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Who Wins: 2020 Toyota Camry vs. 2020 Kia Optima?  

2020 Toyota Camry vs. 2020 Kia Optima

To determine which model is better among the two, we have to fully understand their individual strengths and weaknesses. So we will discuss each category and rate them on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest), according to their overall impact on each vehicle. 

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2020 Kia Optima


  • Cozy ride
  • Outstanding Infotainment controls
  • Excellent predicted reliability rating
  • Upscale cabin



  • Poor fuel efficiency estimates

New for 2020

  • No major changes

2020 Toyota Camry


  • Engaging and fun to ride
  • Exceptional safety score
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Ample list of standard features



  • Noisy Cabin
  • Insufficient trunk space

New for 2020

  • TRD trim joins the lineup
  • Android Auto now standard


2020 Kia Optima

  • Price: $23,390 – $32,190 (depending on the trim)
  • Scorecard: 8.6 Overall
  • Critics’ rating: 8.5
  • Performance: 7.3
  • Interior: 8.1
  • Safety: 10.0
  • Reliability: 4.5 out of 5


2020 Toyota Camry

  • Price: $24,425 – $31,170 (depending on the trim)
  • Scorecard: 8.5 Overall
  • Critics’ rating: 9.2
  • Performance: 8.5
  • Interior: 7.4
  • Safety: 10.0
  • Reliability: 3.5 out of 5



2020 Kia Optima     8.6


Optima Engine: Turbocharged engines for EX and SX trims


The optima comes standard with a 2.4 four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. It is partnered by a six-speed automatic transmission. Even though this powertrain is good for travelling back and forth  and driving around town, it is not especially powerful.

Check out the higher trims for something more potent. The SX model boasts a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine rated at 245 horsepower and 260 pound torque, and they come with a six-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, the EX comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and a turbocharged 1.6 four-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.


Optima Gas Mileage: Below standard

The vehicle got an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with its base engine. Most midsize sedans got higher ratings. The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine does better, returning 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine trails the pack at 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.


Optima Handling and Ride: Pleasant and Poised

The Optima offers a gentle, tranquil ride over most roads. The SX goes with a sport-tuned suspension, which makes the ride a bit rigid. Rivals such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are more agile and front-wheel drive comes standard.


2020 Toyota Camry     8.5

Camry Engine: 2 Potent Choices

A 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that produces 203 horsepower comes standard in the base model, and it offers solid energy for your daily commute. For those who want more muscle, a 301-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 is available. Both engines run well with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.


Camry Powertrain/Performance Options:

Base engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque in FWD L, LE, and XLE, while the AWD version of LE and XLE has 202 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. And the FWD XSE has 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, while the AWD XSE has 205 horsepower and 185 pound-feet of torque.


Available engine: XLE and XSE has 3.5-liter V6 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, while the TRD has standard. 

Drivetrain: available all wheel-drive; standard front-wheel drive

Transmission: eight-speed automatic


Camry appearance packages:

SE Nightshade Edition: unique exterior styling modifications


Camry individual performance options:

For TRD trim: V6 engine, a fixed rear seat, sport seats, aluminum sport pedals, sporty interior and exterior styling, and a suspension system specific for TRD trim.


Camry Gas Mileage: One of the best

Camry models with the standard four-cylinder engine rates 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, which are impressive for the class. Models with the V6 engine get ratings drop by 7 mpg in the city and 8 in the highway.


Camry Handling and Ride: More fun than you expected

The Camry may be a practical and functional car, but that does not mean it is not fun to drive. On top of its strong engines, this midsize sedan offers a smooth ride, fairly sporty handling, and direct steering.



The 2020 Camry’s base trim engine is more potent that of the 2020 Optima. The Camry also has a better fuel economy, being one of the best among its class, while the Optima does poorly, having below standard fuel economy. When it comes to ride and handling, both vehicles perform well on most roads and are engaging to drive. But overall, performance-wise Camry has the edge over Optima.



2020 Kia Optima     10.0


Optima Crash Test Results

The Optima got a perfect overall safety rating of 5 out of 5 stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA gave Optima five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.


The 2020 Optima was given by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) the highest rating of Good in all 6 crash test categories. It also got the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention, credited to its standard forward collision warning system. However, the Optima’s headlights got mixed reviews for their ability to provide light for the road ahead: the standard halogen headlights received a lowest rating of Poor but the SX’s LED headlights got the highest rating of Good .

Optima Safety Features

A blind spot monitoring, rearview camera, forward automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane change assist, lane departure warning,  rear cross traffic alert, a driver drowsiness monitor, and forward collision warning come standard in the base trim. Features such as a 360-degree parking camera, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, pedestrian detection and automatic high-beam headlights are available. 


2020 Toyota Camry

Camry Crash Test Results

The 2020 Camry got an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received five stars in all three crash tests performed.

The 2020 Camry also got the highest rating of Good in all six crash test categories performed by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It also got the top rating of Superior for front crash prevention. The Camry’s headlights got the second-best rating of Acceptable for their ability to provide light for the road ahead.

