2018 Kia Optima

MSRP $22,600 - $30,600

Ranked #5 in Sedan

8.0

Overall Rating

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2018 Kia Optima Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: September 24, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


The 2018 Kia Optima is an entry-level mid-size sedan sitting right between the Forte and the Cadenza, in Kia’s sedan lineup. With the new overhaul for 2016 MY, the incremental upgrades over the years have just added to the performance. With a handsome exterior and multiple powertrain options starting from a base engine, to two turbocharged engines and hybrid powertrains, the Optima is a compelling vehicle in the segment. 

2018 Kia Optima Latest Updates

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

Pros

Excellent value for money

Lots of standard safety and tech features

User-Friendly Infotainment System

Decent fuel economy

Cons

Poor rear visibility

Cramped rear row

Sub-par driving dynamics

What's New?

All-new S trim introduced

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is now offered as standard


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$30600

bodystyle

dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

123 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

245 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

260 lb.-ft. @ 1350 rpm

transmission

6 speed Automatic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

capacity

passenger volume

104.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

15.9 cu ft.

towing capacity

9400 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

6.8 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

15.2 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

185 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

22/25/31 mpg

highway range

573.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./ 100,000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

LX$22,600 onwards

S$23,600 onwards

EX$25,700 onwards

SX$30,600 onwards

Colors and Styles

2018 Kia Optima in Aurora Black Pearl color
Aurora Black Pearl

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

Features

8.5

Engine and Performance

7.7

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

9.0

Exterior

8.0

Safety

8.5

8.0

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.0

Overall Rating


For 2018 MY, a lot of tech and safety features are made standard and many advanced safety features are now available on the higher trims. To finish off you have excellent fuel economy and a good amount of cargo space. The only downside to the 2018 Kia Optima is the rivals, from the cousin Hyundai Sonata to the already perfected Toyota Camry and the Ford Fusion. Despite the mid-size sedan being an extremely competitive category, the Kia Optima manages to make its mark here.


8.5/10
Features

7.7/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

9.0/10
Interior

8.0/10
Exterior

8.5/10
Safety


2018 Kia Optima Features

8.5/10

The 2018 Kia Optima comes in 4 trims, the LX, EX, S, and SX. The base engine is 2.4L Inline 4 while the higher trims get an option of a 2.0L turbocharged I-4 unit. There’s also a 1.6L turbo powertrain option available with LX. Moreover, there are 2 hybrid powertrain options available as well. The standard trims have plenty of safety features and tech features including 7-Airbags, ESC, and ABS. As you go higher up the trims, more features like a panoramic moonroof and 12-way power-adjustable seats are offered as standard. The SX Limited trim has been discontinued beginning this year and the features are made available as an optional package for the SX trim

Trim

LX

S

EX

SX

MSRP (Auto)

$22,600

$23,600

$25,700

$30,600

MSRP (1.6T DCT)

$24,400

NA

NA

NA

Key Features

16-inch alloy wheels

17-inch wheels

Interior chrome accents

10-way power-adjustable passenger seat

 

Automatic headlights

LED taillights

Leather upholstery

Panoramic Sunroof w/LED Interior Lightning

 

Rear Cross-Traffic Alert

Rear spoiler

Driver-seat memory settings

10-way power-adjustable passenger seats

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat

Heated front seats

2.0L Turbocharged I-4

 

7-Inch Infotainment System

Leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel

Hands-free cargo access

18-inch wheels

 

Blind-spot monitor

Panoramic sunroof

Dual-zone automatic climate control

Adaptive LED headlights

 

Rear parking sensors

Gloss black interior inserts

 

Dual exhaust tips

 

Heated mirrors

   

Sport-tuned suspension

Which Trim should you buy?

We would suggest the base LX trim since it makes sense for those on a tight budget. The EX trim offers a plethora of features, making for a wholesome experience with the car.

2018 Kia Optima Engine and Performance

7.7/10

The 2018 Kia Optima gets multiple powertrain options. The Base 2.4L Inline 4 produces 185 horsepower and 178-pound feet of torque and is enough to satisfy the oomph for a mid-size sedan. The 2.0L turbocharged inline 4 produces 245 hp and 260 lb-ft. It is one of the powerful options available in the segment. The standard transmission is a 6-Speed Automatic which is very nifty on a daily basis.

The LX trim is also available with a smaller 1.6L Turbo Inline-4 engine and it offers an exceptional fuel economy. This engine churns out 178 hp and 195 lb-ft. Unlike the others, this one comes mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All the models are front-wheel drive and most of them have been tuned to drive on a daily basis. The smaller engine is sometimes slow to react and acceleration might feel a bit off at times. However, the turbocharged engine is right on point when it comes to performance.

