You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2015 Kia Optima

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/24/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Kia Optima adds a standard laminated windshield to all models except the LX where it is optional. Three new exterior colors are added to the LX and EX trims while a new black interior is now available on the former. SX Limited models gain brushed silver steering wheel bezels and white contrast stitching. All variants except the LX gains the next-generation UVO eServices with Geo Fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert, and Driving Score.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Kia Optima is a midsize family that slots above the compact Forte and below the full-size Cadenza. It is available in four trims, and has three engine options paired exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission.


The 2015 Kia Optima offers two gas-powered I-4 engines: a 2.4-liter with 192 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque and a turbocharged 2.0-liter rated at 274 hp and 269 lb-ft. Acceleration is decent for both engines with plenty of power for passing and merging at high speeds. Handling, however, remains lackluster with a soft suspension that "compromised control, with lots of body roll, a wallowing dynamic over bumps, and a somewhat floaty experience at highway speeds."

Fuel economy is decent for the class with the 2.4-liter achieving 23/24 mpg city/highway and 20/31 mpg with the turbo-four. A hybrid model is also offered with a 2.4-liter hybrid I-4 rated at 199 hp total system output. Its gas mileage, however, isn't as impressive as competitors with LX models achieving 36/40 mpg and EX variants rated at 35/39 mpg.

The 2015 Optima offers a decent amount of interior space and has ample room for cargo with a 15.4 cubic-foot trunk. Cabin design is a 2015 Optima strong suit with a driver-oriented center stack, many small storage spaces, and a large center console bin. Kia's UVO infotainment is easy to use with controls that are laid out logically and comes with a large touchscreen.

The 2015 Kia Optima has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars).

What We Think

The 2015 Kia Optima is a good choice for buyers who prioritize comfort and tech gadgets, as well as a bold design. In a 2014/2015 Midsize Sedan Big Test, the car placed second due to its well-built and laid out cabin that makes it feel and look "a class above the rest." Kia's infotainment system is notable because of its user-friendliness and intuitiveness, making it one of the easiest systems to use. Where the car falters is driving dynamics with a softly-tuned chassis in lower trim levels that make the car "feel lazy" and unstable over rough roads and at high speeds. SX models, on the other hand, have a stiff suspension that compromises ride quality and little to no handling improvement. The biggest problem in the SX trim is the optional turbo-four's acceleration, which is off the pace of competitors with V-6 or turbo-four engines. In a 2013 Long Term Verdict, we said that the car is "far from zippy" due to its as-tested 7.2-second zero to 60 mph time.

You'll Like

  • Well-designed cabin with many storage spaces
  • Comfortable seats
  • User-friendly infotainment system

You Won't Like

  • Lackluster handling
  • Disappointing acceleration with the turbo-four
  • Harsh suspension on SX models

Key Competitors

  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Accord
  • Nissan Altima
  • Mazda6
  • Ford Fusion


4 star


More from Motor Trend


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon