2005 Kia Optima

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$16,195

starting MSRP

2005 Kia Optima

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Ride comfort
  • Price
  • Maneuverability
  • Stability

The bad:

  • Resale value
  • Uncertain reliability record
  • Inconsistent automatic-transmission operation

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • LX

    $16,195

  • EX

    $18,900

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Kia Optima trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Manual or automatic
  • Standard side-impact airbags
  • 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

2005 Kia Optima review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Kia moved upscale during the 2001 model year when it launched the midsize Optima sedan, which was based on the front-wheel-drive Hyundai Sonata. The Optima’s styling differed from the Sonata’s, but the two models shared engines and other major components.

A new grille went on 2004 models. For 2005, the Optima features new clear-lens front turn signals and meets LEV-II emissions standards. The EX edition adds a one-touch sunroof and stitched leather seating surfaces. Optimas come with either a four-cylinder or V-6. A four-speed-automatic transmission is available.

Kia is owned by Hyundai � South Korea’s largest automaker � but the companies maintain totally separate brand identities and dealer networks. Kia’s warranty covers the entire vehicle for five years/60,000 miles and major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles.

Exterior
Even though Kia borrowed some styling touches and certain major components from the Sonata, the Optima has a unique nose and grille, which is the main visible difference between the two cars. Both vehicles have a 106.3-inch wheelbase, but at 185.8 inches long overall, the Optima is a tad shorter than the Sonata and several inches shorter than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Interior
Front bucket seats and a three-place rear bench allow the Optima to seat up to five occupants. A folding rear seat expands maximum cargo space beyond the trunk’s 13.6-cubic-foot capacity. The rear armrest offers additional storage space.

Standard equipment for the base LX model includes air conditioning, cruise control, a CD stereo, and power windows, locks and mirrors. The EX sedan adds a power moonroof, remote keyless entry, and a stereo system with cassette and CD players, among other features. An eight-way power driver’s seat in the EX includes lumbar support.

Under the Hood
Both the LX and EX are offered with a choice of engines: a 138-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 170-hp, 2.7-liter V-6. A four-cylinder LX sedan can be equipped with either a five-speed-manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. Other models are available only with the automatic, which incorporates adaptive logic and a provision for manually selected gear changes.

Safety
Antilock brakes are optional on models equipped with the V-6. Side-impact airbags are standard, which places Kia ahead of some competitors.

Driving Impressions
A smooth ride leads the list of Optima merits. The car glides neatly over moderate bumps without transmitting much commotion to occupants, but rougher surfaces begin to impair its composure. The Optima is easy to maneuver and exhibits excellent highway stability. Acceleration with the V-6 is well beyond adequate, and the automatic transmission responds well even though an abrupt downshift can occasionally occur at lower speeds.

The seats are somewhat firm but comfortable. All told, few faults come to mind after a lengthy drive. In overall competence, Kia’s midsize model comes surprisingly close to the level of the Accord and Camry. Throw in its modest price, and the Optima serves as an appealing contender.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 3.9
  • Value for the money 4.1
  • Exterior styling 3.8
  • Reliability 3.9

Most recent consumer reviews

1.7

Didn’t Last Very Long

I bought a 2005 Kia Optima for $750 dollars in January of 2019. When I bought it, the whole car would vibrate really really bad depending on RPM and the transmission shifted really hard from 2nd to 3rd (It was an automatic). Heading into spring, my starter went out, so I wasn’t able to get home from work. I paid $200 for a brand new starter and installed it. It did okay for about another month, and then the alternator belt got chewed up, which made my car break down in the middle of an intersection. That was a fun night! Put a new belt in it, and then the head gasket started getting worse and worse. I was buying 2 gallons of coolant a week and barely keeping up with how fast it was going through the car. It would overheat constantly and I would just have to pray that it didn’t blow up. The AC was nonexistent and I mostly drove it with the heat on, because of the overheating, in the summer and that was not fun. I bought a Mazda 3 July of the same year and I’m much happier with it. Now my Kia just kinda sits in the yard with problems just piling up. I’ll occasionally start it up and mess around in it but that’s about it. The car has 169,000 miles on it as of now, and it’s one step away from getting crushed at the scrapyard.

4.3

Two words... Sport Shift

This car met all my family. One time when i was that young I used to have all of them, Now when I listen for that sound I have to be ready. Because when you try you can believe.

3.6

Good car for its value

Good reliable car and gas efficient Plenty of leg room Nice surrounding speakers Auto lock Ice cold A/C Comfortable fabric seats Remote access Keyless entry

See all 16 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Kia
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years or newer/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles
Powertrain
10 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
165-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2003

Hyundai Sonata

$15,499

starting MSRP

2011

Kia Optima Hybrid

$26,500

starting MSRP

2004

Kia Optima

$15,900

starting MSRP