2018 Kia Optima

in Sedans
2018 MODEL
$22,600 - $30,600 See Inventory Prices


Overall Rating

2018 Kia Optima Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

After receiving a fresh tweak in 2016, the Kia Optima arrived in 2017 with mild updates and some extra add-ons. For 2018, the Optima remains unchanged. The 2018 Kia Optima lies above the compact Forte and below the larger Cadenza. A new S trim has also been added alongside the LX 1.6T and the LX 2.4 with the Convenience package.

The LX 1.6T and the LX 2.4 trims get laminated front windows, auto up/down front windows, and a 10-way power driver's seat as standard. The SX Turbo model now comes with standard features like a panoramic sunroof, LED fog lights, UVO3 infotainment system, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 10-way power front passenger seat. The carmaker has discontinued the SX Limited trim and the optional package is introduced with the Optima SX trim.

See detailed review »


Standard tech and safety features

User-friendly infotainment system

Spacious interior

Multiple engine options based on preference

Excellent safety rating


Average driving dynamics

Inconsistent material quality

Slow acceleration

What's New?

Apple CarPlay

Android Auto 7-inch touchscreen display

Blind spot monitoring Rear cross traffic alert Rear parking sensors


vehicle bio

base price



4dr Sedan

passenger capacity


top speed

123 mph



engine type


144 cu. in.


185 hp @ 6000 rpm


178 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm


6-speed automatic


brake rotors (f/r)

11.2 in. ventilated front disc/12 in. solid disc brakes



110.4 in.


191.1 in.


73.2 in.


57.7 in.

curb weight

3219 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.


passenger volume

104.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

15.9 cu ft.

towing capacity

9400 lbs.


zero to 60 mph

7.3 sec.

standing ¼-mile

15.8 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

185 ft.

fuel economy


25/29/36 mpg

highway range

666 mi.


basic warranty

5 years/60000 miles

drivetrain warranty

10 years/100000 miles

corrosion warranty

5 years/100000 miles

roadside assistance


Pictures & Videos


 2018 Kia Optima in Aurora Black Pearl color  2018 Kia Optima in Ebony Black color  2018 Kia Optima in Horizon Blue color  2018 Kia Optima in Platinum Graphite color  2018 Kia Optima in Remington Red color  2018 Kia Optima in Sangria color  2018 Kia Optima in Silky Silver color  2018 Kia Optima in Snow White 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.






Fuel Economy










Trims and Configurations


 2018 Kia Optima LX


185 hp @ 6000 rpm
Regular unleaded
29 combined

$22,600 - $24,400

Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $22,600 MSRP (25/29/36) 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5
LX Turbo 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $24,400 MSRP (28/31/37) 178 hp @ 5500 rpm, 1.6 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2018 Kia Optima S


185 hp @ 6000 rpm
Regular unleaded
28 combined


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $23,600 MSRP (24/28/34) 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2018 Kia Optima EX


185 hp @ 6000 rpm
Regular unleaded
28 combined


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $25,700 MSRP (24/28/34) 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2018 Kia Optima SX


245 hp @ 6000 rpm
Regular unleaded
25 combined


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SX Turbo 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A) Starting at $30,600 MSRP (22/25/31) 245 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

Top Kia Cars

2017 Kia Cadenza

Engine: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm, 3.3 L V6

MPG: 23 combined

2019 Kia Optima

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 27 combined

2018 Kia Stinger

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan

Engine: 202 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 40 combined

2019 Kia Stinger

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima hybrid Sedan

Engine: 154 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 42 combined

2019 Kia Sorento

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Soul EV Wagon

MPG: 105 combined

Expert Review

CARHP Editorial September 21, 2018


Overall Rating

The three engine options available for Kia Optima include a 2.4-liter I-4 with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, a 1.6-liter turbo-four with 178 hp and 195 lb-ft, and a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 245 hp and 260 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic transmission is mated to the base 2.4-liter I-4 and 2.0-liter turbo-four, while the 1.6-liter turbo-four cylinder powertrain is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.





