2012 Kia Optima

MSRP $19,500

Ranked #3 in Sedan

8.1

Overall Rating

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2012 Kia Optima Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: October 14, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The midsize sedan is one of the most contested segments in the American market and has seen a lot of traction in recent years. This segment offers the most practical choices for the people who want comfortable, economical, decently powered, and feature-loaded cars; with the 2012 Kia Optima being one of the most famous ones. Powered by a 2.4L inline-4, the Optima produces 200 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque which enables effortless highway driving.

2012 Kia Optima Latest Updates

  • Aug' 27, 2021 : 2021 Kia Optima Review: Expected Release Date, Prices, MPG, and Specs Read More »
See detailed review »

Pros

Powerful engine options

Excellent value

Excellent warranty coverage

Well-built cabin

Cons

Tight headroom

Slow steering

What's New?

Standard fog lights and heated side mirrors

Added automatic headlights on the LX trim

Added Kia Uvo, 8-speaker audio system, and power-folding mirrors to Premium package


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$19500

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

141 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

144 cu.in.

horsepower

200 hp @ 6300 rpm

torque

186 lb.-ft. @ 4250 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual w/OD

chassis

suspension front

MacPherson strut front suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

dimensions

wheelbase

110 in.

length

190.7 in.

width

72.1 in.

height

57.3 in.

curb weight

3206 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

102.2 cu ft.

cargo volume

15.4 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.5 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.5 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

24/29/35 mpg

highway range

647.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100000 mi.

powertrain warranty

10 yr./ 100,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./100,000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LX$19,500 onwards

Colors and Styles

2012 Kia Optima in Aurora Black color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Pricing and Feature

7.0

Features

8.0

Engine and Performance

9.0

Fuel Economy

8.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

9.0

Safety

6.0

Competition

9.0

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.1

Overall Rating


Since the segment is so popular, the competition the Optima faces isn’t easy either. The Kia goes against the Hyundai Sonata, the Nissan Altima, and the Honda Accord. All the midsize sedans have very strong figures to back their claims, along with excellent reliability records to boast of. 


8.0/10
Features

9.0/10
Engine and Performance

8.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

9.0/10
Exterior

6.0/10
Safety


2012 Kia Optima Features

8.0/10

The 2012 Kia Optima is available in four trims, including one hybrid which we’ve covered separately, with the prices starting from $19,500 and stretching to $26,500 for the SX trim. The standard features on the LX include fog lights and heated side mirrors, which have been added for this model year onwards along with other features like 16-inch wheels, a height-adjustable driver seat, automatic headlights, and a cooled glovebox. 

To add more value, the company also offers various packages like the Convenience Package, the Technology Package, the Premium Package, and a Premium Technology Package which adds in various amenities, most notable of which are a panoramic sunroof, driver-seat memory function, navigation system, and Kia’s Uvo voice-activated interface. 

Trims

LX

EX

SX

MSRP

$19,500

$23,200

$26,500

Key Features

Automatic headlights

Adds to LX’s features

Adds to EX’s features

 

16-inch steel wheels

17-inch alloy wheels

18-inch wheels

 

Fog lights

Eight-way power driver seat

Sport-tuned suspension

 

Full power accessories

Auto-dimming rearview mirror

Xenon headlights

 

Heated mirrors

LED taillights

Unique bumper design

 

Height-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar adjustment

Dual-zone automatic climate control

Rear lip spoiler

 

Cooled glovebox

Keyless ignition/entry

Upgraded trip computer

 

Air-conditioning

Rear air vents

Steering-wheel paddle shifters

 

Bluetooth

Leather upholstery

 
 

Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel

Wood interior trim

 
 

Sound system with a CD player

   

We recommend

The Kia Optima is the best had in the EX trim, with the optional turbocharged engine that produces more power via forced induction and also has a very peppy nature. Apart from the engine the trim also features a lot of upgrades in the amenities on offer and can further be equipped with the optional Packages to suit one’s needs. 

