As an automotive journalist, I’ve had the pleasure of driving many new cars this year, however, there were a select few that really blew me away – surprisingly, a Kia was one of them – the 2013 Kia Optima SX Turbo to be specific.
If you don’t remember the outgoing Optima, that’s because the car was extremely boring and was created by the very lame and old Kia. But things have changed at the Korean brand and its parent company Hyundai. While the new Optima shares its powertrain lineup and architecture with the new Hyundai Sonata, the Kia is just a better overall car and it also outdoes some of its close competitors.
2013 Kia Optima SX Turbo Specifications:
- Style: Sedan.
- Seating Capacity: 5.
- Base Price: $26,800.
- Price as Tested: $31,925.
- Engine: 2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbo – 274-hp at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque between 1,750 and 4,500 rpm.
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
- 0 to 60 mph: 6.4 seconds.
- Top Speed: 152 mph.
- Curb Weight: 3,385 lbs.
- Fuel-economy: 22/34 mpg (city/highway).
When compared to its competitors, I think the 2013 Kia Optima looks much better than the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima…
The front features Kia’s new signature grill with projected headlamps. From the A through the C pillars, the Optima has a coupe like flow with the roofline connecting seamlessly with the pronounced shoulder lines. The back of the new Optima feature sexy LED tail lights that distinguish it from the rest of the competition.
Who’s responsible for all these good looks? Peter Schreyer, ex-head of Audi design, who Kia stole back in 2006 to lead its design.
The 2013 Kia Optima is available in LX, EX, SX and the Limited trim – all of which come equipped fairly well with wheel sizes ranging from 16- 18-inch alloy wheels. Buyers can add on a bunch of sporty trims including red brake calipers, chrome accenting, a rear spoiler and more.
Before you step inside the 2013 Kia Optima – you’ll have to forget what the Kia’s of the past were like. Gone are the days of cheap materials that were poorly put together. Kia now puts a lot of time and great attention to detail and quality and that is apparent with the new Optima. All Optimas come with a generous list of standard technology features including an AM/FM/CD/MP3/Satellite audio system with SiriusXM Satellite Radio capabilities and 3 months complimentary service, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control and an Active Eco System that allows drivers to optimize fuel efficiency while driving.
Our 2013 Kia Optima SX Turbo also came with a navigation system with Sirius XM Traffic, a rear-view-camera, push button start, an Infiniti sound system with 8 speakers, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, memory seats, power folding outside mirrors, panoramic sunroof with a gloss black pillar and Kia’s new UVO power by Microsoft infotainment system.
Comfort wise the 2013 Kia Optima SX Turbo is nothing short of impressive. The car comfortably seats 5 passengers with 8-way power adjustable driver seat with lumbar support and a 4-way adjustable front passenger’s seat. Rear leg-room is ample enough to comfortably sit anyone under/around 6 foot tall.
Interior quality wise, the 2013 Kia Optima is right up there with the top mid-size sedans and in some ways its even better. Our Optima SX Turbo featured soft touch materials with leather trims in all the right places. The center console even features nice (fake) carbon fiber trim.
2.0L 4-cylinder turbo / 274-hp and 269 lb-ft of torque – that’s more than almost every V6 engine in its class
During daily driving, the 2013 Kia Optima is definitely comfortable and the 4-cylinder turbo definitely acts like a V6 when accelerating from a standstill. Handling wise the Kia Optima doesn’t let down but don’t expect to take exits at more than 40-50 mph. Ride quality is very smooth and maneuvering in and out of lanes is done with ease.
Fuel-economy wise the 2013 Kia Optima Turbo manages and EPA-rated 22/34 mpg (city/highway). The lesser-powered 2.4 liter 4-cylinder hits 24/35 mpg. There is also an Eco mode that allows you to maximize fuel-efficeincy.
So, when it comes to the decision of which mid-size sedan you should buy – the choice here (at least to me) is pretty clear. Our 2013 Kia Optima SX Turbo was priced at $31,925 and while that may be expensive for a Kia, that price tag is pretty outstanding considering all the technology, performance, interior quality and good looks you’re getting. If you’re not that concerned with performance you can opt for the 200-hp 2.4 liter Optima EX with all the bells and whistles for just over $27,000.
If egmCarTech had yearly awards – I would have to give the 2013 Kia Optima the award for the best mid-size family sedan for 2012. Enough said.
All Photos Copyright egmCarTech © Omar Rana.
- By: Omar Rana