Fuel Economy








2018 Kia Optima Features


The 2018 Optima price starts at $22,500, which is exactly what you will pay for the majority of the mid-size sedans available in this segment. In addition to the base model, LX2.4, there are four upgraded trims: S 2.4 (priced at $23,500), EX 2.4 (priced at $25,600), LX 1.6T (priced at $24,300), and the top SX 2.0T (priced at $30,500). All the trims are relatively close to pricing. The SX trim is costliest because of the turbocharged engine and additional premium features.

Trims LX S LX 1.6T EX SX
MSRP $ 22,500 $ 23,500 $ 24,300 $ 25,600 $ 30,500
Features 6-speed automatic transmission 17” alloy wheels 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat w/integrated memory system(IMS) LED head lights w/dynamic bending lights(DBL)
  Blind spot detection (BSD). 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat W/sport black cloth 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat W/2 way power lumbar support. Leather seat trim with heated front seats Panoramic sunroof w/power sunshade and LED interior lighting
  Rear Cross Traffic Alert(RCTA) LED front fog lights and LED sport rear combination lamps. Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob. Smart key w/push- button start and immobilizer. 10-way power- adjustable passenger’s seat and ventilated front seats.
  UVO with 7” touch screen display W/android auto and apple car play.        

We Recommend-

We would recommend you to buy the SX trim because of its potent engine and reasonable price. You get all the top of the line features offered on each trim. 

2018 Kia Optima Engine


“On the road, our Optima was exceptionally quiet, though the ride was somewhat firm. If you’re looking for comfort over performance, the smaller wheel/tire packages and more compliant suspension settings of the LX and EX trims might make a better choice.” — Autotrader (2017)

Engine and Transmission 

The 2018 Kia Optima comes powered by a 2.4-liter engine that is optimized for perfect everyday driving. There are also two turbocharged options available for buyers looking for more performance. The 1.6-liter engine, on the other hand, offers exceptional fuel economy.

Moreover, the turbo 2.0-liter is best for enthusiasts looking for a top-level engine that can deliver superior power delivery via an automatic transmission. Only the 1.6-liter engine comes mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, while the 2.0-liter and 2.4-liter Optima models come paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Models Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu Honda Accord Hyundai Sonata
MSRP $22,500 $ 22,555 $ 23,345 $ 22,485
Engine 2.4lInline 4 1.5LInline 4 1.5LInline 4 2.0L Inline 4
Fuel type Gas Gas Gas Gas
Transmission Automatic Automatic Automatic Automatic
Power 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm 160 hp @ 5700 rpm 192 hp @ 5500 rpm 245 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 178 Ib.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 184 ft-lbs. @ 2500 rpm 192 ft-lbs. @ 1600 rpm 260 ft-lbs. @ 1350 rpm

The base Optima 2018 model LX, S, EX all comes powered with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine is capable of propelling 185 horsepower. The LX trim is available with a low-end engine, a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic.

For power lovers, the carmaker has introduced Optima SX 2.0L Turbo with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine which is paired with a 6-speed automatic. This engine offers a maximum power output of 245 horsepower.

On the other hand, the Optima hybrid trim combines a 2.0-liter I-4, an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed automatic to churn out a combined output of 192 hp and 271 lb-ft. The Optima Plug-in delivers a maximum power of 202 hp and 276 lb-ft peak torque. The hybrid powertrain allows to cut cargo space down to 13.4 cubic feet.


On the acceleration front, the Kia Optima manages to do 0-60 MPH in 6.8 seconds, which is similar to the Hyundai Sonata. Rest of the rivals are slower comparatively. Chevy Malibu takes around 8.5 seconds to sprint 0-60 MPH.