Models

2018 Kia Optima

2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Toyota Camry

2018 Ford Fusion

MSRP

$22,600

$22,050

$23,645

$22,215

Engine 

2.4L Naturally Aspirated I-4

2.4L Naturally Aspirated I-4

2.5L Naturally Aspirated I-4

2.5L Naturally Aspirated I-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

8-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

Power 

185 hp @ 6000 rpm

185 hp @ 6000 rpm

203 hp @ 6600 rpm

175 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque

178 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

178 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

184 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm

175 lb-ft @ 4500 rpm

0-60 MPH (sec)

8.2

8.6

8.2

9.0

Quarter mile (sec)

16.2

16.2

15.9

16.8

Top Speed (MPH)

130

130

129

130

The numbers show the Kia Optima and the Hyundai Sonata are on the same page clocking 8.2 seconds to the 60 mph mark, while the Fusion takes the bottom place due to its lower power output. The Toyota Camry not only has the most powerful base engine that produces 203 hp and 184lb.-ft of torque; it also has an option of a V-6 outperforming every rival in the segment. Moreover, the Camry is more powerful, more grunty, and sturdier through roads. However, when it comes to cost, Kia Optima with the 1.6T engine seems to be a more sensible choice as it offers a balance of fuel economy as well as power.

How well does the 2018 Kia Optima handle?

The 2018 Kia Optima has been tuned to be a little more towards sportiness. However, the result isn’t as good as expected. The steering, although feels light, lacks precision and responsiveness. The suspension is a bit on the firm side and does not absorb the shocks easily. The overall driving dynamics aren’t as agile as its rivals and added to that is the FWD config which doesn’t do any good. The SX trim gets a sportier suspension tuning and a rack-mounted electric steering system. This somewhat improves the overall driving dynamics but still leaves the driver desiring for more. 

2018 Kia Optima Braking Performance

The 2018 Kia Optima comes to a halt at 124 feet when the brakes are slammed at 60 MPH. There is an 11.8-inch brake rotor at the front and an 11.9-inch brake rotor at the rear. The brake pedals are soft resulting in more gradual braking than sudden. The SX trim stops within 112 feet mostly due to its tuned suspension setup and lighter curb weight. Reports have shown that the brakes fade away after some time on the Optima and the overall braking performance isn’t the best in the segment.

Models

2018 Kia Optima

2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Toyota Camry

2018 Ford Fusion

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

12

12

12

11.8

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

11.2

11.2

11.1

11.9

Curb Weight (lbs.)

3,219

3,250

3,241

3,431

60-0 MPH (feet)

124

123

122

122

The 2018 Kia Optima takes the longest distance to stop among the rivals here but with a difference of only a foot or two. The Hyundai Sonata takes 123 feet while both the Toyota Camry and the Ford Fusion take 122 feet to come to a stop. The braking system on the Ford is quite impressive as it is also the heaviest car in the lot yet gets the smallest brake rotors onboard.

2018 Kia Optima Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The 2018 Kia Optima mpg figures are quite impressive with its base 2.4L Inline-4 engine. The engine returns 25 MPG in the city, 36 MPG on the highways, and 29 MPG combined. Coupled with an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, the car delivers more than 650 miles of range on the highways. The SX comes with a 2.0L turbo 4 pot and the fuel economy drops to 22 MPG in the cities and 31 MPG on the Highways. The 1.6T engine returns the best fuel economy in the lineup at 28mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Models

2018 Kia Optima

2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Toyota Camry

2018 Ford Fusion

MPG (City)

25

25

29

21

MPG (Highway)

36

36

41

32

MPG (Combined)

29

29

34

25

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

18.5

18.5

14.5

16.5

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

462.5/666/536.5

462.5/666/536.5

420.5/594.5/493

346.5/528/412.5

The Kia Optima and the Hyundai Sonata have the same MPG figures since they sport the same engine and are the only cars with more than 600 miles of range in the segment. Despite being the most powerful, the Toyota Camry has the most impressive mileage figures of 34 MPG in the lot but suffers in terms of driving range due to its smaller tank. The Ford Fusion on the other hand has poor MPG figures for the segment along with a smaller fuel tank that affects its driving range as well.

2018 Kia Optima Interior

9.0/10

The 2018 Kia Optima interior has been slightly updated from being a driver-centric one to a more luxury-centric one. The materials used inside are soft-touch plastic and some metallic pieces. On the higher trims especially, the likes of EX and above, the interior is quite lavish, enhancing Kia’s image. The base trims however suffer from the use of cheaper quality plastics. The standard trim gets manually adjustable climate controls along with cloth upholstery while the higher trims get leather upholstery along with dual-zone automatic climate control.

The car has seating for 5 with plenty of room in the first row and 10-way power-adjustable and heated and ventilated front seats. Meanwhile, you again have to settle for a manually adjustable seat for the base trim. In the rear, the sloping roofline causes trouble for people taller than 6 feet. Otherwise, it has a good storage room with small compartments all over; the trunk features a 16 cu-ft of cargo space second only to the Hyundai. However, if you opt for the hybrid model, you are going to sacrifice some of the trunk space.

