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2020 Kia Optima Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Kia Optima Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: LX vs S, EX vs EX Premium & SX

What 2020 Kia Optima Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

If you are in the market for an affordable sedan, you have probably already checked out the 2020 Kia Optima. This year's line-up got a lot of attention right off the bat for the changes Kia made to it. The addition of the EX Premium trim level has been well-received by auto gurus, and buyers are starting to pay attention to it as well. Also, the inclusion of pedestrian detection with forward collision warning is a smart one since other automakers have been adding this feature too.

Of course, when you have five trim levels to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which one will best suit your needs. The base LX trim is surprisingly well-equipped, but the line-topping SX might be a better choice if you prefer to have all the bells and whistles.

So, which trim should you buy? Are there any you should skip over in your decision-making process? By the end of this trim level comparison, you should have a better idea of which 2020 Kia Optima trim level - if any - will best match your requirements.

Price Tip
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Compare the 2020 Kia Optima LX vs S Trims. What is the difference?

The 2020 Kia Optima's base trim is known as the LX, and it has a lot of features for being a base trim on a non-luxury sedan. The LX comes in your choice of six exterior colors and two interior hues. The S, which prices at around $1,500 more than the LX, has five exterior colors and a standard black interior tone. The LX rides atop standard 16-inch silver-finish alloy wheels while the S gets upgraded to 18-inch machine-finished alloys. Auto light control comes standard on both. Also, the LX gets a chrome exhaust tip while the S gets two of them. The LX also has a matte gray front grille, heated side mirrors that are power-adjustable and have built-in turn indicators, high beam assist, LED daytime running lights, a locking fuel filler door, projector-beam headlights, solar control glass, sport bumpers on the front and rear, variable intermittent windshield wipers, and a tire mobility kit.

To that list of standard features, the S adds door handle pocket lights, sport black side sills, smart welcome, smart trunk (which opens the trunk if you just stand behind the vehicle with your key fob), a rear spoiler, fog lights, LED rear combination lights, and an optional sunroof.

On the inside, you will find quite a few similarities between the LX and S. They both have a 3.5-inch LCD meter display, 6-speaker sound system, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, an 8-inch touchscreen display, air conditioning, smartphone app integration (via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control buttons mounted to the steering wheel, a day/night interior rearview mirror, Drive Mode Select, two front console 12-volt power outlets, two sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors on each, cupholders on the folding rear center armrest, bottle holders on each door, power door and window locks, a rearview camera, and Siri Eyes Free. Siri Eyes Free has a button on the steering wheel which you push down on for several seconds before issuing a voice command. Audio controls are also mounted onto the wheel, which is part of a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. A trip computer and USB/auxiliary jack also come standard.

The S adds a few more features to the cabin. It gives you sport black seat trim with chic leatherette bolsters, smart key with engine immobilizer and push-button start, one-touch auto-up/down on the driver's and front passenger's windows, a leather-wrapped shifter knob and steering wheel, and a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with 2-way power lumbar support. You can also opt to add LED interior lighting.

Of course, what is under the hood matters when making a purchasing decision. Know that both the LX and S trim levels are powered by a sturdy 2.4-L inline-4 cylinder engine that gets 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission gets matched to this engine, and there is also a Sportmatic Sport Shifter. There is a multi-link rear suspension and MacPherson strut with a stabilizer bar up front.

However, there is a difference in fuel economy between these two trims. The LX nets a combined 29 mpg (with 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway) while the S trim drops down to 27 combined mpg (with 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway). That is something you should expect from a sport-oriented trim like the S though, so it is not too surprising that the numbers slightly drop.

As far as safety features go, the LX and S are both well-equipped. Both trim levels get blind-spot monitoring, driver attention warning, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane change assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, reverse parking distance warning, rear cross-traffic alert, hill start assist, the LATCH system for child car safety seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

It is also worth mentioning that Kia offers a generous warranty on each trim level. The Optima gets a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty program. Pretty nice, right? That alone might sway your decision to get the Optima.

Compare the 2020 Kia Optima S vs EX Trims.  What is the difference?

The EX is the Optima's third trim level, and it represents a significant jump in terms of features and performance. The EX comes in your choice of six body colors (all the same as the LX's) and has two different interior trims to select from. It sits atop 17-inch alloy wheels and adds sound-absorbing windows to the front doors.

