Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2019

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Although the redesigned 2011 Kia Optima doesn’t rank high on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top midsize sedans, don’t be fooled. The Optima is a reviewer favorite.

Motor Trend and peg it as a viable competitor against traditional segment leaders like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, and Kelley Blue Book calls it a “potential major player.” Popular Mechanics describes the 2011 Kia Optima as a “compelling choice.”

With all of these critical raves, why does the 2011 Optima rank low in the midsize sedan category? The main reason is its lackluster Predicted Reliability score of just 5.0 out of 10.

This score, which is given by J.D. Power and Associates, is based on the reliability of the previous Kia Optima model, but it still points to one of the few drawbacks of owning this vehicle.

It’s new to the market, so it’s impossible to predict how it will perform over time. It could turn out to be much more reliable than its predecessor, or much less so.

Read on to find out how much it will cost to insure a Kia Optima, or enter your zip code above to compare auto insurance rates.

Kia Optima Auto Insurance Rates

Insuring a base model Kia Optima will cost the average owner $8,725 if he or she keeps the vehicle for five years, Edmunds estimates. That works out to $1,745 per year, or $145 monthly. Compared to the projected auto insurance rates for other midsize sedans, the Optima’s auto insurance rates are high.

Toyota Camry drivers are projected to pay just $1,633 per year, and auto insurance premiums for the Hyundai Sonata are expected to be just $1,508 annually. Ford Fusion and Honda Accord drivers may save over $200 annually on auto insurance compared to Optima owners.

Edmunds projects that rates for these vehicles will be $1,483 and $1,420, respectively.

Repair Costs for the Kia Optima

At five years or 60,000 miles, the Kia Optima’s bumper-to-bumper warranty is nearly twice as long as many of its competitors’ coverage plans.

As a result, the typical Kia Optima driver doesn’t pay any repair costs out of pocket until the fifth year they own the car. This fifth-year bill is projected to be just $636.

Ford Fusion drivers will pay over $800 in repair costs over five years of ownership, and these costs will begin earlier in the life of the car, since the Fusion’s warranty is shorter than the Optima’s.

Anticipated repair costs for the Hyundai Sonata are about the same as the Optima’s since it has an identical warranty. Repair costs for both the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry are between $700 and $800 for five years since their bumper-to-bumper warranties are shorter than the Optima’s.

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Kia Optima Maintenance Expenses

For the first year the 2011 Optima is on the road, routine maintenance should cost you about $275. That rate will climb to $482 for the second year and decline again to $311 during the third year.

The expected fourth-year scheduled maintenance bill is $888, and the fifth-year tune-up will cost about $1,478. This all sums up to a total five-year routine maintenance bill of $3,434 for the Optima.

This maintenance cost is slightly higher than the anticipated expenses for the Ford Fusion, which total $3,411 for five years. If you drive a Hyundai Sonata or a Toyota Camry, you can expect to pay roughly $3,000 for maintenance over the same time frame, and Accord drivers will pay just $2,872 for five years of maintenance, Edmunds projects.

Kia Optima Crash Test Scores

The 2011 Kia Optima has been thoroughly crash-tested by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The NHTSA gave the Optima its highest score of five stars overall, and this Kia sedan also earned five stars on each individual crash test.

The tests conducted examined the Optima’s crashworthiness when it was involved in side, rear, and frontal impacts, as well as rollovers.

The 2011 Kia Optima also performed well in the IIHS’ crash testing, earning the coveted “Top Safety Pick” designation. The IIHS requires that vehicles receiving this title earn the highest possible crash test rating in all four of its tests, which are similar to the NHTSA’s, and also feature standard electronic stability control in all models.

Other “Top Safety Picks” in the midsize sedan category include the following vehicles:

  • Ford Fusion
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Subaru Forester
  • Chevrolet Malibu

Kia Optima Fuel Economy

The 2011 Kia Optima is available in several trim levels, as well as a hybrid model. The best-performing gasoline-powered Optima in terms of fuel economy is the LX with a manual transmission. It gets 24 city mpg and 35 highway mpg.

The Optima LX with an automatic transmission and the Optima EX, which is only available with an automatic powertrain, both get one less mile per gallon in highway driving than the manual LX.

The Optima EX Turbo and the Optima SX both match the EX’s 34 highway mpg rating, but get just 22 city mpg. These stats make the Optima the best-performing midsize sedan in terms of fuel economy, along with the Hyundai Sonata.

The EPA estimates that the Optima Hybrid’s fuel economy is 35 city mpg/40 highway mpg. This is identical to what the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid delivers, and it’s superior to the fuel economy stats for both the Nissan Altima Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

It’s not as good as the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 41 city mpg rating, but it’s better than the Fusion Hybrid’s 36 mpg highway rating. The Toyota Prius is the most fuel-efficient hybrid sedan, getting 51 city mpg/48 highway mpg.

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