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KIA Optima Reliability – How Long Do Kia Optimas Last?

KIA Optima Reliability

The KIA Optima became KIA’s first mid-sized sedan, that was a vehicle that stayed current consistent and on the cusp of technological innovation. While the first generation of the Kia Optima was released between the years 2000-2005, by the KIA Motor Company. Upon its first release, auto makers worked to improve the Optima to meet the advances that the world presented. 

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The KIA Optima Timeline 

  • 2000-2001: The KIA Optima makes its debut and offers drivers several trim levels as well as the choice of a 4 and 6-cylinder engine.
  • 2002: The Optima now offers a keyless entry as well as an upgraded V6 engine. 
  • 2003: Not only was the KIA Optima redesigned body, but the the 4-cylinder manual transmission was discontinued. There was the addition of the sound system and an upgrade to a premium infinity brand.
  • 2004: The Optima’s wheel size was increased to 16 inches. 
  • 2005: This was the year that the Optima featured a leather interior. The turning signal lenses also saw an upgrade. 

How Much Does the Kia Optima Cost?

According to date, the 2020 KIA Optima has price of just under $24,000. The price rivals other cars in its mid-size innovative class. For an upgraded KIA Optima, you can expect to spend. just about $28,000 For the “cream of the crop” Optima, you can expect to spend about $33,000. 

How Long Do Kia Optimas Last?

Reports indicate that a KIA Optima can last up to 200,000 miles. For many owners, they have crossed the 100,000-mile threshold, without tremendous problems. One KIA Optima owner writes: “If you drive it like it’s a race car doubt it will last long. If you take good care of it keep up with oil changes and services there’s no reason why it couldn’t go 300,000 or 400,000 miles. I have a Kia Soul right now that has 178,000 miles on it runs a like it’s brand new.” 

Is the Kia Optima A Reliable Car?

When it comes to the KIA Optima, there are drivers that love as well as detest the vehicle. Some positive traits that owners love include: 

Owner Number One- “Best Car For The Money” 

This is my 3rd Optima. My 2014 died in an accident (held up very well), traded my 2015 in for my 2020. Wife has a Sportage. First off, the Optima is pure sexy styling. Everything is laid out flawlessly and easy to use. No other automaker can match what Kia provides as standard equipment across all trims, I bought me the 2020 Optima Special Edition, a mix match of the S, EX and SX. Beautiful car. Everything this trim offers would cost an extra 15 grand in an Accord or Camry as you'd have to buy the top of the line model…good Job KIA!! The lines, style, everything, it's sleek. While not a sports car, it handles well, a nice responsive engine. Sport mode gives more oomph & pick-me-up. The leather is soft, luxurious and supple. Heated steering wheel is awesome. Love the panoramic sunroof. A great, well-built and safe car. Only down fall, fog lights aren't standard across all models.” 

Owner Number Two- “Service Was Awesome” 

I love the sleek look of the car, and love how it handles the road. The features inside the vehicle are just as impressive, wireless charging, heated and cooling seats. Spacious backseat that I can fit 3 car seats for my grandchildren. Very impressive.” 

Owner Number Three- “Sporty Looking Sedan!” 

I love this car. I wanted a 4-door mid-size car that still looks sporty inside and out and the Kia Optima definitely delivers. The exterior and especially the front grill looks sharp and inside everything is stylish, but easily laid out. Even on the base trim LX this car is jam packed with safety features. I do wish it was a bit more responsive on comfort and eco mode, however I leave it on sport mode when on the highway or during rain/snow and it gives it that extra “oomph”. I love driving it!” 

Common Problems with the Kia Optima 

As with any car as well as automaker, there is always praise that follows problems. Let’s take a look at some of the most common problems with the KIA Optima year-by-year- as stated by KIA Optima owners: 

2017 Kia Optima Owner One 

“My 2017 Kia Optima, [drives with] the engine light comes on at numerous times and when it does it starts to ride rough like it is in the wrong gear, seems like it is ready to die out when slowing down. Also feels like it won’t pick up speed. I was driving on freeway most of the time at speeds from 40 to 70 mph. It also does this when driving in town. I am crying out for help. The dealership does not seem to care about my safety. I commute in the mid-morning hours and very unsafe if I break down. My life is at stake.” 

2017 Kia Optima Owner Two 

“One week before my first car payment driving charlotte Oct. 20, down I-77 my car began to slow down, then engine light came on, few seconds later the battery light as well, low oil light, all the alarms go on like a christmas tree. In middle of that chaos looking for a safe place to stop the front drive tire hit a pothole and caused damages to the bottom of the car. Few minutes later the car started again and I moved it to a business park where it died 100 %. I paid to a tow company to move it to my house and next day to the Keffer Kia dealer here in Mooresville where I bought it. If this happens driving at the mountains, I can kill somebody or kill my family with a faulty car and the dealer knows about the engines problems but they not take and refuse responsibility for their cars, now the second car payment is coming and is not way to go to work without a car. Because all the info. From the car computer is gone they say is my fault.