Models Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu Honda accord Hyundai sonata
0-60 MPH 6.8 sec 8.5 sec 7.3 sec 6.8 sec
Quarter mile 15.2 sec 16.0 sec 15.6 sec 15.8 sec
Engine 2.4L 1.5 L 1.5L 2.0 L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/yr 6.1 5.9 5.3 6.8

Braking and Handling

The brake pedal is soft which can make deceleration a bit harder at times. A panic stop from 60-0 MPH is 124 feet, which is longer than the average sedans in this segment. The Optima SX with wider tires manages to get a braking distance of 112 feet. Optima comes with different drive modes: Normal, Sport, and Eco.

Model Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu Honda Accord Hyundai Sonata
Brake pads-front(in) 12 11.6 11.5 12.6
Brake pads Rear(in) 11.2 10.8 11.1 11.2
Curb weight(lbs) 3219 3086 3131 3589
60-0 MPH (ft.) 124 117 123 113

The driving dynamics of this sedan is not subpar and it may disappoint. The narrow tires make it harder to corner smoothly. The front-wheel-drive sedan misses the athletic composition.

2018 Kia Optima Fuel Economy


Almost all trims of the 2018 Kia Optima that comes with a 2.4-liter engine offer decent fuel economy than the majority of mid-size sedans in the segment. The base model delivers 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Moreover, the LX 1.6T models, deliver 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

Model Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu Honda Accord Hyundai Sonata
Mpg city 25 27 30 23
Mpg highway 36 36 38 32
Mpg combined 29 30 33 26

2018 Kia Optima Interior


“There is plenty of plastic used inside the Optima, but it’s sturdy and attractively grained. Creaks and squeaks are nonexistent, and the car feels as solid as any other sedan in the class.” – Edmunds

Seating and Comfort

There is a space for five passengers inside Kia Optima and you will find a comfortable seating. The front area of the cabin is roomy and you’ll get several updates including heated and ventilated seats, and 10-way power adjustments. The rear seat legroom is, however, shorter than the Toyota Camry, which offers generous space for tall occupants.

The 2018 Optima comes with plentiful storage spaces to store small items. Each door has got cupholder and a small tray. There’s also a concealed bin under the center stack. You’ll get three tether anchors- for each rear seat. The hardware is easy to access and locate.

Model Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu Honda accord Hyundai sonata
Passenger capacity 5 5 5 5
Front (Head/Hip/Shoulder/Leg)(In.)   39.8/56.0/58.1/45.5 39.1/54.1/58.5/42.0 39.5/55.3/58.3/42.3 40.4/55.3/57.9/45.5
Second (Head/Hip/Shoulder/Leg)(In.)   37.8/56.0/56.4/35.6 37.5/53.4/57.1/38.1 37.3/55/56.5/40.4 38/56.1/56.5/35.6

The mounted seat cushions are also comfortable and easy to use. The cabin is airy and roomy. The design too feels clean and offers plenty of space for storing small items. The premium material used in the top trims will offer a luxurious feel.

Infotainment System

The Kia Optima infotainment is easy to understand and learn. It is integrated with plenty of features. In order to add more convenience, Kia has already included advanced smartphone integration into every Optima model.

With the presence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can easily connect your smartphone and access your favorite apps on the 7-inch touchscreen. Satellite radio and Bluetooth Kardon surround sound audio system is available with EX and SX trims.

Cargo Space

The cargo space offered by 2018 Optima is close to the competitors. With the 15.9 cubic feet trunk, the Optima can easily manage to store the grocery stuff and household equipment you shop every weekend.

Model Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu honda accord hyundai sonata
Trunk volume (ft.cube) 15.9 15.8 16.7 16.3

2018 Kia Optima Exterior


The Optima is handsome and understated, but it’s overshadowed in the showroom by the sexy and sporty Kia Stinger. -Car and Driver

Dimensions and Weight 

Undoubtedly, 2018 Kia Optima is a sharply styled sedan. The design language, however, is based on the last generation. The front fascia gets a “tiger-nose” grille that makes it aggressive and bold. The skin didn’t change and remain similar to the outgoing model.

