2016 Kia Optima review

Research, photos, specs, and expertise

Kia Optima highlights

Customer rating


  • Attractive exterior styling
  • Comfortable and quiet cabin
  • Good fuel economy from the 1.6L turbo engine


  • Restricted rear-seat headroom
  • Steering lacks responsiveness
  • Base engine performance is underwhelming

Mileage (EPA estimate)

22 city, 32 highway, 25 combined

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All Kia Optima years

What is new for the 2016 Kia Optima?

  • Optima trims have been upgraded with Rear Sunshade, Automated Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Spoiler, and Harman Kardon Sound as standard equipment this year.
  • The SX trim now comes with Front Seat Heaters, Heated Steering Wheel, Memory Seat(s), Rear View Camera, and Navigation System as standard equipment.
  • The LX trim now comes with Rear View Camera, Smart Key, and Turbo Charged Engine as standard equipment.
  • The EX trim now comes with Front Seat Heaters, Heated Steering Wheel, Memory Seat(s), and Rear View Camera as standard equipment.

5 reasons to buy the 2016 Kia Optima

1. Redesigned for 2016

2016 ushered in the fourth generation of the Kia Optima, making style and engineering changes that evolved this midsize sedan further. The exterior look is more bold, the interior is more comfortable and refined, and new standard features — such as a cooling glove box and back-up camera — were added for this year. Kia focused on comfort and space for the 2016 Optima, introducing soft-touch materials throughout the cabin as well as striking accents.

2. Designed for driver comfort

The driver is very much front and center in the 2016 Kia Optima. The dashboard and instrument panel are laid out well and easy to use, while a focus on ergonomic design ensures comfort as well as ease. Many great tech features – such as rear parking sensors, blind spot detection, Bluetooth® integration, and a cooling glove box – come as standard and are designed to ensure your life is made just that little easier, enabling you to simply enjoy the journey.

3. Upgraded power

The engine options for the 2016 Kia Optima ensure everyone is catered for, and is a step up from the previous year's model. The base engine is a 2.4L four-cylinder offering 185 hp, which comes with the LX and EX trims and is more than enough grunt for most drivers. Additionally, the LX Turbo has a 1.6L turbocharged engine with 178 hp, while the SX Turbo and SXL Turbo contain a 2.0L four-cylinder turbocharged engine which creates 245 hp. This makes it particularly good for highway maneuvers and long drives.

4. Roomy and versatile

The spaciousness of the 2016 Kia Optima really adds another dimension of comfort and luxury to this sedan. It seats five and the passenger volume is a generous 104.8 cu-ft, with roomy front seats. Front headroom is 39.8 inches and front legroom is 45.5 inches. The 2016 Kia Optima also comes with two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors on the second-row outboard seats. Cloth seats are standard, but the EX and SX trims offer leather upholstery and heated front seats

5. Useful features

This is a car that's designed to make driving enjoyable and stress-free, and part of that is tied in with the features it offers. The base 2016 Kia Optima comes with satellite radio, a backup camera, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port as standard. The EX and SX Turbo trims add more luxurious leather seating as well as dual-zone automatic temperature control. With the SXL Turbo, expect premium features such as mirror memory, HID headlights, and a 10-speaker audio system to make journeys seriously fun.

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Ratings & reliability

Customer ratings

The 2016 Kia Optima is a car that is loved by many customers. They love the sleek design, the comfortability on the inside, and the technology.

RepairPal gave the Kia Optima an overall reliability rating of 4 out of 5 stars, which RepairPal describes as Excellent. This rating ranks Kia Optima 8th out of 28 among Midsize Cars.

View RepairPal's full rating of the Kia Optima

Kia Optima features and specs

EX 2WD 4D Sedan

Standard Features

  • ABS Brakes
  • Air Conditioning
  • Alloy Wheels
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Automatic Transmission
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • CD Audio
  • Cruise Control
  • Front Seat Heaters
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Leather Seats
  • Memory Seat(s)
  • Overhead Airbags
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirrors
  • Power Seat(s)
  • Power Windows
  • Rear Defroster
  • Rear View Camera
  • Satellite Radio Ready
  • Side Airbags
  • Smart Key
  • Traction Control
  • A/C Seat(s)
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Bluetooth Technology
  • Harman Kardon Sound
  • Leather Seats
  • Navigation System
  • Panoramic Sunroof
  • Parking Sensors
  • Rear Seat Heaters
  • Rear Sunshade
  • Remote Start

Drive Wheels

Front Wheel Drive (2WD)

Engine size




Torque (ft-lbs)


Engine type


Fuel capacity




Overall length






Leg room

F 45.5"/R 35.6"

Head room

F 39.8"/R 37.8"

Front tires


Rear tires


Seating capacity




2016 Kia Optima FAQ

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