Pros Ride, handling, quality, fit, trim and materials inside and out. Great combination of power, handling, safety and fuel economy. And it is just plain FUN TO DRIVE and is a great looking car. I feel like I got a higher end car for much less than a Beamer or
Cons No major cons, great car and value for the price. It's loaded with standard and optional features! I've owned it a month and love how it rides in the city and highway. Nice quiet ride on both.
Summary I love this car and it has been fund to drive. I highly recommend it.
Pros Great styling, Plenty of power, Excellent Fit & Finish.
Cons Can't get cruise control with manual transmission. No Manual Transmission option with turbo.
Summary I ended up with the lower trim (LX) because I wanted the stick. Sacrificed heated side mirrors, dual zone climate control, alloy wheels and the panoramic sunroof. Fine with me. Don't want a sunroof. One more thing to break.
Handling is outstanding for a car in this segment. If you're considering Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, you owe it to yourself to drive this car first. So much more for the money.
Pros Only had an opportunity to drive the EX 2.4 in urban environment, no interstates. Car was very nimble and responsive, had a great feel in the seating, steering wheel, control areas. Looks are beautiful, sort of a small step down from the beauty of a Lexus
Cons Didn't see any.
Summary If I were shopping for a 4-dr sedan for under 30k, this car might be the one. Very impressive.
Pros Stylish, sporty, gas mileage, features.
Cons The voice activation sucks.
Summary Compare this car with features such as leather, moon roof, satellite radio, etc. against a Fusion, Altima, or Mazda 6 and you'll find that for all 4 cylinder models of these cars that the Optima has the best gas mileage, most horsepower, and lowest price. Its a no-brainer.
Pros The styling is a home run. I get compliments on it all the time. There are a ton of features that don't even exist in compeditor's cars, like ventilated seats.
Cons The Bluetooth connectivity seems to be finicky with certain phones. The gas mileage is not as advertised. I get around 24.5 mpg in mixed driving, about 70% highway, I expected better. Headroom comprimised by sunroof. Some report bad dealer experinces
Summary This car really is great value for money. I purchased it because my 2009 Mazda 6 startet falling apart at 36,000 miles, right after the warranty was up. I have a toddler at home, so I don't have the time or money to mess around with a car that breaks down. So, Kia/Hyundai's excellent warranty was a plus for me. I tested both the Sonata and the Optima, and I preferred the way the Optima looked and drove. And the ventilated seats sold me. The Optima has a ride that is a little sportier than the Sonata. I would recommend trying both though, it's really a matter of taste, they both have the same drivetrain and warranty.
The real world mileage isn't that great though. Had I known I was going to get V-6 type mileage, I may have gone for the Fusion V-6, which drives very well. I will say that others report better numbers than I do, but I'm not a leadfoot.
The transmission is great though, and I get compliments on the car all the time. That is rare in this car segment. Our other car is a Camry, and it just blends in with the background. This car stands out. There are other cars coming online in the next few months that may eclipse this car, a new Mazda 6, new Accord and the new Fusion. But I think that the Optima, now entering it's third year in production is very contemporary, and will remain at or near the top of the class in terms of styling and value. Recent reports show an increase in resale value as well, although not to the level of Toyota and Honda.
While legroom is ample, headroom is at a premium with the panoramic sunroof option. I fit in the car, but just barely, I'm about 6'1" and my hair brushes the headliner unless I adjust the seat just so. It was difficult to get a comfortable position but I fit. The same goes for the back seat, which isn't as wide as the Camry or Mazda 6. In those cars, you could fit two adults alongside our son's child safety seat comfortably, but not in the Optima. It's a much tighter fit.
Tech is great. The Infinity stereo really does sound great, and there is plenty of connectivity. There is bluetooth streaming as well, but no meta tags on the music. You can control the tracks remotely though, and some luxury cars can't do that. The bluetooth phone sound is really great, but be warned, not every phone works with this car. I had a Samsung Fascinate, and it would not stay paired with the car. Later, I had a HTC Incredible 2 that worked great until a software update. Kia has a compatibility page on their website, but it doesn't seem to be updated very often.
Interior materials are about average or slightly above for the class. The fake wood accents and leather on the shifter feel and look nice. All of the switchgear has a satisfying feeling of quality when you use it. The leather is really synthetic material, or at least it seems like it. However, the most offending part of the interior has to be the steering wheel. My 2011 EX came with a heated steering wheel, and the leather on it feels extremely cheap and flimsy-to the point of being irritating. That may sound like being nitpicky, but the steering wheel is the one thing that you always touch when you are driving the car. I read online forums that say the cars that don't have a heated wheel seem to have better leather coverings, so I would recommend that you avoid that option.
Overall, I would reccomend the Optima Ex, it's really a lot of car for the money. Ordering it "C-Net Style" will give you a long list of options ang gadgets that other manufactures just can't keep up with- yet. If you want something that is reasonably sporty for a front driver four door, this car offers a lot for the money. That's why I ended up purchasing it in the end.
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