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2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo Review

Smart Sports Sedan

A three-quarter front view of a red 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo

In short: A value-priced, luxurious and sporty mid-size sedan.

Korea is quickly gaining prominence on the automotive map thanks to the high quality output of Seoul-based badges Kia and Hyundai. With the 2012 Optima SX Turbo, Kia continues to prove its place in the global auto market, showcasing an intuitive ability to meet the practical needs of drivers without sacrificing the fun, sporty ethos that has become the brand's hallmark.

An interior view of the 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo

The 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder of the 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo

Featuring a handsome exterior design, a luxuriously-equipped cabin and a fuel-efficient turbocharged engine, the new Kia Optima SX Turbo provides impressive value. While the Optima would work great for families or as a daily commuter, its sport-tuned suspension and quick inline-4 prove that the elegant midsize sedan isn't all about business. Boasting an athletic 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, the Optima SX Turbo produces V6-like performance with the fuel economy of a 4-cylinder thanks to the smart addition of a turbocharger. Back roads racers can further enhance their driving experience with the Optima's steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, which act as a nice complement to the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.

Driving ease is further aided through a host of thoughtfully-designed amenities that grace the interior cabin of the Optima. Standard Bluetooth and satellite radio keep drivers connected on their morning commute, while the optional Technology package adds an easy-to-use navigation system with a rearview camera and Sirius traffic. And although the best seat in the Optima belongs to the driver, passengers are also kept content with spacious rear seating and a powerful six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system. It looks as though we have found one Korean export that we can all agree on in the 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo.

A three-quarter rear view of a red 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo

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Watch a video of the 2012 Kia Optima SX Turbo

Warranty/Service: Ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; five-year/60,000-mile basic limited warranty; five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance

Base Price: $25,995 / As Tested: $30,840

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine
Horsepower: 274 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 269 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters

Curb weight:
3,385 lbs
Wheelbase: 110.1 in
Length/Width/Height: 190.7/72.1/57.3 in
Turning circle: 35.8 ft

front vented disc brakes; rear solid disc brakes; 4-sensor, 4-channel ABS
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; multi-link rear; coil springs; anti-roll bar

Traction: electronic stability control; hill assist control

Top Speed: 152 mph (governor limited)
0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds

EPA City:
22 mpg
EPA Highway: 34 mpg

dual front advanced airbags; front seat-mounted side airbags; full-length side curtain airbags

Likes: design; spacious interior and trunk; sportiness; turbocharged acceleration

Dislikes: trunk mechanism; seats


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Photography: AlphaMedia

PNW052311 (Updated: 10/11/11 NW)