With a base price that starts several thousands less than the (admittedly plusher and more refined) Camry and Accord, the 2008 Kia Optima appeals to a different sort of buyer, one who might be considering a smaller sedan or a slightly used mid-size sedan.
However, the direct competition might include the Dodge Avenger, which offers a distinctly American design inside and out.
The Avenger falls behind due to its coarse powertrain and chintzy interior materials.
The Fusion also has standout styling but is much more fun to drive than the Optima, even as a base four-cylinder model, although its backseat is somewhat cramped.
The new Malibu, though it costs only slightly more, feels in a class above, with a swoopy interior design, high-grade materials, and a very refined driving experience.
But if price and features are the highest priority, the Optima wins.
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|2008 Kia OptimaBrowse Used Listings||2009 Chevrolet MalibuBrowse Used Listings||2009 Ford FusionBrowse Used Listings||2009 Hyundai SonataBrowse Used Listings||2008 Dodge AvengerBrowse Used Listings|
|20 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy||15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas 4-Cyl||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|4-Door Sedan I4 Manual LX||4-Door Sedan LS w/1LS||4-Door Sedan I4 S FWD||4-Door Sedan I4 Manual GLS||4-Door Sedan SE FWD *Ltd Avail*|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|4dr Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4dr Sdn|
|Manual w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual||Manual w/OD||Automatic|