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2019 Kia Optima vs Nissan Altima

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2019 Kia Optima vs Nissan Altima - Comparison.

2019 Optima vs Altima - How do they stack up? Which is Better?

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The newly released Kia Optima and Nissan Altima are great midsize level family cars that aim to give the best performance and the value for money. Sedans still remain a popular market segment choice for people who are looking for a great ride that is comfy, just the right size, and doesn’t cost too much. The 2019 Kia Optima, with its re-designed sport vibe, and 2019 Nissan Altima, with its all out new design, shall be compared below to see which give among the tow four door sedan brands can offer the best value for clients seeking a midsize vehicle.

The Powertrain

The Altima comes with a key-less ignition, a possibility of remote start, and automatic breaking. As for the Optima, it comes with automatic breaking and a key-less igniton, too. Under the hood of the based model of the Nissan Altima is a standard 2.5 liter inline four engine that makes 188 horsepower and is paired with a CVT or continuous variable transmission. The same engine produce 178 ft-lb of torque at 3600 rpm. Comparatively, the base Kia model features a 2.4 liter inline four engine that make 185 horsepower and is mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission. The Kia is able to produce the same level of torque but with a bigger rpm at 4000.

Performance Effect of Upgrades

There is clearly a very minimal variation between the two vehicles figures, but overall, they can both accelerate well, maintain a good top speed, and make decent turns. However, the things under the hood become more complicated with upgrades. For the Nissan Altima, an upgrade to an AWD or all wheel drive version is available in all its 5 trims. There is also an option to beef up to a more raucous turbo 4 engine that can produce 248 horsepower.

In the same token, the Kia Optima offers four trim levels with varying specifications. The Optima EX version gets a 1.6 liter turbo engine with a seven speed dual-clutch automatic, providing 195 lb-ft of torque. On the other hand, the SX version goes all out with a bigger 2.0 liter turbo 4 engine with a 6 speed automatic transmission. This bigger one can create 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel Economy Ratings

In terms of fuel ratings, the Kia Optima gets higher fuel economy ratings for the highway at 45 mpg or miles per gallon, while the Altima only gets a significantly lower 39 mpg score. In terms of city driving rating, Kia Optima though is slightly lower at only 21 mpg, while the Altima leads with a 25 mpg grade. However, in terms of gas tank size, the Optima wins over the Altima with an approximately 18.5 gallon and 16.2 gallon fuel tank capacity, respectively.

Noteworthy, the Kia Optima offers Hybrids and Plug-in Hybrids for their EX trim unit. This Hybrid adopts an inline 4 engine with batteries and an electric motor that assist for fuel economy. Naturally, this bumps up the Optima’s fuel efficiency rating somewhere around the 40 mpg range. Moreover, this Hybrid engine is only able to put out 154 horsepower from its 1.6 kwh battery pack. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid gets better torque, producing 202 horsepower. However, the Plug-in can only drive on its batter for 27 miles.

Warranty Considerations

In terms of warranty the limited bumper-to-bumper warranty of the Kia Optima provides peace of mind with 5 years/ 60,000 miles, while the Nissan Altima’s is comparatively less with 3 years/ 36,000 miles. The Optima clearly gives more with an additional 2 years or more distance at 24,000 miles. On top of that, the Optima gives a 10 years warranty or 100,000 miles of power train coverage.


Aside from the exterior look, driving and riding comfort is one of the aspects that buyers look at when they purchase their vehicles. After all, a nice and elegant looking vehicle means nothing if the driver and its passengers are miserable inside. Since many people spend a lot of time on the road, it is vital get a car that makes all the car occupants feel at ease. It would be hard to relax in a noisy and bumpy vehicle, where every crack and pebble on the road is felt.

Moreover, it would be a lot easier to feel more calm with a car that is able to provide a decent entertainment system. All these factors come into play when buyers are choosing over what to get. Here are some similarities and difference of the Optima and Altima when it comes to drivability.