2012 Kia Optima Engine and Performance

9.0/10

The 2012 Kia Optima gets a 2.0L inline-4 that churns out 200 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque as the base engine. This engine sends all the output to the front wheels as standard with no other drivetrain option available; with the gearbox on offer being either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. There’s another engine on offer which comes as an option on the EX trim while the SX gets it as standard - a turbocharged 2.0L inline-4 that bumps up the numbers to 274 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. This engine is mated to an FWD powertrain as well and comes with a 6-speed automatic as standard. 

Both the engines are responsive to inputs but the turbocharged mill takes the award for being the better of the two when it comes to making torque available at lower RPMs. The automatic gearbox is quick to make the cogs available for a seamless acceleration without any hiccups whatsoever. The steering is light which makes the city driving part easy while the suspension is well-balanced for the highway as well. The only thing that sets back the Optima on the highway is the numb steering that is late to respond to inputs but is decent nonetheless. 

Model

2012 Kia Optima

2012 Hyundai Sonata

2012 Honda Accord

2012 Nissan Altima

MSRP

$19,500

$20,895

$21,680

$21,760

Engine

2.4L inline-4

2.4L inline-4

2.4L inline-4

2.5L inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed automatic

6-speed automatic

6-speed manual

CVT

Power 

200 hp @ 6,300 RPM

198 hp @ 6,300 RPM

185 hp @ 6,400 RPM

182 hp @ 6,000 RPM

Torque 

186 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM

184 lb-ft @ 4,250 RPM

181 lb-ft @ 3,900 RPM

180 lb-ft @ 4,000 RPM

0-60 MPH 

7.8 seconds

7.6 seconds

7.4 seconds

8.0 seconds

Quarter mile

16.0 seconds

15.9 seconds

15.8 seconds

16.8 seconds

Top speed

139 MPH

140 MPH

140 MPH

135 MPH

The Kia takes the lead as the least expensive car here with a strong engine and decent power figures but despite that, the Honda Accord remains the fastest off the line and completes the quarter-mile in just under 16 seconds. The Optima is decently fast and does the same in 16-seconds flat - 0.2 seconds behind the Accord. While the Hyundai Sonata is evenly matched in terms of performance, the Nissan Altima lurks at the bottom of the table. 

2012 Kia Optima Fuel Economy

8.0/10

The 2012 Kia Optima gets two engines on offer and that said, the base engine is touted to be the more economical of the two with the EPA ratings at 24 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway, for a combined 28 MPG from its 18.5-gallon fuel tank. Opting for the automatic gearbox doesn’t affect the ratings but when paired to the turbocharged mill, the MPGs drop by a couple of points in the city and one point on the highway. 

Model

2012 Kia Optima

2012 Hyundai Sonata

2012 Honda Accord

2012 Nissan Altima

MPG (City)

24

24

24

27

MPG (Highway)

35

35

34

38

MPG (Combined)

28

28

28

31

Fuel Capacity 

18.5 gallons

18.5 gallons

17.2 gallons

18.0 gallons

Range (City/highway), (in miles)

444/647/518 

444/647/518 

412/584/481

486/684/465

The Kia and the Hyundai share the same engine and hence, the fuel economy figures are similar as well, along with the tank size. That aside, the Nissan Altima is the most fuel-efficient car here with a massive lead over the others averaging 31 MPG. It also gets the most range despite having a smaller fuel tank of 18-gallons than the Korean cars here. The Accord, on the other hand, gets similar MPG to the Optima but is short on range due to the smaller tank. 

2012 Kia Optima Interior

9.0/10

The 2012 Kia Optima’s interior is very well-packed and has a very good feel to it in terms of the fitment quality and also in terms of the looks and overall layout. The layout remains one of the most practical ones out there with all the buttons in easy reach of the driver. The trim pieces and the overall material used on the door panels and the dashboard are very comfortable and justifiable for the price tag the Optima starts at. 

That said, the higher trims get better materials, more features, and an even posher-looking cabin with all the different options and amenities on offer. The seats are comfortable and the driver’s seat has power lumbar adjustment right from the base trim itself. Choosing for different packages in the higher trims adds power-adjustability to both the front seats along with heating and ventilation. The cabin is spacious but the headroom is rather limited which makes the seating a bit cramped for tall people. 