Camry Safety Features

The Camry is packed with a myriad of active safety features such as the Toyota Safety Sense-P suite of driver assistance features and a rear view camera. The Toyota Safety  package includes forward automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning.

Reverse automatic emergency braking, a surround-view parking camera system, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, and a head-up display are available options.



Both vehicles did well on their crash tests, earning the highest ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But the 2020 Camry got a better review on its headlights. The 2020 Optima and the 2020 Camry are also both equipped with several safety features.



2020 Kia Optima     8.1


How many people can the Optima accommodate?

The Optima can seat five people on standard cloth upholstery. Genuine leather upholstery, synthetic leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and power-adjustable front seats are available.

The front and back rows have plenty of room, and even tall occupants can stretch out in the back. The front seats are comfy and supportive, especially in the SX trim, which has additional seat bolstering.


Optima and Child Car Seats

This Kia comes with two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the rear outboard seats, as well as a third anchor for the rear middle seat.


Optima Interior Quality

Only a few midsize cars can par with the luxury of this sedan’s cabin. There's plenty of soft-touch surfaces and high-end materials.


Optima Cargo Space

The 2020 Kia Optima comes with a 15.9 cubic-feet trunk, which is above average for the midsize car class.


Optima Infotainment, Navigation, and Bluetooth

The Kia Optima LX sedan comes standard with features such as UVO infotainment system with an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, and a six-speaker sound system.


Tech features including a Wi-fi hot spot, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo, and three additional USB ports are available. The UVO infotainment system is easy to use. The touch screen displays crisp graphics and responds quickly to inputs and there are physical controls for some functions.


2020 Toyota Camry     7.4

How many people can the Camry accommodate?

The Toyota Camry can seat up to five people. This car has roomy, comfortable seats in the front and back row seats, however, taller occupants may wish for more rear headroom.


Camry and Child Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors on the rear outboard seats of the Camry. The rear middle seat has an upper tether and the ability to borrow lower anchors from the adjoining seats when they are not in use. Both the tethers and anchors are easy to find and use.


Camry Interior Quality

Although it features quality materials, the Camry’s cabin can be noisy. Cloth upholstery comes standard. Heated front seats, leather upholstery, and power-adjustable front seats are optional.


Camry Cargo Space

The base trim Camry comes with 14.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which is slightly smaller than its rivals. All other Camry trims come with 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which is still smaller than their rivals.

Camry Infotainment, Navigation, and Bluetooth

The 2020 Toyota Camry comes standard with features such as a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Siri Eyes Free, a Wi-fi hot spot, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo. Tech features including an 8-inch touch screen, two more USB ports, HD Radio, anda nine-speaker JBL audio system are available. The infotainment system is easy to use. It boasts responsive touch controls and handy audio and physical climate controls.



Both vehicles provide spacious cabins but the Camry is not as suitable for tall passengers seating at the back as the Optima. Taller passengers can even stretch out in Optima’s rear seat. Optima offers a more luxurious interior than the Camry. On top of that, the Optima has more cargo space being above average for midsize car class whereas the Camry is not only smaller than Optima’s but also slightly smaller than its other rivals.



2020 Kia Optima     4.5 out of 5

Is the 2020 Kia Optima Reliable?

Yes, it is. J.D. Power gives it an excellent 4.5 out of 5 predicted reliability rating.

Kia Optima Warranty

The Optima’s basic warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles and its powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles. Those are lengthier warranties than what most competitors provide.


2020 Toyota Camry     3.5 out of 5

Is the 2020 Toyota Camry Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2020 Toyota Camry a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Toyota Camry Warranty

The Camry comes with a three-year or a 36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty.


Based on the data from J.D. Power, the Optima is more reliable than the Camry. The Kia Optima also has a lengthier warranty than the Toyota Camry.

Should I purchase a New or Used Optima?

The Optima was last redesigned by Kia for the 2016 model year. Following this, this sedan has seen a few significant updates. The 2018 Optima received standard Apple CarPlay, Android Audio, blind spots monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert.

The 2049 Optima gained more standard driver assistance features, such as driver drowsiness monitor, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, and lane change assist. The 2020 Optima sees no major modifications. You may be able to find a similarly furnished older model for less cash.

Should I Purchase a New or Used Toyota Camry?

The 2020 Camry is part of the 2018 model generation. Toyota only made minor changes to the Camry since then. Amazon Alexa and Apple Play became standard in the 2019 model. Toyota added the sporty TRD trim to the Camry lineup for the year 2020 model, and Android Auto became standard. If you are okay without the added infotainment features and aren't interested in the TRD trim, better to go with the similar 2018 Camry, which is likely less expensive.

If you want to save more money, go with a previous-generation Camry. However, you'd miss out on the significant changes that arrived with the 2018 redesign. Those changes include more potent engines, better fuel economy, improved handling, and more standard safety features.



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