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Traditional internal combustion engine sedans used to be the best-selling vehicles on the market. Despite rolling exits from the mainstream, midsize sedans are still some of the most reliable and budget-friendly modes of transportation. Many may think German build quality rules the segment, but a recent study proves that wrong. Korea’s 2020 Kia Optima ranks above two American midsize sedans as the most dependable three-year-old car.

What is the 2020 Kia Optima?

The 2020 Kia Optima is a dependable used car
2020 Kia Optima | Kia

In its last year of production, the Optima offered a generous amount of standard equipment for a starting MSRP in the mid-$20,000 range. Among the best was its impressive driver assistance suite. For the 2020 model year, pedestrian detection was added to its forward collision mitigation system. Otherwise, the Optima has the same stylish interior and easy-to-use infotainment system part of the fourth-generation sedan introduced in 2016.

Although Edmunds says the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is a bit thirsty, its sub-seven-second 0-60 mph time is a welcome characteristic. Each 2020 Kia Optima is designed as a comfortable cruiser, but there is a more athletic trim level of the four offered. The SX adds a sport-tuned suspension that lends responsive handling during vigorous driving.

How dependable is the 2020 Kia Optima?

J.D. Power reviewed the 2020 Kia Optima in its 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Kia was ranked third in the midsize sedan segment, behind the Chevrolet Malibu and the Ford Fusion. Three years later, J.D. Power included Optima analytics from real owners in their Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).

The consumer analysis agency used over 30,000 vehicles to categorize 184 consumer complaints into several classifications. They included Climate, Driving Assistance, Driving Experience, Exterior Features/Controls/Displays, Infotainment, Interior, Powertrain, and Seats. Subsequently, the Kia Optima ranked first in the segment. Chevrolet’s Malibu and Ford’s Fusion came second and third to the Korean midsize sedan.

Moreover, Kia was awarded the most dependable mass-market brand in the 2023 VDS. Chevrolet was a close second; however, Ford was placed at the bottom as the least dependable mass-market brand.

Was the Kia Optima discontinued?


The 2020 Kia Optima Has Everything You Need in the Base Model

Technically, the Optima is no longer with us but in name only. For the 2021 model year, Kia replaced the Optima with the mechanically similar but completely redesigned Kia K5. Its overall fastback-style design resembles its Hyundai Sonata corporate cousin. Yet, its styling takes on Kia’s unique exterior accents, like Z-shaped running lights. The K5 features the predecessor’s 1.6-liter turbo-four, but a 290-horsepower 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder replaced the 2.0-liter engine. All-wheel drive was a newly available feature, giving the Kia all-weather credentials.

On the inside, the significant redesign offers an impressive eight-inch infotainment touchscreen connected to a six-speaker audio system. Above the base model, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with a 12-speaker Bose system is available, but reviewers say it’s less practical.

How much is a used 2020 Kia Optima?

Although the 2020 Kia Optima boasted dependability, it also offered affordability. Used market prices for vehicles under 45,000 miles may not have dipped far below the original MSRP, but they’re still a decent bargain pick. Autotrader reports base model Optimas sitting right above or below $20,000. For the upper-level Optima EX, prices are in the mid to high $20,000s.