Automotive reviewers found a lot to like about the Kia Optima and rewarded it with one of the highest Total Car Scores in the midsize sedan segment.
As more than one critic put it, the Optima upends the idea that a family sedan has to be dull transportation. Its styling has a definite European flair, while its powertrain offerings run the gamut from fuel-efficient to downright fun if you order the turbocharged engine. The Optima is also one of few cars that earned perfect safety scores by both the NHTSA and IIHS. On top of all these accolades, the Optima is an excellent value, with a long list of standard features and a lengthy warranty.
Complaints about the Optima were few; some felt it lacked adequate headroom and found the seats not as comfortable as others in the class. But overall the Optima’s strengths far outweighed its minor weaknesses and it was highly recommended.
There are few changes for the 2012 Kia Optima because it was completely redesigned last year. There’s new exterior trim on some models as well as upgraded entertainment options, including Kia's new UVO voice-activated infotainment system.
The four-door five-passenger 2012 Kia Optima is available in three trim levels with a choice of two four-cylinder engines. (A gas/electric Hybrid model is also available and covered separtely.)
The standard LX and mid-range EX models are powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 that routes 200 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, making 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque and joined to a six-speed automatic, is available in EX models and the sporty SX.
The EPA found just a couple of mpg difference between the two engines, rating the 2.4 at 24 mpg city, 35 highway and 28 combined, and the 2.0 turbo motor at 22/34/26.
Standard equipment aboard the 2012 Optima LX includes 16-inch wheels (steel for manual transmission versions, aluminum with automatics), an AM/FM/CD/satellite radio audio system with Bluetooth, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls and remote keyless entry.
Moving up to the EX models adds 17-inch wheels, push-button start, automatic climate control, rear a/c and leather seat trim. The 2012 Kia Optima SX is fitted with 18-inch wheels, a rear deck spoiler, HID headlamps and sport seat trim.
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