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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Unfortunately, antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control are grouped together in an option package
Five stars, front impact; five stars, side impact
Good," frontal offset impact; "acceptable," side impact
The 2009 Kia Optima earns some of the best safety ratings of any vehicle on the road, but TheCarConnection.com's research reveals a few flaws with the Kia Optima's safety features.
When it comes to crash-test ratings, you won't find many better than the 2009 Kia Optima's. NHTSA awards the Kia Optima perfect five-star ratings in both the front impact and side impact categories, while the Optima also scores four stars for rollover resistance. The IIHS results are comforting as well, with the Kia Optima garnering the highest possible rating of "good" for the frontal offset impact test and a second-best rating of "acceptable" for side impacts. Edmunds reviewers note that these are "excellent crash scores" from both agencies and should boost the Kia Optima's standing with the safety-conscious.
The refreshed Kia Optima offers a mixed bag of safety features. On the positive side, ConsumerGuide points out that "available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, front side airbags, and curtain side airbags." Cars.com adds that "active head restraints" are standard, but "unfortunately, antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control are grouped together in an option package; the Accord and Sonata include those features standard."
In terms of driver visibility, which is one oft-overlooked element of overall safety, the 2009 Kia Optima offers a better-than-average view. Kelley Blue Book feels that the 2009 Kia Optima provides a "nice balance between outward visibility and efficient aerodynamics," while ConsumerGuide reports that "visibility is fine in all directions."
The 2009 Kia Optima has reassuring crash-test scores, but safety-concerned shoppers will have to check some option boxes.