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Honda and Toyota have led midsize sedan reliability with the Accord and Camry. However, a new study shows the most reliable midsize car isn’t a Honda or Toyota. It’s the Kia Optima.

The Kia Optima ranks as the most reliable midsize car

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

When shopping for a midsize car, reliability is crucial to consider. That factor can have a significant impact on vehicle ownership. If a car is reliable, it will likely have less frequent and severe repairs, resulting in less money spent and fewer hassles. It’ll also probably last longer. Other benefits include consistent performance and safety.

And based on J.D. Power’s analysis, the most reliable car isn’t the Honda Accord or the Toyota Camry. It’s the Kia Optima. Earlier this year, the data analytics company released its 2023 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), listing the three most reliable vehicles in various segments. In the midsize car category, the Optima is the best model for reliability. 

Neither the Accord nor the Camry made the top three. The second and third spots went to the Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion.

Why did the Kia Optima beat the Accord and Camry?

Cabin in Kia Optima, most reliable midsize car, says J.D. Power, not Honda Accord or Toyota Camry
Kia Optima | Kia

That the Kia Optima earned the top spot among midsize sedans is surprising, given the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry’s long-term reputation for reliability. Also, Kia retired the Optima nameplate. The company ended production of the fourth-generation model in 2020 and changed the car’s name to the K5

However, J.D. Power evaluates vehicles up to 3 years old for the Vehicle Dependability Study. The VDS is a compilation of thousands of owner surveys. Over 12 months, owners identified various potential problems. The issues covered multiple areas, including the exterior, interior, powertrain, driving experience, driving assistance, climate system, controls, and features. 

Because the Kia Optima had the fewest issues in those problem areas, J.D. Power named it the most reliable midsize car. It topped all other vehicles in its class, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Other Kia models honored for high-level reliability

The Optima wasn’t the only Kia model J.D. Power praised for high-level reliability. The Optima’s smaller sedan sibling, the Forte, is the best in the compact sedan class. In addition, the Sportage earned the top spot among compact SUVs, while the Sorento placed second among midsize SUVs. 

Furthermore, Kia fares well in automotive brand reliability. According to J.D. Power, it’s the third most reliable car brand, behind only luxury automakers Lexus and BMW. 

Repair costs for the Optima are low

As mentioned, the Optima’s reliability translates to low repair costs. RepairPal says the average annual cost to repair the sedan is $471. That number is lower than the $526 yearly average for midsize cars and $652 for all models.

The Kia Optima is a midsize car with outstanding reliability. It bests all other midsize sedans in the 2023 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, including the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.