Ride Comfort

The Kia Optima draws on an independent suspension system using MacPherson struts for its front and a multi-link suspension system for its rear. With more elastic and cushier front spring, this car rides smoothly and responds easily to its electric power steering. This year’s Optima is said to ride more smoothly than its predecessors and gets better body lean in tight corners.

The Nissan Altima is also equipped with electric power steering, which is first for this midsize model. Drivers can steer this upgraded Altima better and more comfortably than ever before. With standard shocks in place, drivers and passangers remain comfortable as the Altima confidently tracks down the highways with its generous on-center spot steering.


The Kia Optima offers better wheels with the size of 18 by 7.5 for both the front and rear. It is made of aluminum, as opposed to the Altima’s version with just plain steel and a smaller 16 by 7 sized front and rear wheels. The Kia gets bigger wheels with the specs of 235/45 and the rim of 18, while the Altima gets significantly smaller wheels at 215/60 with a rim of 16.

Interior Front Space Specifications

The Optima offers slightly more room compared with the Altima. It has the headroom of 39.8 inches, front hip room at at 56 inches, and front shoulder room at 58.1 inches. The Altima’s figures are a headroom of 39.2 inches, front hip room at at 54 inches, and front shoulder room at 58.2 inches.

The impressive additional comforts in the interior of the Kia 2019 Optima is evident in the numbers. Choosing this brand will give people an additional 1 1/2 inches of headroom in between the first and second rows. On top of that, there is an additional two inches of additional leg space in between the two areas.

Rear Space Specifications

Again the Optima wins in terms of the back end specifications even if both the Optima and Altima’s exterior design has a slight curve in the back, cutting slightly into the head space. The Optima gets the rear legroom of 35.6 inches, rear headroom of 37.8 inches, rear hip room at 56 inches, and rear shoulder room at 56.4 inches. On the other hand, the Nissan Altima gets the rear legroom of 35.1 inches, rear headroom of 36.9 inches, rear hip room at 52.1 inches, and rear shoulder room at 57.1 inches. In terms of space, Altima only slightly leads in one category which is the rear shoulder room measurement.

Noise Levels

The Nissan Altima wins over the Optima because quality control testers noted that it has the quieter interior in most of trims. However, the sportier Altima SR with a bigger engine can get more noisy when compared with the rest. Overall, both the Altima and Optima still give a generally quiet experience as both car manufacturers worked hard to seal out the outside factors like the noise of the wind and road traffic. In the same token, vibrations and sounds coming from the sedan’s engine are quelled and deadened.

Cargo Space

Both car brands offer adequate trunk volume space with the Optima giving a slightly bigger 15.9 cubic feet as opposed to the Altima’s 15.4 cubic feet. Both figures are still within the industry standard range. In is sufficient enough to address daily carrying needs, while being versatile enough to handle large pieces of luggage, coolers, or big boxes should the need for them ever arise.

Noteworthy, the Optima’s rear back seats can be folded down to expand the trunk room. This is especially useful for Hybrid sedan versions because the batteries take up some of the storage space. They Hybrid sedan only has 13.4 cubic feet of trunk space, while the Plug-in Hybrid has even less with only a measly 9.8 cubic feet.

Infotainment System

With advancements in technology, having a high tech system for the car is no longer than just a fashionable upgrade but a necessity, so that people of this modern world can easily connect their gadgets to their vehicles. Even at its very basic model, the Altima S trim is fairly well equipped with modern trappings. It comes with a very larger than average touch screen at 8 inches LCD. This comes with Apple Car Play and/ or Android Atuto compatibility. There is also Bluetooth connectivity, and four USB charge ports.

The base model which is the Kia Optima LX also offers basic technological features like climate control, Bluetooth with the capacity for audio streaming, a 7 inch LCD touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatibility. However, it is worth mentioning that the Optima skips standard satellite radio.


The 2019 Kia Optima is ahead in terms of the safety features, acing all safety categories. It scored excelling in all kinds of crash test from both the government and the insurance industries. In the NHTSA, they gave the Optima five stars for over all crash protection. Moreover, the IIHS has branded the Optima model as “Good” in all categories, giving the Omptima a “Top Safety Pick” title.