Model

2012 Kia Optima

2012 Hyundai Sonata

2012 Honda Accord

2012 Nissan Altima

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.0/57.0/45.5

40.0/58.0/45.5

39.0/59.0/42.5

40.0/56.0/45.0

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.0/56.0/34.4

38.0/57.0/34.6

38.0/57.0/38.5

37.0/56.0/36.1

Cargo Capacity (cubic feet)

15.4

16.4

15.8

15.4

All the cars seat 5 people but the Optima’s cabin feels a bit cramped for the tall occupants even though the headroom is similar to its rivals. The Optima also gets a decent cargo space along with tethering points and other practical add-ons to make daily life easy. The cabin is well-built right from the base trim and the use of soft-touch materials add to the charm. The Hyundai Sonata adds an extra cubic foot of cargo space and has similar space on the inside. On the other hand, both the Nissan and Honda have higher passenger space than the Korean sisters with decently sized boots. 

 That said, some of the most highlighting interior features are:

  • Rear air vents
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Wood interior trim 
  • Leather upholstery
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Cooled glovebox

Infotainment system

The 2012 Kia Optima’s infotainment system is a versatile unit with the controls very intuitively placed and spaced out. As standard, the car gets a sound system that is paired to a CD player and also gets AM/FM/SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth, USB, and AUX ports. Upgrading to the higher trims and equipping the Technology Package upgrades this system with Kia’s Uvo interface which enables voice assistance and also upgrades the music system to an 8-speaker Infinity unit. That said, some of the highlighting features here are:

  • CD Player
  • Bluetooth
  • SiriusXM
  • USB/iPod interface
  • Optional 8-speaker Infinity system

2012 Kia Optima Exterior

9.0/10

The 2012 Optima looks way more premium than the Hyundai Sonata - the car it shares its platform with. The front looks striking and the overall design language of the car is very sleek with a muscular hood and lines that stretch to the rear of the car. The front looks handsome with the LED headlights and fog lights, while the front bumper adds to the elegance as well. The side of the sedan carries a simple design with chrome on the door sills while the alloy wheels add a lot of character to the car. The LED tail lamps stretch to the sides and look different than the other cars in the segment and are complemented by the rear bumper. 

Model

2012 Kia Optima

2012 Hyundai Sonata

2012 Honda Accord

2012 Nissan Altima

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3,206

3,199

3,192

3,108

Length (in.)

190.7

189.8

191.4

191.5

Width (in.)

72.1

72.2

72.8

72

Height (in.)

57.3

57.9

57.7

57.9

Ground Clearance (in.)

5.3

5.5

5.8 

5.4

Wheelbase (in.)

110.0

110.0

109.3

109.3

The Optima has the biggest proportions and also carries the longest wheelbase in the segment which lends it extra room inside and also makes the handling more sure-footed but the added weight does take a toll on the engine which then tends to underperform on the highways. The ground clearance is very similar to the other sedans and is enough to go over the undulations on the road. That said, some striking exterior features are:

  • 16-/17-/18-inch wheels
  • Xenon headlights
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Fog lights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED tail lights

2012 Kia Optima Safety

6.0/10

The 2012 Kia Optima gets the best accolades from the NHTSA and the IIHS due to its structure and also due to the clever engineering the Korean manufacturer has put to ensure the utmost safety of the passengers. The car comes with features like ABS, EBD, VSM, and TCS as standard along with multiple airbags to take most of the brunt in case of a mishap. Some of the highlighting safety features on the car are:

  • Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
  • Rearview camera
  • Emergency trunk release
  • Auto leveling Xenon headlights

2012 Kia Optima Final Verdict

The 2012 Kia Optima poses the best value that one can expect from a car in this segment because of the features and performance on offer. The cabin is well-built and has a lot of amenities to keep the passengers comfortable. The base engine is quite powerful and enables effortless driving while also providing good MPGs. The car gets the best safety features out there and is backed up by the top accolades at the NHTSA and the IIHS, making it a complete package for your next car.

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