2013 Kia Optima SX Limited
Base price: $26,800
As tested: $35,370
MPG: 22 city/34 highway
- Quality of interior finish
- Heated and cooled front seats
- Control console layout
- Real-world fuel economy short of EPA estimate
- Headroom may be issue with taller people
By Clint Williams
Kia is not a brand associated with luxury, but the Kia Optima SX Limited is pretty darn plush. Press the starter button, and you’ll hear chimes bing-bing pleasantly as the leather, adjustable driver’s seat slides into a previously programmed position. Textured, well-fitted leather interior trim and wood interior accents throughout create a classy cabin that seems flat out expansive when you open the panoramic sunroof.
Not just pretty, the front seats cool or heat with the touch of a button. Even the two outboard rear passengers have heated seats.
New for the 2013 model year, the Limited version of the Kia Optima is the sedan’s upgraded SX trim packed with nearly every conceivable bell and whistle. On the outside, an already handsome four-door is gussied up with 18-inch chrome wheels accented by eye-catching red brake calipers. LED daytime running lights make safety look sort of sexy. The gadgets include an excellent Infinity sound system with satellite radio, Bluetooth wireless technology, navigation system with a rearview camera display, and power folding outside mirrors. Also, two 12-volt power plugs and an iPod jack are easily accessible in the center console.
The mechanical cake beneath the icing is pretty good too, which means a more modest version of the Optima is still a decent car. The Optima SX Limited is powered by a 2-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine that cranks out 274 horsepower, providing acceleration that falls somewhere between peppy and screaming. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts crisply, and handling is deft, steering solid. It may not be a sports car, or even a sports sedan, but it’s better than your average family vehicle.
As do many cars, the Optima SX Limited offers various controls on the steering wheel. This car, though, has one of the better layouts of knobs and buttons to control speed and sound.
This car, as we’ve come to expect in most vehicles, also features an abundance of safety equipment: driver and passenger advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, first and second row side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist, and hill assist.