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As new car prices continue to soar, with demand still outpacing supply, you end up where we find ourselves today. Depending on the car or type of car you are interested in, a dealer markup—“market adjustment” as others call it—could tack anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 and even more than that for a rare or exotic car. That being the case, many are opting for used cars. Many used vehicles have seen significant price increases, but some, like the 2016 Kia Optima and 2016 Chrysler 200, have mostly slipped under the radar and remained relatively reasonable. 

The 2016 Kia Optima is very spacious

A blue 2016 Kia Optima parked outdoors.
2016 Kia Optima | Getty Images

The 2016 Kia Optima is the first model year in the model’s fourth generation. The fifth generation, which began in 2021, was renamed the “K5” but is the continuation of the same model. One of the fourth-gen Optima’s best attributes is interior space, U.S News reports. Part of this exceptional interior space may be the result of a 2-inch longer wheelbase when compared to the Chrysler 200.

Though the 200 and Optima are in the same mid-size sedan class, the Optima outshines its American competitor in almost every category related to interior dimensions. Most notably, the Optima has nearly 3 inches on the 200 for rear seat hip room and front leg room, as well as nearly 2 inches more in the front hip room.

Overall cabin space is 104.8 cu-ft for the Optima and 101.4 cu-ft for the 200. This may not seem like much, but a few inches here and there can make all the difference for overall comfort on a long drive—especially if you are on the tall side. That said, if you’re looking for trunk space, the 200 has you covered with a bit more room than the equivalent Optima. 

Reliability is a concern with the Chrysler 

Though the Kia has its fair share of engine recalls, the 2016 Optima seems mostly exempt. That said, with either engine, though primarily with the 2.4-liter engine, there are scattered reports of excessive oil consumption, reports CarComplaints. The Kia is also known for window regulator failure, but that problem is significantly less expensive or inconvenient than any potential engine issue. Additionally, depending on the mileage, the Kia may still have a factory warranty. 

The Chrysler 200 ranks 18th of 18 in U.S News’ affordable mid-size car list and is fitted with an engine with a very poor reputation for reliability and longevity. The 2.4-liter “Tigershark” 4-cylinder is known for oil consumption and a stalling issue. Unfortunately, these issues appear to be present at very low mileage, meaning this problem is not likely caused by age or deferred maintenance. U.S. News goes as far as to call the 200’s reliability rating “dismal,” giving it a 2 out of 5. The optional 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is a far better option on the 200 if you are concerned about reliability.

Performance and price are neck and neck between the 2016 Kia Optima and the Chrysler 200

The Optima and 200 are both mid-size sedans with two primary engine options. Both base engines are naturally aspirated 2.4-liter 4-cylinders. The Chrysler makes 184 hp and 173 lb-ft of torque while managing 23 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.

The Optima’s base engine offers 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque and manages 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. Both have comparable higher performance motors, though the Chrysler 200 has a naturally aspirated 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which makes 295 hp, with the Optima having a turbocharged 2.0-liter making 245 hp. It is worth noting that the Optima’s 2.0-liter option gets significantly better fuel economy than the Chrysler’s V6.

U.S. News reports the Chrysler 200 ranging from around $13,000 to $18,000, with the Optima ranging from $14,000 to $18,000. If you look at 2016 listings, you can actually find 200s with 100,000 miles for around $8,000 to $11,000, depending on the trim. The Optima bottoms out at about $10,000, but nice examples can be found in abundance for under $15,000.

The Chrysler is cheaper, but worse

The 2016 Chrysler 200 isn’t a bad car. In fact, it has some really great attributes. Its design is clean, the interior is nicely appointed, and it has a decent ride and a powerful V6 option. It’s even a little cheaper than the 2016 Kia Optima. Unfortunately, given its questionable reliability and more cramped interior, the Kia is a much better buy. Not only that, but the Kia has far better tech, more engine options, and a better list of standard features. The slight discount you’d get by going for the 200 just doesn’t outweigh the benefits of owning the Optima. The fourth-gen Kia Optima is an excellent buy in today’s ultra-inflated market. 


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