2011 Kia Optima Beats Honda Accord In CR Family-Sedan Test

May 12, 2011

Kia has certainly come a long way. The company’s creative commercials touting redesigned product lineup are just one indicator of how Kia has managed to capture consumer attention.

But the Korean automaker also builds high-quality cars that are worthy of serious consideration as family sedans – specifically, four-cylinder mid-size family sedans. In recent testing, Consumer Reports says that the 2011 Kia Optima is now in the top 10 of four-cylinder family sedans – beating the perennial high-selling Honda Accord by a single point.

Coming in at the number six spot, the Kia Optima placed just behind Suzuki Kizashi. The top five spots in the four-cylinder family sedan face-off were the Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy, and Suzuki Kizashi, in that order.

What is it about the 2011 Kia Optima that secured its place in the ranking ahead of the Honda Accord? While both vehicles received “Very Good” ratings, the Optima impressed the publication’s editors with its crash test results, fuel economy (25 mpg overall in its testing), handling and transmission controls.

Here’s a brief look at the Kia Optima and Honda Accord as tested by Consumer Reports.

2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima

Fresh from a major redesign, the 2011 Kia Optima boasts quick steering and handling that editors find “more nimble” than the Accord. Competing in the face-off, the 2011 Kia Optima LX, with manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) as tested of $21,885, is powered by a 200-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a “smooth shifting” six-speed automatic transmission. Editors also lauded the Optima’s very good braking, well-finished interior, and copious trunk space. On the low side, editors noted limited rear visibility, road noise and low rear-seat height.

The five-passenger 2011 Kia Optima is a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and secured a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). EPA-estimated fuel economy is 24 mpg city/35 mpg highway.


2011 Honda Accord Sedan

2011 Honda Accord Sedan

2011 Honda Accord

Consumer Reports notes that the 2011 Honda Accord LX-P ($23,730 MSRP as tested) has improved fuel economy since the publication’s previous test – editors achieved 25 mpg overall in current testing, the same as the Kia Optima. Pluses for the five-passenger Accord mid-size sedan also include responsive handling and good steering, although editors said that when pushed on their test track, the sedan was “sloppy with notable body lean.” Compared to the Kia Optima, the Honda Accord is powered by a 177-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine matched with a “smooth shifting” five-speed automatic transmission. Similar to the Optima, the Accord gets “very good” braking, well-finished interior and generous trunk space comments.

The 2011 Honda Accord sedan, like the Kia Optima, earned five-star overall ratings in more stringent testing this year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

How Optima and Accord compare in sales

Sales-wise, the Kia Optima reported 6,553 sales during the month of April while calendar year-to-date (through April) sales totaled 22,087. The Honda Accord, in comparison, sold 30,310 units in April, and 101,854 year-to-date and sits in solid second place in best-selling passenger cars (month and year-to-date) behind the best-selling Toyota Camry.

Interestingly, the Hyundai Sonata (number three in the top 10 four-cylinder family sedans of Consumer Reports testing), the corporate sibling of the Kia Optima, is number eight in April sales, reporting 21,738 units sold, and number six CYTD with sales of 73,616.

The Optima may have a ways to go to best its Sonata counterpart, but the sedan now has an all-new Optima Hybrid priced starting at $26,500 to give it a sales boost.

See more in-depth information on these two four-cylinder family sedans in TheCarConnection with this review of the 2011 Kia Optima and here for the 2011 Honda Accord sedan.

[Consumer Reports]


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