Skip to main content

Used cars are more affordable alternatives to the higher-priced new vehicles. For instance, the 2020 Kia Optima and 2020 Hyundai Sonata are excellent options. These corporate cousins are similar in many ways. So, which is the better used midsize sedan, the 2020 Optima or the 2020 Sonata?

2020 Kia Optima vs. Hyundai Sonata: Pros and cons

A white 2020 Kia Optima driving on a road along a beach
2020 Kia Optima | Kia

The reliable 2020 Kia Optima has an attractive exterior, a stylish interior, and various engine options. Its non-hybrid model has a roomy trunk and standard driver assistance technology. However, the plug-in hybrid models have a large battery pack that eats into the car’s trunk space, while the traditional hybrid models return below-average performance.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata has many standard driver-assistance features and an elegant and spacious interior. It’s also comfortable and packed with features. However, its upper trims are slower than rivals’ lower trims. It’s also not the sharpest handler in its segment.

2020 Kia Optima vs. 2020 Hyundai Sonata: Powertrains and acceleration

A yellow 2020 Hyundai Sonata travels on a curvy mountain road
2020 Hyundai Sonata SEL | Hyundai Motor America

The 2020 Optima’s base powertrain has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine generating 185 hp and 178 lb-ft, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Then there’s a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with a seven-speed automatic, providing a smoother ride and producing 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Last is a 2.0-liter turbo-four harnessing 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. It can reach 60 mph in about 6.8 seconds.

Meanwhile, the 2020 Sonata’s two lower trims have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. The two higher trims pack a 1.6-liter turbo-four producing 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged version can go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.

Optima vs. Sonata: Interior and tech

2020 Kia Optima SX cockpit
2020 Kia Optima SX | Kia

The 2020 Optima has more legroom in front than its competitors. Choosing the non-hybrid model allows more room for storage, but opting for the hybrid variants sacrifices cargo space due to the large battery packs. As for tech features, the 2020 Optima has an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. Attractive upgrades in the upper trims include built-in navigation, a premium Harman Kardon audio system, and wireless charging.

The Sonata offers more room in the back seat and is generally more comfortable and spacious than the Optima. The interior provides a plush feeling, and the dashboard layout is simple and user-friendly. Like the Optima, the 2020 Sonata has an 8.0-inch center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. However, the Sonata also has Hyundai Digital Key, allowing drivers to use the MyHyundai app on their smartphone to unlock the car and operate certain functions remotely.

2020 Kia Optima vs. 2020 Hyundai Sonata: Prices, trim levels, and features

The Optima has six trims, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Trim levels are LX, S, Hybrid EX, EX, SX, and PHEV. Although the Optima base model already has plentiful features, the EX has even more luxuries, such as heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and leather upholstery. J.D. Power says people are paying $18,417 to $26,297 for used 2020 Kia Optima sedans.

The 2020 Sonata has seven trims, including the hybrid versions. They’re the SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Blue Hybrid, SEL Hybrid, Limited, and Limited Hybrid. U.S. News recommends the SEL for its balance of affordability and appealing features, such as dual-zone climate control, blind-spot monitoring system, and heated front seats. Average used prices for a 2020 Hyundai Sonata are between $18,455 and $26,392, per J.D. Power.

Which used midsize sedan is the right fit for you?

Despite their not-so-significant differences, the 2020 Kia Optima and 2020 Hyundai Sonata are excellent midsize sedans. They have similar powertrains, performance, and pricing. Ultimately, the choice between these two used midsize sedans boils down to personal preferences.

Regardless of which used car you choose, obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. Also, prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.