The Kia Optima turned into a completely different kind of car with its last redesign in 2011.
In short, it graduated from being a bland yet high-value offering to one that's top-notch, sophisticated, and full-featured.
The changes to the Optima for 2014 aren't all that significant, but it doesn't need much in styling or interior appointments to take on the latest Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, and Honda Accord--all of which were redesigned for 2013.
The Optima most directly faces the Accord, with its good compromise between ride and handling.
The all-new 2014 Mazda6 is also a strong rival in style, and it actually drives with more verve than the Optima, although the Mazda's infotainment systems are inferior to the Optima's.
The Ford Fusion is one of our favorite cars on the market, with great handling and a rakish appearance to match that of the Optima.
Meanwhile, the base Nissan Altima beats the Optima's highway mileage, with up to 38 mpg on the highway.
And as for the Hyundai Sonata, it's closely related to the Optima, but we like the Kia for its simpler, more elegant styling--that we think will age better.
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|2014 Kia OptimaBrowse Used Listings||2014 Ford FusionBrowse Used Listings||2014 Honda Accord SedanBrowse Used Listings||2014 Hyundai SonataBrowse Used Listings||2014 Mazda MAZDA6Browse Used Listings||2014 Nissan AltimaBrowse Used Listings|
|20 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 41 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||25 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy|
|Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4||Regular Unleaded I-4|
|Mid-Size Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Large Cars||Mid-Size Cars||Mid-Size Cars|
|4-Door Sedan LX||4-Door Sedan S FWD||4-Door I4 Manual LX||4-Door Sedan 2.4L Automatic GLS PZEV||4-Door Sedan Manual i Sport||4-Door Sedan I4 2.5|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Manual w/OD||CVT w/OD|