This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Kia Optima (16-19) review.

3.5 out of 5 3.5
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
Kia Optima (12-15) - rated 3.5 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £19,595 - £27,170
Used price £3,045 - £11,410
Used monthly cost From £76 per month
Fuel economy
Not tested to latest standards
View pre-2017 economy specs
Road tax cost £130 - £210
Insurance group 16 - 20 How much is it to insure?


  • Stylish
  • Frugal
  • Good grip
  • Long warranty
  • Strong projected residuals


  • Overly firm ride
  • Poor steering feeling
  • A few cheap-looking interior plastics

Kia Optima rivals

Written by Parkers on

Kia has bitten the bullet by choosing to throw its hat in the four-door family saloon ring, a crowded market if ever there was one. The Korean brand has modest sales expectations though: it says it'll be happy if it sells 1,600 Optimas a year. If it does, it won't be discounting unlike Ford and Vauxhall - the giants of this particular category. At first glance, you might reason that Kia is being unnecessarily coy about its ability to shift this car in bigger numbers since it cuts an impressive dash, both when it's parked up and on the road. Even on our initial test drive, heads were regularly turned. It's only when you look a little further into the Optima's credentials that you realise that the targets set for this attractive four-door are sensible, as well as realistic. Traditionally, Kia is seen as a value brand. While you might consider that applicable for the Optima, compare its prices and specifications like-for-like with the Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda6, Ford Mondeo and Skoda Superb models and it's fair to say it is in the mix, but not quite the bargain territory you’d expect. Kia isn’t likely to discount it either, so in the dealership your haggling skills will remain largely redundant. That's not the point however: about 80% of Optimas sold in the UK will go to fleets as it is available with just one engine - a frugal 1.7-litre diesel engine. Thus, the aim is clear. This is a car aimed at company car drivers sick of Ford and Vauxhalls. It's not unreasonable to expect that they might choose to defect to the Optima because, well... it looks nice. Simple tactic, but will it be effective? Read on to find out.

Kia Optima rivals