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Kia Optima (2011)

  • A lot of car for the money
  • Loaded -- with heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, navigation, etc. -- lists for $27,500.
  • Very competitive with Accord and Camry (the Optima's less handsome corporate twin is the highly rated Hyundai Sonata).
  • Great looking exterior
  • Spacious, calming interior
  • Ergonomically sensible controls
  • Plenty powerful 2.4L four-cylinder engine. No one needs more than this.
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • 24 city, 34 highway in a family-sized sedan
  • Honda Accord-like size
  • Honda Accord-like feel
  • Twice the Honda Accord-like warranty (10-year powertrain)
  • Impressive ride and handling
  • Very smooth powertrain

  • Slightly firm ride, like Accord
  • Rear headroom a little tight for taller riders
  • Relative dearth of Kia dealers in many areas
  • Rear and rear-side visibility is terrible due to rising belt line.
  • Optional ($2000 Tech package) back-up camera is essential, and helps with
  • parking, but even then, you may have to go Braille. And backup camera is no help when changing lanes.
  • Electrically assisted power steering feels a bit sticky at times.

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