The Kia Optima's successful social climbing pits it directly against some of the best-selling cars in America.
Kudos on that, and on outdoing the current Honda Accord, which still has some of the driving feel of Hondas of old, even though it's very large and in retrospect, awkwardly clothed.
The latest Mazda6 hasn't been a sales hit, but its slightly offbeat styling is appealing, and so is its crisp steering and roomy back seat.
Both the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima match distinctive styling with good gas mileage and more responsive handling than most large family sedans.
But of all the cars it competes with, the Optima's sibling rival, the Hyundai Sonata, is most like it--though over time we've come to prefer the Optima's sparer styling and its slightly better driving dynamics.
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|2012 Kia OptimaBrowse Used Listings||2012 Ford FusionBrowse Used Listings||2012 Honda Accord SedanBrowse Used Listings||2012 Hyundai SonataBrowse Used Listings||2012 Mazda MAZDA6Browse Used Listings||2012 Nissan AltimaBrowse Used Listings|
|22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy||17 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4|
|Midsize Cars||Mid-Size Sedan||Large||Large Cars||Midsize||Midsize|
|4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual LX||4-Door Sedan S FWD||4-Door I4 Manual LX||4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS||4-Door Sedan Manual i Sport||4-Door Sedan I4 CVT 2.5|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan|
|Manual||Manual||Manual||Manual||Manual w/OD||Continuously Variable Ratio|