Models

2018 Kia Optima

2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Toyota Camry

2018 Ford Fusion

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

4

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

39.8/58.1/45.5

40.4/57.9/45.5

38.3/57.7/42.1

39.2/57.8/44.3

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

37.8/56.4/35.6

38/56.5/35.6

38/55.7/38

37.8/56.9/38.3

Cargo Capacity (cu ft)

15.9

16.3

14.1

16

The interior dimensions of other cars are very similar to that of the Kia, with the Sonata offering the highest space in the segment. The Sonata also has the biggest trunk at 16.3 cu-ft and the Toyota Camry has the lowest at 14.1 cu-ft. The Ford Fusion offers a more balanced cabin and cargo space without compromising on one another.

Standout interior features:

  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Available Leather upholstery
  • Dual-Zone Climate Control
  • Heated and Leather Wrapped steering wheel
  • 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The standard infotainment features included in the 2018 Optima are agreeable for the price and the system is quite user-friendly, to begin with. The overall experience is easy, fun, and satisfactory and gets done all the basic stuff it is supposed to. The car comes in with a 7” inch touch screen system at the center supported by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio is also available along with Bluetooth streaming. 

In the base trim, a six-speaker audio system is standard; however, you can upgrade to a 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium system for a better immersive experience. There is a single USB port and two additional USBs are available on higher trims.

Standard Infotainment Features:

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • SiriusXM AM/FM/HD Satellite Radio
  • Bluetooth Streaming
  • Optional 10-Speaker Harman/Kardon Premium Sound System
  • 7’’ Touchscreen infotainment system

2018 Kia Optima Exterior

8.0/10

There are few changes in the 2018 Kia Optima’s exterior styling starting with a new front fascia tiger-nose grille. Overall the car has more sharp and curved design lines making it look more aggressive and sportier. Rest, it has been following the same design styling since 2016 and we wouldn’t complain as it borrows some rear aspects from the Kia Stinger

The roofline is somewhat steep and follows up to the rear end giving it a coupe-like look and managing to cram up the rear headspace. The overall dimensions of the car are very similar to the others in the segment and hence it isn’t as distinguishable from the others as it once was. The result is a sportier sedan than before with some aggressive bits here and there.

Models

2018 Kia Optima

2018 Hyundai Sonata

2018 Toyota Camry

2018 Ford Fusion

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,219

3,250

3,241

3,431

Length (inches)

191.1

191.1

192.1

191.7

Width (inches)

73.2

73.4

72.4

72.9

Height (inches)

57.7

58.1

56.9

58.1

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.3

5.3

5.7

NA

Wheelbase (inches)

110.4

110.4

111.2

112.2

As can be seen, the overall dimensions of all the cars are very similar with the Toyota Camry being the longest by an inch. However, the Kia Optima is the heaviest of the bunch at 3,431 pounds. In terms of styling, the Kia Optima and the Hyundai Sonata are very much similar, with the latter being a bit curvier. The Toyota Camry follows a very different design styling which is subjective while the Ford is a bit blander and has a classic approach.

Standout exterior features:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Sunroof
  • Automatic Headlamps and LED DRLs
  • Chrome Grille
  • Power heated side mirrors

2018 Kia Optima Safety

8.5/10

The NHTSA has given the Kia Optima an overall 5-star rating, with the SX and SX technology trims receiving a “top Safety Pick+” from the IIHS for their headlights. The IIHS gave it a “good” rating for crash safety, and the front crash received a “superior” rating. In front, rollover, and side crash tests, the NHTSA gave the Optima a 5-star rating. Some standard safety features include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Electronic stability control, hill start assist are also standard. Available advanced features include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera.

Standout safety features:

  • Blind-Spot Monitor
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Surround View Camera
  • Front Collision warning

2018 Kia Optima Competition

2018 Kia Optima vs. 2018 Hyundai Sonata

Kia’s Cousin, the Hyundai Sonata is very much based on similar design styling. They share similar standard features, comfort level, interiors, fuel economy, and the interior space is marginally the same. Both look exceptional and are good picks any day, however, the lower entry price for the Hyundai is something you’d look for.

2018 Kia Optima vs. 2018 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry has one of the most powerful base engines in the segment and also has an option of a V-6 powertrain in the lineup. With a very similar starting price to that of KIA, it has better driving dynamics, better fuel efficiency, and better interior quality. It also has better standard tech and safety features on the base model compared to Optima. The only advantages Kia has over the Camry are a better cargo capacity and the availability of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

2018 Kia Optima vs. 2018 Ford Fusion

The 2018 Ford Fusion certainly lacks in many aspects to the Kia. Starting from the underpowered engine, to a poor fuel economy and a very bland exterior, the Ford has very few points to draw its attention. You’d take a look at this only for the lower starting price and better driving dynamics.

2018 Kia Optima Final Verdict

The 2018 Kia Optima is a perfect Mid-Size Family sedan and is a definite consideration for buyers in the segment. It is a solid car with a proper combination of tech and safety features, with ample space for passengers and excellent fuel economy. The infotainment system is very user-friendly and the optional features are worth the cost. Many safety features are made standard on all trims which are rare to find in the segment.

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