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You'll Like The 2007 Kia Optima If...

If you're looking for a four-door sedan with responsive driving capabilities, a lot of features and an attractive price, the Optima should be on your shopping list. It's handsome, offers impressive safety features and represents a good value for the money.

You May Not Like The 2007 Kia Optima If...

If you absolutely crave attention, the Optima's exterior, which some may describe as bland, may not grab your eyes - or anyone else's. And, despite generous interior volume for the category, this midsize package won't be big enough for larger families.

What's New

No major changes for 2007.

Interior Features

Kia continues to offer increasingly worthwhile upgrades in interior design, materials and safety. Even in base LX form, the Optima's interior materials rate well above merely acceptable. Choose the available Appearance Package and you'll receive aluminum interior trim, automated light control and silver-accented inside door handles. On those cars with leather we were impressed by the leather's tone and its perforated texture. Conversely, the standard instruments could benefit from a typeface that was more attractive and readable and the front seat cushions could be angled up a bit more.

As the Optima is intended to appeal to young families, safety receives an appropriate emphasis. Its standard airbag arrangement includes advanced dual front airbags and front seat-mounted side airbags, along with full-length side-curtain airbags.

Exterior Features

While unobtrusively styled, the new Optima is still modern and attractive. The profile is fronted by an attractively restrained grille that's framed by halogen headlights with either clear or blacked-out lenses. The passenger cabin provides a nice balance between outward visibility and efficient aerodynamics. Front and rear overhangs are fairly short, while the fenderwells are nicely filled with either the standard 16-inch or the available 17-inch tires. The overall effect is that the Optima looks balanced and secure, in a way that is modern and even sporting.

Driving Impressions

The Kia team has made a commitment to blending the Optima's features into a nice combination of driving capabilities. In what might be considered as unexpected for a Korean brand, the Optima is actually fun to drive. Movements of the steering wheel are rewarded with crisp reactions into corners, body roll is minimal and the Optima enjoys a balanced feel, particularly when you consider it's a modestly-priced front-wheel-drive sedan. We found it completely engaging and enjoyable.

Pricing Notes

With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $16,955, the Optima LX's value is obvious. The EX is $19,995 and includes numerous worthwhile additional features. More options can move the price upward from there but, for budget-minded buyers, the LX will likely represent the better value. While the LX Optima's value is a no-brainer, a loaded EX enlarges the competitive field to include such vehicles as the Honda Accord and the Volkswagen Jetta. Unfortunately, the Optima's resale figures are near the bottom of the pack, falling well below the class leaders from Honda, Toyota and even Ford and Chevrolet.

Notable Equipment

The Optima continues Kia's tradition of providing a generous level of standard equipment for an attractive price. Our test LX model, with the four-cylinder engine, included power heated exterior mirrors, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, four-wheel disc brakes, an AM/FM/CD audio system and a split folding rear seat. Beyond that it offered gas shock absorbers and front and rear anti-roll bars, features often available only as part of a "sport" or "handling" package.

Notable Options

For those wanting a higher level of comfort, convenience and functionality, there is available leather seat trim, power and heated front seats, a manually operated rear window shade, power adjustable pedals, automatic climate control, alloy wheels, power moonroof, Infinity sound system and subwoofer, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and other features and options. The Electronic Stability Control Package (available on EX, and LX and EX when equipped with the V6 option) provides anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability control, traction control and brake assist with one easy check on the option list.

Favorite Features

2.4-liter four-cylinder engine

Although its specifications aren't too dissimilar from others in the midsize segment, the Optima's all-aluminum 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivers a pleasant character that is involving for the driver. It offers crisp response and decent power, and is so good that, on balance, there seems little justification for either the additional expense or the greater fuel consumption of the V6.

Appearance Package

The LX Optima is a well-equipped model that is considerably above the basic transportation category. For just under $3,000, however, the Appearance Package provides a host of upgrades attractive to both the original purchaser and, subsequently, the resale market.

Under the Hood

Our driving experience was limited to the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with either the five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. In both instances we were pleased by the engine's responsiveness, and the transmission gearing was well matched to the engine's characteristics. Although 162 horsepower isn't exactly stratospheric, in combination with a respectable 164 pound-feet of torque it's very usable. We see little benefit in opting for the V6, given the balance, efficiency and entirely acceptable performance of the in-line four.

2.4-liter in-line 4

162 horsepower @5800 rpm

164 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 24/34 (automatic)

2.7-liter V6

185 horsepower @ 6000 rpm

182 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30

Editors' Notes

The Kia Optima continues to offer buyers a well-built, well-equipped family sedan for less money than the competition. Based on the same platform as the Hyundai Sonata, the Optima distances itself with a sportier exterior and interior treatment, as well as a $1,000-lower base price. Over the last few years Kia has made impressive strides in both quality and content and, while not yet on par with such giants as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Optima comes very close. The Optima provides a roomy, comfortable interior, a large trunk and a choice between a fuel-efficient four-cylinder or a powerful V6 engine. Even the most basic models include such standard safety features as side-curtain airbags and front-seat Active Head Restraints.

Road Test Video Reviews

2007 Kia Optima Owner Reviews

60 Reviews
42% 35% 17% 5% 2%
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Best little car I ever owned.

2007 Kia Optima

My vehicle was bought from a loan company it had been repo'd from this lady and her son. The inside had a lot of damage but the car drove like a new one. The factory radio is awful that's the thing I hate about the car, however that is about the only thing I don't like about the car. The headlights are not that bright even when they are on high beam. I have hit 2 deer and the car still drives great. My car is automatic and manual I love that feature. The car is only a 4 cylinder but it will go really fast if I need it too, it uses very little gas on long trips and around town. My car was not built for comfort, while it is not uncomfortable to ride in around town it is not comfortable to ride in on long trips. I have never had any trouble out of the car mechanically other than replacing brakes and oil and transmission changes but that comes with the up keep of any vehicle. Over all I love my car I don't have any trouble out of it and it has never let me down. It always gets me wherever I want to go safely.

- Kelly D

Doing well for an older model.

2007 Kia Optima

No major problems to report. I can feel when the car downshifts when dropping below 20 mph; however I have been assured this is not a concern and I have learned to adapt to it. The low tire light has come on more than once, though I cannot find any tire that seems below recommended pressure. A length of trim along the windshield has trouble remaining in place. Clear Coat is flaking off the door handles from frequent use. Driver's side mirror turn signal light is dim and/or flickers. Driving through large puddles will cause the power steering to fail temporarily.

- Phil C

Even as an older car it has been a trooper across many miles and runs very well.

2007 Kia Optima LX

This car was a gift from my grandma that started out with very low mileage but has held up very well on multiple trips between states and mostly recently a cross country trip. While it is still runs well and requires the usual oil changes and maintenance, it has required more than usual due to the age of the car. I spent more than the value of the car on parts and maintenance last year due to seals cracking or breaking and some brake problems. With regular inspections and maybe a little less on the heavy traveling, it should have a few years left.

- Sara W

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