

The 2015 Kia Optima outshines other midsize family sedans with its stunning styling, dynamic performance and great value. The Optima offers a range of engine choices, including a hybrid model and a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that delivers excellent performance with decent fuel economy.

Kia equips the Optima with numerous standard features, as well as a few high-end options that you won't find in any competitor. Another advantage the Optima holds over its rivals is its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is rolled back to 5 years/60,000 miles when you buy used. However, if you purchase a certified pre-owned (CPO) Optima, the original warranty is reinstated.

For 2015, the Optima received laminated glass on all but the base model, had the cruise-control buttons relocated to the steering wheel's right side, and saw its UVO2 telematics upgraded with speed-alert and curfew-reminder parental controls.

What We Like

Gorgeous styling; powerful engine options; good fuel economy; roomy interior; impressive features; great warranty; good crash-test scores

What We Don't

Front passenger seat sits too low; limited rear-seat headroom; some of the interior plastics feel a bit cheap

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The Optima's base engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that produces 192 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic with manual shift control is standard. Fuel economy for this engine is rated at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined.

The SX Turbo and Limited models have a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that's good for 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy figures are not far from the base 2.4, with an estimated 20 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

The Optima Hybrid uses a slightly less powerful version of the 2.4-liter engine teamed with a 47-hp electric motor, and the combined engine output is 199 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 36 mpg city/40 mpg hwy/38 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The Kia Optima is offered in seven trims: LX, EX, SX, SX Turbo, SX Limited, LX Hybrid and EX Hybrid.

The Optima LX features power windows, power locks, power mirrors, keyless entry, a manual driver's seat with power lumbar, 16-inch steel wheels, manual air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD stereo with satellite radio and a USB/iPod port, Bluetooth connectivity, fog lights, heated outside mirrors, auto headlights, an air-conditioned glove box and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with cruise and audio controls. Standard safety equipment includes front side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, and electronic traction and stability control.

The EX adds a power driver's seat, a rearview camera, smart-key keyless entry and push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED taillights, rear vents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 17-in alloy wheels and leather seating.

The SX trim brings 18-in alloy wheels, a unique leather interior, steering-wheel paddle shifters, a sport suspension, a rear spoiler, additional soft-touch interior parts and Kia's supervision instrument cluster with an LCD display. The SX Turbo gains HID headlights, a D-shaped steering wheel and Drive Mode Select.

The SX Limited adds the Premium and Technology packages from the SX's options list, plus the turbocharged engine, Nappa leather seating, LED daytime running lights, red brake calipers and 18-in chrome wheels.

The Optima Hybrid LX includes the same features as the gasoline-powered LX, plus automatic climate control, smart-key keyless entry and push-button ignition, power-folding side mirrors, an Active ECO switch and a rearview camera. Unique to the hybrid is an instrument cluster with hybrid-powertrain readouts and aerodynamic 16-in alloy wheels.

The Optima Hybrid EX has much of the EX trim's features, including leather seats, 8-speaker Infinity audio, UVO and aerodynamic 17-in wheels but adds on HID headlights, an interior mood lamp, a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, heated and cooling front seats, memory for driver's-seat and mirror positions, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The panoramic sunroof is a stand-alone option.

Optional on the LX is the Convenience package that includes an 8-way power driver's seat and 16-in alloy wheels.

Optional on the LX, EX and SX Turbo trims is the Technology package, which adds an 8-speaker Infinity audio system, navigation radio, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a blind spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert, as well as, on the LX trim, a power driver's seat.

The Premium package offered on the EX and SX Turbo adds a panoramic sunroof, a 4-way power passenger seat, the UVO in-vehicle voice-activated infotainment system, Infinity audio, driver's-seat memory, heated and cooling front seats, heated rear seats, power-folding side mirrors, a heated steering wheel and wood trim. It should be noted that the addition of the navigation system to any trim deletes the UVO system where applicable.

The normally aspirated SX trim offers a Premium Technology package that combines the EX's Technology and Premium packages into one bundle.

Pricing

The Kia Optima holds strong resale values that are almost on par with the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. However, because the Optima usually costs less when new, you should be able to find a nicely equipped model with more features than most similarly priced competitors. To get a good idea of the Optima's price range, we suggest checking out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are currently for sale in your area.

Recalls

At this time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued no recalls for the 2015 Kia Optima.

Should a recall occur in the future, it's important to remember that recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you. You can also check the NHTSA website: Simply enter your vehicle's identification number for a list of performed recall repairs.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

As for safety, the Optima performs very well in NHTSA's crash tests, scoring five out of five stars in the front, side and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Optima its best rating of Good in all but the small-overlap front crash test, in which it earned an Acceptable rating. IIHS also awarded the Optima a Top Safety Pick.

The Optima has a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty. The 10-year/100,000-mile original powertrain warranty is not transferable and applies only to the original owner. However, Kia also offers CPO cars, which are sold through Kia dealers after undergoing a 150-point inspection. Certified cars are given a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the original date the car was placed into service (basically transferring the original owner's warranty to you), plus the remainder of the original bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Honda Accord -- The Accord isn't as stylish or feature-rich as the Optima, but it does hold slightly better resale values and reliability ratings. The Accord also offers the option of a V6 engine.

2015 Toyota Camry -- When compared to the Optima, the Camry's design is bolder than past models but still leans toward the conservative side. The Camry holds better resale ratings than the Optima and has a larger rear seat and also offers a V6 engine as an option. However, the Camry can't match the Optima's warranty, hp or performance.

2015 Hyundai Sonata -- The Hyundai Sonata shares the same platform and engines as the Optima, offers equally attractive styling (but with a few less optional features) and costs a bit less.

Autotrader's Advice

The base 2.4-liter engine has all the power and fuel economy required, so we'd opt for a model with this engine over the more expensive turbo. An LX with the Technology package is a great find, but if you must have leather seats and a few more bells and whistles, the EX is the way to go. Those seeking the hybrid's improved fuel economy will likely find that the EX trim offers the most features per dollar.

Find a Kia Optima for sale

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Used 2015 Kia Optima LX
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Used 2015 Kia Optima EX
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Used 2015 Kia Optima LX
Used 2015 Kia Optima
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Kia Optima: Used Car Review - Autotrader