2008 Kia Optima vs. Its Competition

2008 Kia Optima 4-door Sedan I4 Auto LX Front Exterior View
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

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.

2008 Kia Optima 4-door Sedan I4 Auto LX Front Exterior View2008 Kia Optima
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2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid2009 Chevrolet Malibu
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2009 Ford Fusion2009 Ford Fusion
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2009 Hyundai Sonata2009 Hyundai Sonata
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2008 Dodge Avenger SE2008 Dodge Avenger
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Quick Specs
The 2008 Kia Optima doesn't perform as well as other mid-size sedans, but its roomy package and generous features make it a strong practical choice.
The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu is a top contender in its class in almost every way.
The 2009 Ford Fusion is a great choice for those who place their priorities on style and handling, but if interior space matters to you, look elsewhere.
TheCarConnection.com still rates the Honda Accord as the family-sedan champion, but the 2009 Hyundai Sonata lands solidly in the upstart tier that includes the Mazda6, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu.
The 2008 Dodge Avenger’s styling is refreshingly different in a same-as field of sedans, but otherwise it’s behind the curve.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
20 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas 4-CylGas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class    
MidsizeMidsizeMid-Size SedanLargeMid-size
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan I4 Manual LX4-Door Sedan LS w/1LS4-Door Sedan I4 S FWD4-Door Sedan I4 Manual GLS4-Door Sedan SE FWD *Ltd Avail*
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
4dr Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4dr Sdn
Manual w/ODAutomatic w/ODManualManual w/ODAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2008 Kia Optima vs. 2009 Chevrolet Malibu2008 Kia Optima vs. 2009 Ford Fusion2008 Kia Optima vs. 2009 Hyundai Sonata2008 Kia Optima vs. 2008 Dodge Avenger