Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
In the automotive world, attributes most appealing to consumers include looks, performance, fuel economy and a great price. The 2013 Kia Optima sedan possesses all of the above-mentioned items, and it backs the whole shebang with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
You'll Like The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid If...
If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient family sedan that isn’t easily lost in a crowded parking lot, the 2013 Kia Optima is it. Combining stunning styling with an affordable price and an unbeatable warranty, the 2013 Kia Optima goes beyond the basic family sedan in features, performance and resale value.
You May Not Like The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid If...
The 2013 Kia Optima’s styling may be a bit too over-the-top for some, and its sloping rear roof severely cuts into rear-seat headroom. Also, some of the Optima’s interior plastics still look and feel a bit hard.
For 2013, Kia has added a Limited model to the SX trim than includes Nappa leather seating, LED daytime running lights, red brake calipers and 18-inch chrome wheels. The manual transmission on the LX trim has been dropped, as has the turbo version of the EX.
On upper-end EX and SX trims, customers can opt for such extravagant features as a dual-panel moonroof, heated and cooling front seats, heated rear seats and a voice-activated navigation and infotainment system similar to Ford’s SYNC. While we love the look of the 2013 Kia Optima sedan’s interior, some of the plastic on the dash and steering wheel still lack the quality look and feel found in Honda, Mazda and even some GM and Ford products. The front seats are pretty comfortable for tall folks, but the Optima’s sharply-raked rear roofline may cause some headroom issues for the rear-seat passengers.
Looking a bit like something from the sci-fi movie Tron, the Kia’s 2013 Optima is a bold and original piece of work from the ground up. From its cross-hatch front grille and long sweptback headlight housing, to the weather-vane-style wheels on the SX trim, the Optima looks likes it’s going fast even when it’s parked. There is a duality about the Optima sedan for 2013, speaking to both luxury and performance all while masking its true nature to serve duty as a humble family sedan. Even base trims offer such nice features as heated side mirrors, chrome door-handle inserts and 16-inch wheels.
After just a short time behind the wheel of the 2013 Kia Optima, we came away impressed, both by the car’s driving dynamics and its 2.4-liter 4-cyinder engine. Confident cornering aided by nicely-weighted steering encouraged us to push the Optima sedan hard, and the electronic traction and stability controls always intervened when we pushed a bit too hard. The naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter engine develops an impressive 200 horsepower. This gasoline direct-injection engine is smooth, powerful and able to deliver 35 highway miles on a single gallon of gasoline. Whether it was passing slow-moving traffic or climbing steep grades, the 2013 Kia Optima’s 4-cylinder engine never failed to impress us. There is also a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine for those who crave more power. Equally as smooth and quiet as the 2.4-liter engine, the 2.0 turbo pumps out 274 horsepower, but is mated to the same 6-speed Sportmatic manually-shifting automatic transmission.
The 2013 Kia Optima sedan starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of under $22,000 and stretches past $35,000 when fully loaded. The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid starts around $28,000. Feature for feature, the 2013 Kia Optima sedan offers more for the money than the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion. Before heading to your local Kia dealer, be sure and check our Fair Purchase Price to see what the 2013 Optima is selling for in your area. As for resale value, we expect the newly- redesigned Optima to hold its value better than the Ford Focus, Dodge Avenger and Chevy Malibu, and to be only a few percentage points shy of the segment-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
Every 2013 Kia Optima family sedan offers Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod/USB audio connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a cooling glove box that keeps drinks chilled. As for safety, the Optima has an impressive array of features including six airbags and electronic stability control. Like other base-priced models in its class, the entry-level Optima includes 16-inch steel wheels and a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Optional equipment highlights include a panoramic sunroof, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, Nappa leather seating, Infinity sound system, touch-screen navigation system, UVO infotainment voice-active system and rearview camera. In addition to a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, the top-of-the-line 2013 Kia Optima SX and SX Limited models offer a lightly sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive styling cues. The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid features lightweight wheels in your choice of standard 16-inch or sporty 17-inchers, as well as the EcoMinder LCD panel with graphics and lighting that change to show when the car is achieving maximum fuel economy.
EXTERIOR STYLINGThe 2013 Kia Optima sedan is one of the sportiest, most stylish mid-size sedans out there. We’d even put it up against the styling of some $40,000 European luxury brands.TURBOCHARGED 2.0-LITER ENGINEWho needs a V6 anyway? This four-cylinder engine has 274 horsepower and an EPA highway estimate of 34 mpg.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Kia Optima sedan doesn’t offer the option of a V6, and why should it? The standard 2.4-liter 4-cylinder is nearly as powerful as some V6 engines and gets far better fuel economy. In fact, it has more power and better fuel economy than many other 4-cylinder cars in the category, as well. Those wanting more power can opt for the turbocharged 2.0 liter (SX trims only). Only one transmission is offered: A 6-speed Sportronic automatic with manual-shift mode. The Optima Hybrid uses the 2.4-liter engine mated to a 40-horsepower electric motor for a combined output of 206 horsepower.2.4-liter inline-4 (LX and EX trims)200 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm192 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle)186 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/35 mpg2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (SX and SX Limited)274 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm269 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/34 mpg2.4-liter hybrid inline-4 + electric motor/generator (Hybrid)166 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm40 horsepower @ 1,400-6,000 rpm (electric motor)154 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm152 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,400 rpm (electric motor)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 35/40 mpg
The famous automotive leader Bob Lutz once said it costs as much to build an ugly car as it does a beautiful one. In the 2013 Kia Optima sedan, Mr. Lutz’s words have been proven spot on. Costing no more than a comparably-equipped Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, the Optima for 2013 outshines its competition with stunning good looks, compact car-like fuel economy, a great warranty and ever-improving resale figures. Add to the mix a panoramic sunroof and heated and cooling seats, and the Optima might appear to be the bargain of the century. Models range from the well-equipped entry LX to the luxurious EX to the fuel-efficient Hybrid. There’s even a high-performance turbo model that will shame some premium brands costing tens of thousands more.