Toyota might be one of the top automakers in the world, but it just got beaten out by Kia. According to U.S. News’ midsize sedan rankings, the Kia Optima beat out the legendary Toyota Camry for the No. 1 spot. It might be one of the biggest upsets in the auto world to come in recent years, so how did this happen? Turns out that Kia just knows how to make a great car, and the awards it has earned over the years proves it.
Why the 2020 Kia Optima is such a great car
Not only did the Kia Optima earn the Top Midsize Car Award, but it was also a finalist for U.S. News 2020 Best Midsize Car for the Money award. The Kia also won several awards from J.D. Power including the quality award, the dependability award, and the performance award.
So why is the Kia Optima wracking in the awards? It’s the fact that Kia took the time to make sure each part of the Optima was made with everyday drivers in mind.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the Kia Optima looks stylish both inside and out. The body style may not make it stand out from the competition, but it’s still a very attractive looking car.
The Optima comes equipped with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 hp. For drivers who want a powerful vehicle, this doesn’t exactly hit the mark, but regular owners will be more than satisfied.
The interior is what really stands out on the Optima. It can seat up to five adults easily. Passengers who have long legs can sit comfortably in the back without having to scrunch in together. Cloth upholstery comes standard, but for a little extra, you can upgrade to synthetic or genuine leather upholstery.
The tech is also worthy of a pricier car. The Kia Optima comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and a six-speaker sound system. All of this comes standard.
Even better is the price. Kia is known for making high-quality vehicles for half the price of the competition, and the Optima is no exception. The base model starts at $23,390. The highest trim level, the Optima SX, costs $32,190.
What are some cons of the 2020 Kia Optima?
There really isn’t a lot to complain about with the Optima. The 2013 model is the most complained-about Optima out there, but Kia has worked hard to turn that around.
According to U.S. News, “you really have to nitpick to find faults with the Optima. Doing so reveals subpar fuel economy and less-engaging handling than some key rivals.” The Kia Optima gets 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg highway. This is far from terrible, but many sedans get better.
Edmunds was disappointed with the 1.6T powertrain option. It doesn’t offer a smooth ride, and it can be hesitant when responding. The review site also dislikes the roofline that cuts into the passenger headroom. Otherwise, the Optima has earned some really glowing reviews.
How does it compare to the Toyota Camry?
The Toyota Camry gives the Kia Optima some real competition. For example, the Camry gets 29 city mpg and 41 highway mpg. That leaves the Optima in the dust. The Camry also has a powerful V6 engine that is far superior to the Optima’s four-cylinder engine. Car and Driver even thinks that the 2020 Camry is the best model that Toyota has ever produced.
With its price factor as well as its upscale interior that offers better value, the 2020 Kia Optima has enough to tip the scales in its favor.