2018 Kia Optima Owner One 

“The contact owns a 2018 Kia Optima. While driving 20 mph, the contact was notified by other motorists that flames were present under the vehicle. The vehicle was pulled over to the side of the road and smoke appeared under the hood. The contact and a pedestrian extinguished the fire. The fire and police departments were at the scene, but the contact was unsure if reports were filed. There were no injuries.” 

2018 Kia Optima Owner Two 

“I purchased a brand new 2018 Kia Optima in November 2018. I have put approximately 22,500 miles on it and have been keeping up with updated oil change maintenance per the schedule recommended by the dealer. On Saturday 9/28 I dropped the car off for a routine oil change, and as I drove it off the lot it sputtered as if it was going to die, but it didn't. the car continued to run and it got me home. The next day, Sunday 9/29, it drove without problems for about an hour, but while driving the car completely powered down and stopped working. It was a terrifying experience as I was in the middle of a major city road and almost caused a serious accident.” 

2019 Kia Optima Owner One

“I bought my 2019 Optima brand new back in November. It is now June and I have had it back to the dealership 3 times for randomly not starting on me. I get the same answer every time. They don't know what it is, nothing comes up on the computer when they plug it in. They say, “if it happens again, call us and well take it in”. buying this car brand new and my payments being that of a range rover, I am extremely upset. To top it off, the back windshield is slipping down. I am over this car and I will never buy another Kia again.” 

2019 Kia Optima Owner Two

“When my phone is plugged into the charger, my screen will go black all of a sudden, and I have to turn the car off and unplug my phone and turn the car back on for the screen to come back on. Also, there have been several occasions where my brakes lock up on me, and I almost hit the person in front of me. Especially in the rain, and I have even had to swerve off the road to avoid a collision. It happens when I am in motion driving and go to stop. The radio screen though has turned off on me whether I am driving or in park.” 

Is 2020 Kia Optima A Good Car?

According to Kia, the 2020 Optima features

  • “2.4L 4-Cyl Engine w/ 185HP
  • 16-inch Alloy Wheels
  • Cruise Control w/ Steering Wheel Controls
  • Cloth Seat Trim w/ CleanTex™” and more. 

But with the technology. Comes the trials of a 2020 model. Some of the common complaints about the 2020 KIA Optima include: 

2020 KIA Optima Owner One

“The FCW or the forward collision warning system seems to not get activated under any circumstances. I have changed the sensitivity of the system to all levels and it never seems to detect the car in front of it. It never warns you of an imminent collision. The car is always in motion when I tried the system”. 

2020 KIA Optima Owner Two

“There is a very limited and inadequate space between the bottom of the dashboard and the brake pedal which can impede a driver from making an emergency stop. The same lack of space between the dashboard and the emergency brake pedal. Nothing happened [and] it is potentially dangerous.

Is Kia As Good As Toyota?

Reports indicate that KIA stands as a competent car in its own right. In fact, KIA cars as well as Optima vehicles are award-winning vehicles, with two of the highest-ranked brand awards- in initial quality from J.D. Power Initial Quality Studies- for years 2016 and 2017. KIA vehicles also boast of a youthful design, exquisite performance and a price tag that’s not too costly. In comparison to Toyota vehicles, the KIA offers stamina that may give Toyota vehicles a “run for their money”. For example, the 2017 Kia Forte offers more horsepower than the 2017 Toyota Corolla regarding cars in the compact class. With another comparison- Kia Optima vs. Toyota Camry thee 2018 Kia Optima provided more audio and tech options that the 2018 Camry did not have. Additionally, the 2018 KIA Optima also offered a larger interior with 104.8 cubic feet; the 2018 Camry' offered 100.4 cubic feet.

What Kia Cars Are On Recall?

Kia Motors America issued a recall on specific 2016 Kia Optima vehicles manufactured November 10, 2015, to February 12, 2016. Regarding these vehicles, “…it is possible that the chemical enhancer required for the for the second stage deployment of the driver's frontal air bag was not loaded, resulting in the second stage not deploying in necessitating crashes,” according to cars.com.

Additional recalls were issued for various 2006-2008 KIA Optima vehicles, specific 2011-2017 Optima vehicles and certain 2019 Optima cars. 

Is A Kia Worth Buying?

Through research we have found that the KIA Optima is a car that is worth buying. In fact, the 2016 Kia was top for reliability by J.D Power. As s result of this honor, the KIA became the first non-luxury brand to top the list since 1989. Just as every automotive brand has its issues, the KIA Optima seems to be a car that offers stability and an evolution that coincides with cutting-edge technology. 


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