Inside of the cabin, the EX adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an electronic parking brake with automatic hold. The EX also features a front console-mounted 12-volt power outlet, an illuminated glove box, heated front seats, leather-trimmed seats, and UVO link with the 8-inch touchscreen display, voice control, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio connectivity. Wood grain accent trim adorns the cabin, and there is a wireless charging pad for your devices.

The EX gets an engine upgrade too. This trim level is equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-L inline-4 cylinder engine that gets 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission rounds out the powertrain. The EPA estimate does jump to 31 combined mpg (with 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway). This engine is the most fuel-efficient one in the line-up, so if you want the best fuel economy, this is it.

Regarding safety features, the only addition is smart cruise control with stop and go functioning. Otherwise, there are no differences, and the higher trim levels do not get anything else added on.

Compare the 2020 Kia Optima EX vs EX Premium. What is the difference?

The EX Premium is all-new for the 2020 model year, and it builds upon what you get on the EX. The exteriors are fairly similar, but the EX Premium does standardize the power sunroof.

The interior gets a few nice upgrades, starting with the driver's seat becoming 12-way power-adjustable with 4-way power lumbar support. The passenger's seat becomes 8-way power-adjustable with 2-way power lumbar support. Ambient lighting illuminates the cabin, and the sound system gets upgraded to a 10-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system called QuantumLogic. This 630-w set-up comes with a feature known as Clari-Fi. This cleans up and restores audio quality that was lost in the compression process. In other words, it makes the sound you will hear even crisper and more true-to-reality than before. There is also a heated steering wheel, LED lights inside of the cabin, a leatherette instrument panel featuring lovely silver stitching, and HD Radio that gets added to the infotainment system.

Oh, bear in mind that the front seats gain ventilation, which feels nice during warm summer months.

Compare the 2020 Kia Optima EX Premium vs SX Trims. What is the difference?

It is clear that the new EX Premium trim level dishes out a lot of creature comforts. So what more could the line-topping SX trim possibly add? Well, to start off, there is the sporty red body paint color that also comes on the S. There is also a second interior trim option. The SX rides atop 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels. It also has LED front fog lights, LED headlights with an auto-leveling function, and low-beam assist-dynamic. The front and rear brake calipers are done in red, and the side mirrors, front grille, and rear spoiler are done in sport black. There is a space-saver spare tire that gets included.

The exterior design is not the only unique element of the SX. The interior gets treated to a lot of upgrades as well. It has an integrated memory system for the driver's seat, satin chrome accent trim, sport leather seat trim, a sport steering wheel with paddles shifters mounted onto it, and a supervision meter cluster with a 4.3-inch thin film transistor LCD color display.

What's more, the power output gets a serious boost with the 2.0-L turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine. This engine gets a whopping 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, that's a pretty serious upgrade. The 6-speed automatic transmission gets added into the fray. For just $2,000 more than the EX Premium, that is not a bad deal at all.

Buying Tip: To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Car Clearance Deals, NADAguides, CarsDirect & Motortrend.
These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Trim to Choose?

Clearly, the 2020 Kia Optima line-up has a lot of good choices. For the average driver, the EX should do just fine. It has a nice balance of infotainment features and power from the 1.6-L turbo engine. It is also the way to go if you want the best fuel economy. Of course, if you can pay a few thousand dollars more, the EX Premium packs a lot of luxury into the Optima and gives you the same strong powertrain.

If you want something that is sporty, the S trim level has a fair amount of sport features, but the engine will not be terribly impressive if you have a 'lead foot'. The SX does cost a bit more, but you get way more power and a lot more desirable features for the price. When it comes to sportiness on the Optima, it is best to go big or go home.

A lot of people will be interested in the base LX trim. And, for being a base trim level, it is fairly well-equipped. The fact that blind-spot monitoring and smartphone app integration come standard give the Optima an edge over quite a few of its competitors. However, the LX lacks a few key features that will draw people to the EX instead. Getting upgraded to dual-zone climate control is a huge lure, as are the heated front seats and standard leather upholstery. It feels luxurious without the luxury vehicle price tag.

Regardless of which trim level you go with, you will get a generous warranty and a fair amount of cargo space (15.9 cubic feet with all seats in place). You can bet that the Optima will be a strong seller for Kia this model year. It is a smart choice if you are looking for a new mid-sized sedan.
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Previous Kia Optima Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Kia Optima Trim Levels
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