All the non-Hybrid Optimas trims has automatic breaking with forward collision warning. It also comes with parking sensors, blind post monitors, automatic high beam lights, and active lane controls. The Hybrid and Plug-in buyers, however have to pay for these features. In addition, the adaptive cruise control comes as a standard offering in both the EX and SX Optima sedans. However, only the SX trim model can enjoy the surround-view camera system of the vehicle.

The 2019 Nissa Altima earned a good crash test score from at least one reporting agency. They only rate slightly lower to the Optima. The IIHS also scored the Altima “good” in all major crash tests. However, they only rated the Altima’s headlights with an “acceptable”. The NHTSA has not yet reported about the Altima, and the company looks to positive and more favorable results once it is out.

The Altima provides many safety technological features that other midsize sedan won’t even offer. The Altima comes fresh from the factory equipped with forward collision warning, automatic emergency breaking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, rear auto emergency breaking, band blind spot monitors.

It must be noted that the higher trims comes with a driver assistance program called the “Pro-Pilot Assist” which keeps the vehicle centered in its lane, while following a car up front. The Altima will also beep after a lane change or if it hasn’t detected any effort on the steering wheel for 10 seconds. These technologies ensure that the driver stays awake and alert while behind the wheel. A surround view camera system also comes with the higher trims.

In general, both the 2019 Nissan Altima and Kia Optima models prioritize passenger safety. They are out in the market today because they have passed the quality assurance tests and regulations set up by the government. Both car models come with standard safety features like seat belts, airbags, stability programs, traction control systems, great outward vision, and a rear view camera.

Which Has the Best Value

The 2019 Nissan Altima comes in the S, SR, SV, SL, and Platinum trim levels, with increasing features as the price goes higher. But one thing that Nissan always does is that it already gives its base car the great stuff, as seen in the aforementioned features in this article. The base S model costs $24,645. However, this bottom figure can easily exceed past $35,000 in the top-of-the-line Platinum model which features a bigger turbo 4 engine, leather upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel, 19 inch wheels, power adjustable seats, navigation system, premium audio equipment by Bose, surround view camera system, driver-assist features, more safety features, and a moon roof.

Take note that the bigger turbo 4 engine will costs at least $3,000 more. This is available in front-wheel drive model only on the SR and Platinum trims. More over, an all wheel drive option is an upgrade at costing $1,350. Take note: the AWD cannot be paired with a turbo 4 engine. All that being said, regardless of the trim level, the 2019 Nissan Altima comes with a better and sharper look this year.

The 2019 Kia Optima come in 4 trim levels: the LX, S, EX, or SX. The base price of the Optima LX is $23,820 which offers all the amenities mentioned in the aforementioned section. The S line is $25,820 but gets bigger 17 inch wheels, front and rear spoilers, 10 way power front seat, and a twin pan sunroof. The EX gets a bigger engine at $27,720 with woodgraim trim, dual climate control, heated seats, and leather upholstery. The top range SX is $32,820 with a bigger engine, an 8 inch touch screen (which is an Altima basic), 18 inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, gloss black trim and more.

The Hybrids come in the EX with $28,815 and has Harmand Kardon 10 speaker, leather seats, heated steering, and power front seats. The same goes for the Optima Plug-in Hybrid but it is more expensive at $36,210, but with the promise of improved fuel efficiency.

Which is Better?

The more frugal buyer will opt for the base model of the Nissan Altima as it turns out cheaper because it already comes packed with a lot of amenities. The price difference between the two cars is actually not that big, so it may all boil down to the design. Those who want a sportier feel may end up choosing the Kia Optima 2019 model.

The most important thing that buyers have to do after reading their online research is to go to a dealership to check the actual cars for themselves. It is vital to take the Optima and Altima for a test drive. This is the only way to get the true feel and power of the sedan they are looking to buy. To make an informed choice that they don’t regret, customers have the responsibility of exploring and checking every avenue from online testimonials, product reviews, and different dealerships.
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