A spacious sedan with a stand-out design.

2019 Kia Optima Review | CarMax

If you are looking for a roomy midsize sedan with tons of standard features and sporty good looks, the 2019 Kia Optima will get your wheels turning. As part of the fourth generation that hit the scene in 2016, the 2019 Optima delivers a generous dose of cool equipment and technology, as well as three engine options—including two turbos. Craving something racy? You'll want to check out the SX trim and its slick interior and exterior touches that will turn heads as you charge on by.

Here's what you'll learn in this 2019 Kia Optima review:

Key Specs & Features

  • A 2.4L four-cylinder generating 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque comes as standard on 2019 LX and S trims.
  • A 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder (178 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque) comes standard on the 2019 EX trim.
  • A 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque comes standard on the sporty 2019 SX trim.
  • All 2019 Optimas feature a six-speed automatic transmission, except the EX trim, which includes a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
  • All 2019 trims come standard with an eight-inch touchscreen display and a rearview camera.
  • Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ capabilities come standard on all 2019 Optima models.


5 Reasons to Buy


2019 Kia Optima Review: Front Seats | CarMax

The Optima is one of the more feature-rich midsize sedans in the segment, dishing up a solid dose of standard equipment that you'd usually have to climb trim levels to get. Starting with the base Kia Optima LX, every 2019 model boasts an eight-inch touchscreen display, which includes Bluetooth® connectivity and a rearview camera to help simplify stressful parking moves. You'll also enjoy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities on all 2019 models, which provides seamless integration to your most-used apps. All 2019 Optimas come standard with premium driver-assist features, too, including blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning—to name just a few—all for your peace of mind.


If you want a midsize sedan that looks slick when it prowls, check out the SX trim. This model runs on a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that pounds the pavement to make 245 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. It features a sport-tuned suspension for more responsive handling, while the flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters will make you feel like you are driving a race car. This trim also includes some stylish exterior features, like 18-inch gloss-black alloy wheels and a gloss-black rear spoiler, as well as bright-red brake calipers and a dual exhaust with chrome tips.


2019 Kia Optima Review: Engine | CarMax

The 2019 Optima offers three engine choices to customize your need for performance: a 2.4L four-cylinder delivering 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque (LX and S trims), a 1.6L turbo four-cylinder with 178 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque (EX trim), and a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque (SX trim). All engines connect to a six-speed automatic transmission, except the EX's 1.6L turbo, which features a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This powertrain delivers the highest mpg rating of the bunch with an estimated 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway (2019 model)—wonderful if you plan to commute in your 2019 Optima EX.1


2019 Kia Optima Review: Backseats | CarMax

The 2019 Optima is a comfortable way to travel if you log many miles behind the wheel. The SX trim features a 12-way power adjustable driver seat with four-way power lumbar support to help you battle fatigue, while heated and ventilated front seats are a luxurious standard feature on this trim. With 35.6 inches of rear-seat legroom on all 2019 Optima sedans, your passengers won't need to fight for the front seat. There are also dual-zone automatic climate controls with rear-seat vents on 2019 EX and SX trims to keep everyone content. A rear power outlet and USB charging port (EX and SX trims) means your kids can keep their devices at a full charge on longer trips.

2019 Kia Optima Review: Trunk Cargo | CarMax


2019 Kia Optima Review: Tech Dash | CarMax

All 2019 Optima sedans boast Kia's UVO telematics and infotainment system to help you stay connected while enjoying your drive. UVO Play comes standard on the LX and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities to make calls, send and receive messages, and queue up music without taking your eyes off the road. Upgrading to the S and EX trims adds UVO Link, which includes other features, like on-demand diagnostics, maintenance alerts, vehicle alarm notifications, geo-fencing, and speed alerts. Need help finding your way? You can opt for UVO Link with Navigation, which is optional on the 2019 Optima EX trim or standard on the SX.

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What You Need to Know

2019 Kia Optima Configurations

The 2019 Kia Optima's trim configurations include four trim levels:

LX – The LX trim comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, an eight-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a rearview camera, and more.

S – The S trim adds 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, LED taillights, a rear spoiler, push-button start, cloth and leatherette upholstery, and more.

EX – The EX trim features 17-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, heated front seats, acoustic front-door windows, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear air vents, and more.

SX – The SX trim includes 18-inch gloss-black alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, red brake calipers, a flat-bottom steering wheel with red stitching and wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a gloss-black rear spoiler, and more.

2019 Kia Optima Interior

The 2019 Kia Optima is a midsize sedan with seating for five passengers. With 45.5 inches of front-seat legroom and 35.6 inches of rear-seat legroom and a wheelbase of 110.4 inches on all 2019 trims, the interior is very spacious. Cargo capacity is 15.9 cubic feet of volume on the 2019 Optima.

2019 Kia Optima Available Colors

The 2019 Kia Optima is available in eight exterior colors, including:

  • Ebony Black
  • Horizon Blue
  • Passion Red
  • Platinum Graphite
  • Sangria
  • Snow White Pearl
  • Sparkling Silver
  • Titanium Silver

Similar Vehicles

Toyota Camry

The 2019 Toyota Camry is another great option if you want a midsize sedan with athletic handling. The mid-range SE trim boasts a sport-tuned suspension for a stiffer ride, while special steering tuning provides sharper dynamics as you go through twists and turns. Power flows from the 2019 Camry's 2.5L four-cylinder engine that makes 203 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. A Direct Shift eight-speed ECT-i automatic with sequential shift mode also comes standard on the 2019 Camry SE, along with a leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters to engage with each rev. Sport SofTex®-trimmed front seats with fabric inserts add to the SE's race car-inspired feel.

Kia Stinger

Looking for a powerful, fastback sports sedan that you can take to the track on weekends? The trim-climbing 2019 Kia Stinger GT has the high-octane performance you crave with some slick standard features that will elevate your driving experience from fun to heart-pumping. Powering the 2019 GT trim is a 3.3L V6 with 365 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. of torque. It rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and boasts Brembo® brakes and a limited-slip differential on rear-wheel-drive models for more power. Adaptive suspension dampers and variable-ratio steering add to the 2019 Stinger GT's dynamic handling, while a launch control system helps the sedan reach a maximum speed of 167 mph.

Honda Accord

Are you a high-mileage commuter looking for less stops at the pump? The 2019 Honda Accord with the turbocharged 1.5L four-cylinder and continuously variable transmission is a smart way to go. This powertrain comes standard on the 2019 Accord and returns an EPA-estimated 30 mpg city and 30 mpg highway on LX, EX, and EX-L trims.1 The 2019 Touring trim allows you to dial into different modes for a more specific on-road experience. The standard three-mode drive system gives you the option of ECON, normal, and sport modes. This sedan is also a comfortable choice for long drives with heated and ventilated front seats and leather upholstery on the Touring trim.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 Kia Optima is a midsize sedan with a roomy interior, range of trim levels and engine options, and sporty turbo performance. With its spacious rear row, the Optima is a good choice for families or young professionals that need a practical and versatile four-door sedan, but the athletic SX trim also appeals to drivers that crave racy styling with on-road dynamics to match.

Looking to learn more about the 2019 Kia Optima and similar cars? Check out these related resources:

1Fuel economy figures are based on EPA estimates for when vehicle sold as new. Fuel economy may vary for reasons like driving conditions and vehicle history. Unless specified, figures are for vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission. See fueleconomy.gov.
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