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2019 Kia Optima Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2019 Kia Optima?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Are You Considering a 2019 Kia Optima? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

In order to remain competitive in today’s midsize sedan segment, automakers must make constant improvements. Kia hopes buyers will appreciate the updates made to the new Optima. Although the competition remains stiff, the 2019 Kia Optima is properly prepared for the challenge. Not only does the Optima prove to be an incredible value, but it also delivers a smooth performance on the street. Let’s find out why the new Optima could be your best option.

What’s New for 2019?

Kia has given the 2019 Kia Optima some important updates. A lot of drivers will definitely be interested in the sedan’s revamped UVO infotainment system. Its popular styling has been refreshed as well.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2019 Kia Optima – The Pros

1. A Great Car for the Money

The 2019 Kia Optima is arguably the best value in the class. Prices start at slightly less $23,000. Even the more exciting SX Turbo model is priced less than $32,000. This is a good deal for a car that looks and feels more expensive than its actual cost. Kia’s 100,000-mile powertrain warranty helps make the Optima even more special. A competitive number of features come standard, including Kia’s recently updated UVO infotainment system and an advanced safety package.

2. Reasonably Efficient Four-Cylinder Engines

A 185-horsepower engine comes standard on the 2019 Kia Optima. It gives the sedan enough punch for running daily errands. Fuel economy stands at a combined 27 mpg on regular gas. If you desire better efficiency, choose the 1.6T EX model. A smaller turbocharged engine and a dual-clutch automatic transmission help this model to deliver the maximize fuel savings. According to the EPA ratings, you can anticipate getting a combined 31 mpg.

3. Sporty SX Model Deliver More Fun

If you are unexcited by the other trims, check out the 2019 Kia Optima SX. It’s the sportiest model in the Optima lineup. Kia equips it with a larger turbocharged four-cylinder, which pushes out 245 horsepower. Although the Optima SX isn’t as quick as the new Honda Accord Touring, it recorded a solid 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds. A sports-tuned suspension also gives the SX model a more planted feel on the road.

4. Composed Ride and Secure Handling

The 2019 Kia Optima is a nice compromise to the new Kia Stinger sports sedan. Although the Optima is not as athletic, it feels very composed on the road. A multi-link suspension enhances stability around curves. Predictable steering also helps make the Optima an easy sedan to drive. Ride comfort is good as well. Even when transitioning from one road surface to the next, the Optima maintains its smoothness.

5. Styling Keeps Getting Better

Most car reviewers already considered the Optima to have head-turning good looks. However, the 2019 Kia Optima has an even more attractive appearance. Subtle styling tweaks give the 2019 model a striking resemblance to the new Stinger sports sedan. While the base Optima LX definitely deserves some consideration, a rear spoiler enhances the S model's sleek profile. Meanwhile, dual exhaust pipes and 18-inch sport wheels are found on the SX model.

6. Made for Families

You will not have any complaints about the Optima's available space. Like the front seats, the backseat can accommodate tall and short passengers. You will also enjoy the available four-way lumbar for the driver's seat. While the Optima is made for the everyday grind, a comfortable interior design makes it more than appropriate for a long road trip. Storage space is outstanding for a midsize sedan.

7. Perfect Safety Rating

The 2019 Kia Optima garnered a perfect overall safety rating from the NHTSA. It also received "Top Safety Pick+" credentials from the IIHS. Even the Optima's headlamps received a good rating for nighttime visibility. Furthermore, every trim in the lineup benefits from a standard safety package. You'll enjoy lane change assist, forward collision warning, and driver attention warning. A surround-view camera is optional.

8. Top-Ranked Infotainment System

Kia has made some key improvements to its UVO infotainment system. The interface is now near the top of the class. You'll like the touch screen's high-resolution graphics and quick response time. Most importantly, this infotainment system doesn't take a lot of brainpower to use. After connecting your smartphone, you should have no trouble accessing mobile apps.

9. UVO Link

This year, Kia has introduced a new UVO link feature. It allows you to control some of the car's functions via your smartphone. For example, you can adjust the climate before even climbing behind the wheel. UVO link also enables drivers to remotely lock and unlock the doors. Accessing roadside assistance is a piece of cake.

10. Wi-Fi Hot Spot

Wi-Fi has become one of the most sought after features in the automotive world. Fortunately, the 2019 Kia Optima now offers a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot. Your family will always have a reliable connection to the web. No longer will you have to endure the frustration of searching for a Wi-Fi connection.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2019 Kia Optima – The Cons

1. No AWD System

Although Kia has made extensive updates to the Optima, you still won't have access to an AWD system. All versions of the Optima feature front-wheel drive. When you head out on a wintry day, an AWD system would inspire more confidence. If you need a sedan to handle snowy road conditions, consider the 2019 Subaru Legacy and the redesigned 2019 Nissan Altima. Both of these family sedans offer all-wheel drive.

2. Could Deliver Better Gas Mileage

The 2019 Kia Optima is not an inefficient automobile. Nevertheless, it trails the competition in the fuel economy department. Rivals, such as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, are better on gas. While the EPA rates the new Camry to return up to 41 mpg on the highway, the Accord can return up to 30 mpg in the city.

3. Not Quite As Engaging to Drive As Some Rivals

You can have fun in the new Optima. This is especially true for the sports-tuned SX model. However, the Kia Optima is still not as engaging to drive as some rivals. The Accord Touring and the Camry XSE V6 are quicker. You also can't get the Optima with a manual transmission.

4. EX 1.6T Trim's Transmission Is Not Precise

Kia equips the EX 1.6T with a special dual-clutch automatic transmission. It's geared to help promote better fuel economy. Unfortunately, test drivers have noticed the transmission's imprecise shifts. When accelerating from a stop, the transmission doesn't allow you to maximize the engine's performance.

5. Tighter Rear Headroom

Like most cars that feature a sleek roof, the Kia Optima sacrifices some headroom. Tall passengers will certainly notice the sedan's lower roof. Before you buy a new Kia Optima, make sure your family and friends will fit comfortably.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition

The refreshed Kia Optima competes against the 2019 Honda Accord. While the Accord packs more performance, it's warranty coverage is not nearly as rewarding. Furthermore, some car shoppers will prefer the Optima's dynamic styling.

You may also be considering the 2019 Toyota Camry. While the Camry is arguably the best car in the class, you should still give the Optima a test drive. You could ultimately be won over by the Optima's great value.

Don't forget about the 2019 Mazda 6, which is known for its sporty driving dynamics. It handles especially well. However, your family will have more space to stretch out in the Optima.


The 2019 Kia Optima proves to be a good car. While the Optima has several adoring qualities, a lot of car shoppers will be lured by its hot styling. You will also love the Optima's overall value, which has been bolstered by a standard safety suite. If you desire more fun on the road, upgrade to the sporty SX model.

Despite being a highly recommended family car, the Optima does have a few shortcomings. Aside from the Optima's limited rear headroom, it also delivers less gas mileage than some competitors. Although the EX 1.6T model will save you more money at the pump, some drivers may not like the performance of its transmission.

Previous Kia Optima Buying Guides:

Why buy a 2018 Kia Optima? w/ pros vs cons