2003 Kia Optima LX from North America


Exellent value for a Compact Car


I have had no problems with this car.

However, I have noted minor wear on the plastic door trim and where the trunk lid meet the bumper.

General Comments:

I bought this car because of price and warranty. My wife and I wanted a compact sedan with a manual trans. We tried out a new Protege', no power and long dashboard. We tried an '02 626 and didn't like the interior setup and the exterior styling.

The Optima looks very sexy (we got a silver one). And we liked the power with the manual, interior design, safety (side airbags), and low monthly payment. By the way, the headlights are awesome. You will not need the high-beams hardly ever!

Minor quibbles are: the lumbar for the driver's seat is not much help due to side airbags built into the seat, the plastic inside is easy to scratch with fingernails, and the dash lights are a little too bright even at their lowest setting. Gas mileage was a little disappointing too. We got 30-36mpg with our '90 626 with 240,000 miles on it. With the Optima we only could manage 33 at best on the highway, and got only 23 in the wintertime with lots of warming up time (we live in Maine).

Before the 626 we had, we were Honda Accord and Acura Legend people. I personally feel that Honda makes a good car and it is overpriced. You can still buy a decent car and feel good about what you pay for it each month.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd April, 2004

2003 Kia Optima EX 2.7 DHOC from North America


Kia-What A Joke.


ABS light comes on all the time.. Dealer can't find problem..

4-speed Sportmatic Automatic Transmission gets hung in Reverse sometime... Backing out of parking lot and you are stuck... Have to have it towed to dealership... Has happened 3-times in one year. They have put new sensors and a new cable in it... They can't find the problem.. IT is in the shop getting a new transmission right now.. I have nothing to drive...

The back glass leaks water on the seat... Thay have "Fixed" it a few times..

The Check Engine light stays on when the car is real cold... Dealer can't seem to fix it.

Engine sometimes is hard to start. Takes a few trys.. Kia said this is normal.???I don't think so.

Rear outside left door will not open up sometimes. And it is not the lock. Opens fine from the inside.

Air Bags light came on a few times and flashed back out. Dealer can't find a problem.

Heater will change the fan speed on own. It will freeze you out and the A/C will not work good when the fan slows down on own. You have to reach down and switch it off then back on to make it work right again. Dealer replaced switches, but still din't fix it. It only does it once a week or less.

Oil leak on top of engine. They are going to fix it also. "They say"

Engine vibrates dash at stop light unelss I put it in "N". Engine Mounts fine.--They said.Makes me think it is in the transmission like my Dad says. I will see if it still does this when I get it back with a new out of the box Transmission.

General Comments:

I will never buy another Kia for as long as I live. They are not worth anything.

I gave almost $20,000 for this car and it is the only new car anyone in my family has had. I got it for myself after I got out of college and got a good job. I will never buy another one.

It was $20,000, not a cheap $8,800 car. A $20,000 car should last for 15-years of no real problems service.

What a Joke. Everyone that I work with that has a Kia has had them in the shop and had all kinds of problems just like me. I know it is car wide. We have about 8-Kia's at my work and I have got to know all of them at work as I was broke down in the parking lot or seen them at the Kia Dealer. What a shame.. they are real nice looking cars also... What a loss. I am sorry Kia.. One try and your out. IMPROVE QUALITY.. please read this KIA... I know you all don't even read my letters and the dealers don't care. Please read all these reviews and take action.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd January, 2004

6th Nov 2005, 15:19

The steering power assist is over compensated and the steering feels almost artificial, but I will never complain about it again. I had a near miss on the freeway yesterday and my Optima maneuvered excellently. If it wasn’t for its excellent maneuverability and the power of the V6, I may not have been here to write this. Most people do not believe I paid 20k for the car (with 3K cash back) most say I must have must have paid at least 25K (its loaded, leather, ABS, and power everything). Its longevity remains to be seen, but for now, I’m a believer. PS The car does need a bright light to tell you the engines running or you may try to start it, the V6 is that smooth.

19th Dec 2007, 18:51

I have a 2003 se with everything except heated seats, tcs, ABS, but everything else I have on this car. I bought this car used in 3/05,it had 68,000 odd miles, I now have 129,932 at 12/07.No major trouble oil always looks new, in fact Wal Mart tire/lube would not change. Brake lights have just went out. This one came out of a good batch.