The 2018 Kia Optima adapts the latest and next generation exterior style with more sharp and curvy design lines. It has got a coupe-like roofline that goes down toward the rear end, offering good head room to the rear seat occupants. The overall dimension of Optima seems elongated that gives the sedan a sportier stance.

Model Optima LX Chevrolet Malibu Honda Accord Hyundai Sonata
curb weight(lbs) 3219 3086  3131 3589 
Length(in) 191.1 193.8 192.2 191.1
Width(in) 73.2 73.0 73.3 73.4
Height(in) 57.7 57.6 57.1 58.1
Ground clearance(in) 5.3     5.3
Wheel base(in) 110.4 111.4 111.4 110.4
Track width(in) F/R 63.5/63.8 62.6/62.5 63/63.4 62.9/63.1

The competitors to have similar dimensions, which means that Optima doesn’t stand out in this regard. The Kia Optima is available in eight exterior colors. There is a wide range of colors to choose from.

2018 Kia Optima Safety


“The Kia Optima has always offered a strong value proposition, but the current-generation model takes it a step further with an upscale cabin and all the latest driver aids and luxury features a buyer can expect from a midsize sedan. Competitive pricing, a host of new standard features and a robust warranty keep the Optima in the running for top-of-class honors.” — Edmunds

The 2018 Optima has received five stars safety rating overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The last year model received top safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It also comes with a superior front crash prevention and offers amazing autonomous emergency braking system.

On the warranty front, the 2018 Optima comes with a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile limited engine warranty.

NHTSA Crash test results

Overall Rating 5*
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating 5*
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver 5*
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger 4*
Overall Side Crash Rating 5*
Side Barrier Rating 5*
Side Barrier Rating Driver 5*
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat 5*
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat 5*
Combined Side Rating Front Seat 5*
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat 5*
Rollover Rating 5*

IIHS Reports

Small overlap front Good
Small overlap front passenger side NA
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Impact Test Good
Roof strength Good
Head restraints & seats Good


Crash Prevention and Mitigation 
Front crash prevention Superior
Headlights Good
Child seat anchors (LATCH) ease of use Acceptable


Safety Features

The 2018 Optima comes loaded with hefty of standard safety features than before. Every Optima trims now gets a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. Other top trims get advanced driver assistance technologies via add-on packages. The package includes autonomous emergency braking, a forward collision warning system, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a surround-view camera. 

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags
  • Dual Front Seat Mounted Side Airbags
  • Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags
  • Driver’s Side Knee Airbag
  • Front Seat-Belt Pretensioners
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)


2018 Kia Optima Competition

Kia Optima vs Chevrolet Malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu is stylish and sturdy. It provides a luxurious ride in all seasons. The hybrid version of the sedan offers better mileage, like 49 MPG city. It has got plenty of standard safety features. If you are considering a good mileage offering sedan then Malibu can be a good pick.

Kia Optima vs Honda Accord

Honda Accord has a good reputation under Honda leadership. The mid-sized sedan is a true family sedan with solid build quality but it failed to match Optima’s standard technology checklist. Accord has successfully managed to offer more safety tech and driver assistance features, such as adaptive cruise control and active lane assist in each model.

Kia Optima vs Hyundai Sonata

Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata have many similarities. They share similar standard features, warranty, and comfort level. A low starting price gives Sonata an edge over Optima. Otherwise, both of these sedans are a good pick.

2018 Kia Optima Final Verdict

If you are seeking a comfortable and solid midsize sedan, you may consider buying Kia Optima. Families and commuters will love to find pleasure in the ride and above-average fuel economy. The spacious cabin is already a heartthrob. You get standard amenities across all trim level, which is rare to find across prominent rivals.

The 2018 Kia Optima has been ranked at sixth position among the midsize sedan cars in the U.S. It is a civilized sedan that offers appealing tech features (including user-friendly infotainment) and best-in-class gas mileage.