2012 Kia Optima vs. Its Competition

2012 Kia Optima
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

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.

2012 Kia Optima2012 Kia Optima
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2012 Ford Fusion2012 Ford Fusion
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2012 Hyundai Sonata 4-door Sedan 2.4L Auto Limited Side Exterior View2012 Hyundai Sonata
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2011 Mazda MAZDA6 4-door Sedan Auto i Grand Touring Angular Front Exterior View2012 Mazda MAZDA6
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2012 Nissan Altima 4-door Sedan I4 CVT 2.5 S Side Exterior View2012 Nissan Altima
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Quick Specs
The basics don't have to be boring: the 2012 Kia Optima evades design and driving boredom with suave looks, good performance and great gas mileage and features.
The 2012 Ford Fusion stays at the top of its game, especially as a Hybrid, with perky handling and its cut-above looks.
After more than a decade on the market, the latest Hyundai Sonata's an overnight success--thanks to great gas mileage, grabby styling, and exceptional value for the dollar.
The 2012 Mazda6 is just as comfortable, practical, and refined as most other mid-size sedans, but it's a little more enjoyable to drive.
The 2012 Nissan Altima isn't as roomy as the newest mid-offerings, but as a coupe or as a sedan, it's one of the best-looking and most sporty mid-sizers.
MSRP From    
Gas Mileage    
22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy17 MPG City / 36 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class    
Midsize CarsMid-Size SedanLarge CarsMidsizeMidsize
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual LX4-Door Sedan S FWD4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS4-Door Sedan Manual i Sport4-Door Sedan I4 CVT 2.5
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
ManualManualManualManual w/ODContinuously Variable Ratio
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Kia Optima vs. 2012 Ford Fusion2012 Kia Optima vs. 2012 Hyundai Sonata2012 Kia Optima vs. 2012 Mazda MAZDA62012 Kia Optima vs. 2012 Nissan Altima