Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review: 2013 Kia Optima SX-Limited

The Kia Optima has to be one of the best looking sedans in it's class. New for 2013 is the Optima SX-Limited. The 2013 Kia Optima competes against the Nissan Atima, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Dodge Avenger, Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu, VW Passat, and Chrysler 200. The Optima comes in 5 models: LX, EX, SX, SXL, and Hybrid. The last time I reviewed the Optima was back in 2011 which was the LX model. This go around my tester was a top of the line Optima SXL that had a price tag of $36,500.

The Optima has a very premium look to it. Many people were amazed that the car I was driving was a Kia. The exterior of the Optima is still refreshing to look at. The addition of LED lights makes the Optima standout even more, along with the red brake calipers. My tester's exterior color was Titanium Metallic.

The interior of the '13 Kia Optima SXL is very luxurious. The SXL's interior is my favorite out of the midsize sedan category. There is a mix of soft-touch and good quality materials throughout the cabin. The stitching on the dashboard and doors is a nice touch. I really fell in love with the Nappa leather seats. The seats in the Optima are firm but comfortable. There is more than enough legroom and headroom in the backseats. I love that Kia decided to tilt the center console towards the driver. I found it easier to reach the touchscreen, knobs, and buttons. The steering wheel definitely gets 2 thumbs up from me. I am a big fan of paddle shifters but I wish Kia would have put them on the steering wheel column instead of on the steering wheel.

My Optima SXL tester came with Navigation, Bluetooth audio streaming, backup camera, Sirius satellite radio, heated and cooled front seats, powered seats, memory driver's seat, remote power start, an electronic parking brake, and a Infinity sound system. The large touchscreen was responsive and worked well. It is still hot here in North Carolina so I did have on the cooled ventilated driver's seat.

The Optima's safety features include a Tire-Pressure Monitoring System, Side-Impact Door Beams, and 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes. Other features include Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Front Seat-Belt Pretensioners, Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags, Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children (LATCH), Front & Rear Crumple Zones, and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution.

Behind the Wheel
The 2013 Optima is powered by either a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine or a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. The 2.4L engine produces 200 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0L engine produces 274 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. My tester was powered by the 2.0L engine which is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Optima rode really well on the streets and roads here in North Carolina. I am not a fan of the steering in Kia vehicles but for some reason I thought the steering in the SXL was better. The 2.0L engine had more than enough power which made it easy to zoom in and out of traffic. The brakes used in the SXL trim were really good but I would have to drive the other Optima trim levels to really see the difference. I had no problem with the Optima's firm suspension but I'm sure if I was back on NYC roads my thoughts would be different. Majority of my time behind the wheel I used the paddle shifters which allowed me to be more connected to the Optima. The Optima has a huge trunk that can fit about 15.4 cu. ft of items in it. My time spent in the Optima SXL I averaged about 20 mpg combined.

The Kia Optima is a great choice in the midsize sedan category. This vehicle is for someone who wants to be seen in a car that is stylish and not a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. I didn't really have many complaints about the Optima other than the paddle shifters position. When I first found out about the Optima SX-Limited I was concerned about the high price tag. I wasn't sure if people would be willing to shell out that kind of money on a midsize sedan. For that price tag buyers could get in a Hyundai Azera, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima, Chevy Impala, or Toyota Avalon. I think the sales of the SXL have proved me wrong about what people are willing to pay for. The base Kia Optima starts at $21,200 and achieves 24 city and 35 hwy. The SXL achieves 22 city and 34 hwy. If you are in the Eastern Carolina area please stop by and visit the wonderful people at Lee Kia of Greenville to check out the '13 Kia Optima SXL.

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