2012 Kia Optima

LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4 man trans

2012 kia optima Reviews and News

2012 Kia Optima Limited Front Three Quarter In Motion
The Kia brand's bold design language, under styling chief -- and Automobile Magazine Man of the Year -- Peter Schreyer, is perhaps most impressive on the Optima mid-size sedan, which was unveiled at the 2010 New York auto show. Consumers took note, snapping up 84,590 Optimas in 2011, nearly doubling the nameplate's previous best year. (That number, however, still puts the model far behind class leaders such as the Toyota Camry, the Nissan Altima, and the Honda Accord, all of which sold more than 250,000 copies last year.) Kia officials expect to move even more Optimas in 2012, as production at the company's two-year-old factory in West Point, Georgia, ramps up fully.
The Optima is currently the largest and most expensive sedan in Kia's U.S. lineup. That will remain the case for at least the next several months, as Kia won't yet confirm whether the larger Cadenza (a.k.a. the K7) will be sold here. Expect an announcement on this front sometime this summer, when we will likely also learn if we'll get the rear-wheel-drive Kia K9, which is just making its debut at the Geneva show.
In the meantime, Kia has added the top-of-the-line Limited to the Optima lineup. The "Drive the Dream" Super Bowl commercial with Adriana Lima, Motley Crue, and Chuck Liddell actually marked the debut of the Limited, although you might have missed that nuance while watching the overstimulating ninety-second ad.
The Limited itself is a bit of a nuance, too, since it's not a trim level but merely a $3300 option package for the top-of-the-line SX models equipped with the $4350 "SX Technology & Premium Package." Making your Optima a Limited adds only cosmetic touches: softer leather upholstery, LED daytime running lights, chrome wheels, red-painted front brake calipers, chrome-accented side sills and a similarly finished rear spoiler, subtle wood interior trim, nicer material for the headliner, and, yes, a first-aid kit. Also, a blue "L" badge is installed next to the "SX" lettering on the trunk lid, so you could actually call it the Optima SXL.
The $34,900 Limited is as fancy as you can build an Optima; the required technology/premium package means that it also includes navigation, a cool panoramic sunroof, an upgraded stereo, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seat cushions. Kia's head product planner, Ralph Tjoa, says that the Limited is designed to appeal to buyers who previously owned luxury cars such as the Lexus ES, the Nissan Maxima, the Toyota Avalon, and the Volkswagen CC. "These buyers expect more," Tjoa says, pointing out that they're able to pay for more, as 27 percent of Optima buyers have an annual household income of more than $100,000.
A base Optima -- still a very nice car -- starts at $21,750. About half of Optima buyers so far have sprung for the upper EX, EX Turbo, or SX trim levels, so Kia figures that about ten percent will opt for the Optima Limited.
Those customers should be quite happy with their purchase, as the feature-filled car drives exactly like any other turbocharged Optima. It rides smoothly (more smoothly, in fact, than pretty much every other Korean car on the market), it handles better than most mid-size-car buyers will ever require, it steers pretty well, and it accelerates quickly and unobtrusively. We drove the Optima mostly on Florida interstates, and we considered driving it all the way north to Michigan rather than catch our flight early the next morning. Snowbirds who often make the I-75 trek would adore this car, as would style-conscious people who seek moderate driving satisfaction.
Our only complaints about the Limited trim level are that the chrome wheels and the red brake calipers look decidedly aftermarket (and not in a good way) and that the tack-on rear spoiler looks like it was pulled off another car.
Optimas with the Limited package will reach dealers in the next few weeks bearing, as previously noted, an MSRP of $34,900. In other Optima sales news, the hybrid model, which went on sale last summer on the coasts, will be rolled out in the rest of the country by early May, but won't get the Limited package.
2012 Kia Optima
2012 Kia Optima
This sedan was all new for 2011 and hasn't seen many updates for the 2012 model year. Aside from a few optional features becoming standard on some trim levels, the Optima remains unchanged. That's not a bad thing, though. Exterior styling has not been touched, thankfully. Bold lines and sporty proportions give the Kia four-door a whole lot of curb appeal at a price that isn't going to keep your kids from going to college someday. The Optima is based on the Hyundai Sonata, but the two cars share no exterior body panels. Using the same running gear as the Sonata, the base engine for the Optima is a 198-hp direct-injected four-cylinder. A 274-hp turbocharged in-line four and a hybrid-drive model round out the power choices. The hybrid gets excellent fuel economy, as expected, but this isn't the most polished hybrid system in the segment. The base engine, actually, gets very good fuel economy, and the turbo adds lots of power without much of a fuel economy penalty. This latest Optima has little to do with the milquetoast Optima sedans that came before. The current version is larger and rides on a longer wheelbase that frees up an additional 2.9 inches of legroom. Available high-end features include heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and a 500-watt Infinity sound system. The 2012 Optima will be built in Kia's plant in West Point, Georgia, alongside the Sorento. Optima hybrids, however, will still be imported from Korea.
Kia Optima Kinetic Motorsports Tent
Going up against such established models as the Ford Mustang, Porsche Cayman and others, few thought the Kia Optima would be a formidable contender in the Pirelli World Challenge series. But the brand's midsize sedan has surprised many in its rookie season, finishing fourth overall in manufacturer and driver standings for the season. Kia's duo of seasoned drivers, Michael Galati and Mark Wilkins, have helped put the brand in a strong position for next year's racing season.
Kia Optima Race Car 36 Michael Galati
Most of us know the Kia Optima as a stylish, value-packed midsize sedan. But this weekend, Kia proved its mettle as a serious motorsports competitor by taking the victory in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class in rounds 8 and 9 at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, about 46 miles east of Toronto. Drivers Michael Galati, driving the #36 Optima, took first place in round 8, with his teammate Mark Wilkins taking first in Sunday's round 9 race.
Kia K9 Front Three Quarter
The new, rear-drive Kia K9 officially goes on sale in Korea this week and now we have more details on its powertrain choices and features. The automaker first unveiled its new flagship sedan earlier this year.
2011 Kia Optima Right Three Quarter
Kia sold 84,590 Optima mid-size sedans last year – three times what it sold in 2010. Kia is expected to increase production of the Optima by 60,000 units at its West Point, Georgia plant. The Korean automaker expanded it capacity at West Point by the same amount last year. Kia told Automotive News that it would use the increase to meet demand of the Kia Optima in North America.

Change Vehicle

Research Now

Used 2012 Kia Optima Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price

Free Price Quote

Compare dealer clearance prices and save.
Select this Vehicle

Compare The 2012 Kia Optima

Click Circles to Compare

Your Selected Vehicle's Ranking

2012 Kia Optima
2012 Kia Optima
LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
24 MPG City | 35 MPG Hwy
Top Ranking Vehicles - MPG
2012 Kia Rio
EX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
30 MPG City | 40 MPG Hwy
2012 Kia Optima
2012 Kia Optima
LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
Top Ranking Vehicles - Price
2012 Kia Optima
2012 Kia Optima
LX FWD 4-Dr Sedan I4
Top Ranking Vehicles - Horsepower

2012 Kia Optima Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.4L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
24 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
35 MPG
200 hp @ 6300rpm
186 ft lb of torque @ 4250rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control (optional)
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer RearABS
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
60,000 miles / 60 months
100,000 miles / 120 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Best Pick
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength

Find Used Kia Optimas For Sale

Search through millions of listings in the Automobile Magazine classifieds