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The experts at TheCarConnection.com consulted a number of professional review sources in compiling this extensive review on the 2009 Kia Optima. TheCarConnection.com's editors have driven the Optima and bring their experience to this review.
- Spacious cabin
- Large trunk
- Easy maneuverability
- Conservative, anonymous styling
- Dull interior materials
- Anti-lock brakes not available on the base model
- No satellite radio or Bluetooth interface
The 2009 Kia Optima is the Korean automaker's mid-size sedan. Although the Optima continues, as in previous model years, to favor comfort and frugality over style and trend-setting options, the Optima has been made a little more appealing for 2009 with a styling makeover and new engine options.
Both of the Kia Optima's engines receive power boosts for 2009, with the four-cylinder now producing 175 horsepower and the six-cylinder offering 194 hp. Five-speed transmissions are the norm on the front-wheel-drive Kia Optima lineup, with a manual coming standard on the four-cylinder and an automatic option; the V-6 comes exclusively with a five-speed automatic.
With the automatic transmission, there's not really much of a difference in performance between the two models, except the four-cylinder engine can coarsen under hard acceleration. At 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, its fuel economy is also slightly better than with the V-6.
The 2009 Kia Optima boasts a relatively pleasant ride, although running over larger bumps can be jarring. The Optima is clearly more comfortable on city streets than rural roads, where its crisp, responsive steering feel shines through, but it can't maintain its poise when navigating curvy back roads.
Last year's Kia Optima featured one of the roomiest cabins in its segment, and the addition of 3 more inches to the overall length for 2009 only helps in that regard. The Optima boasts good backseat legroom and headroom, and the big 14.8-cubic-foot trunk will swallow more gear than most of the Optima's competitors.