2009 Kia Optima

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Key Specs
Our Take
Overview
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2009 Kia Optima. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    24-27 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    175-hp, 2.4-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Improved audio system
  • Likely value for the money
  • 10-year warranty

The Bad

  • Not as much V-6 power as many competitors
  • Derivative styling
  • ABS not standard

Notable Features of the 2009 Kia Optima

  • Freshened for 2009
  • New sport-tuned SX trim
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Manual or automatic
  • Available navigation system

2009 Kia Optima Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
Kia says the update of its 2009 Optima was an effort to spice up the car's styling. To that end, the midsize sedan's face has been thoroughly freshened, though its tail remains much the same. Revised engines add some power, but it remains to be seen whether these changes will help the Optima go head-to-head with a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.

The Optima hits dealerships in late 2008; trim levels include the base LX, uplevel EX and sporty SX. A four-cylinder engine is standard, while a V-6 is optional.


Exterior
The Optima's new face seems derivative of a lot of other cars — the headlights look like a Toyota Camry's, while the interplay between the grille and lights recalls a similar pattern on the new Honda Accord.

Overall length is up a couple inches over last year's model, and most of it has been added to the car's front overhang. Sixteen-inch steel wheels come on the four-cylinder Optima LX, while other trims have 16-inch alloys. The Optima SX has 17-inchers, along with a sport-tuned suspension, darker headlights, and turn signals integrated into the side mirrors.


Interior
Kia didn't alter the Optima's interior as much as it did the exterior; the most notable change is probably the gauges, now framed inside three binnacles instead of a one-piece display. The stereo has an auxiliary jack for MP3 players, and a navigation system is optional for the first time.

The Optima LX comes with cloth seats, while the EX steps up ...
Vehicle Overview
Kia says the update of its 2009 Optima was an effort to spice up the car's styling. To that end, the midsize sedan's face has been thoroughly freshened, though its tail remains much the same. Revised engines add some power, but it remains to be seen whether these changes will help the Optima go head-to-head with a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.

The Optima hits dealerships in late 2008; trim levels include the base LX, uplevel EX and sporty SX. A four-cylinder engine is standard, while a V-6 is optional.


Exterior
The Optima's new face seems derivative of a lot of other cars — the headlights look like a Toyota Camry's, while the interplay between the grille and lights recalls a similar pattern on the new Honda Accord.

Overall length is up a couple inches over last year's model, and most of it has been added to the car's front overhang. Sixteen-inch steel wheels come on the four-cylinder Optima LX, while other trims have 16-inch alloys. The Optima SX has 17-inchers, along with a sport-tuned suspension, darker headlights, and turn signals integrated into the side mirrors.


Interior
Kia didn't alter the Optima's interior as much as it did the exterior; the most notable change is probably the gauges, now framed inside three binnacles instead of a one-piece display. The stereo has an auxiliary jack for MP3 players, and a navigation system is optional for the first time.

The Optima LX comes with cloth seats, while the EX steps up to leather. SX trims have electroluminescent gauges, custom leather seats and metallic trim.


Under the Hood
Both the Optima's engines have been upgraded, and Kia says gas mileage stays about the same. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 175 horsepower, up from 162 hp last year; the 2.7-liter V-6 is up to 190 hp from 185 hp last year. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the four-cylinder, while a five-speed automatic is optional. The V-6 gets only the automatic.

Safety
Active head restraints, side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows are standard. Unfortunately, antilock brakes, an electronic stability system and traction control are grouped together in an option package; the Accord and Sonata include those features standard.


Latest 2009 Optima Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.9)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Great Car

by jess from Houston on August 14, 2018

This car drives smooth for a standard. i usually dont buy manual transmissions so this was a nice surprise. I would recommend test driving the car. Read full review

(5.0)

Awesome car

by Shawnze from Louisville on May 3, 2018

The kia optima is the best value for your money plain and simple and very reliable. I loved this car. I owned my optima for 3 years and had no problems what so ever. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Kia Optima currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2009 Kia Optima has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Kia
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    120 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    60 months / 60,000 miles

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 warranty

    10 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    164-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Optima received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker