2006 Kia Optima from North America


Not worth it, because they are not very well made


This car was a complete lemon, and we had the extended warranty that also covered nothing.

At a little over 50000, the transmission went, and Kia said it was normal wear and tear, along with the extended warranty company, and it cost several thousand dollars to fix.

Now the valve cover gaskets are gone, and causing the tuneup I just got to fail. They want 100 dollars to look at it, and 600 to replace the gaskets; again no coverage from either.

General Comments:

Stay away from these cars. They are not very well made, and their warranty is a joke. I think I am going back to American made products.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th February, 2011

6th Jul 2012, 11:46

My 2006 Kia Optima is a fantastic car. The reason I have no problems with it is because I maintain it as advised by the manufacturer. I would say that any car that's 6 years old and has 54K miles problem free is not a lemon, but a jewel...


2006 Kia Optima EX 2.4L I-4 from North America


A cheaply made but reliable car, that will get you where you need to go


Brake rotors warped at 9,000 miles. Dealer machined them rather than replacing them, and they wore down and had to be replaced by 40K.

Driver's side seat upholstery stretched to the point of needing replacement. Dealer replaced with a slightly discolored, used seat.

Battery had a very short life. Started needing jump starts in cold weather as early as 35,000 miles.

Rear stereo speakers stopped working at about 40,000 miles.

Rear view mirror broke off at about 30,000 miles.

Driver's side power mirror stopped functioning at 30,000 miles.

Chrome trim on one of the passenger doors fell off at about 25,000 miles.

Coolant leak problems began at 65,000 miles.

General Comments:

I pretty much have a love-hate relationship with my Optima. I love that in 5+ years (70k miles) I have had virtually no issues under the hood. Plenty of minor annoyances, but I have never had to take my Optima off the road for even a day.

The general comfort of the car is on the low side. It takes sharp turns like I imagine a dump truck would, with cargo spilling everywhere. Acceleration and braking are clumsy, even with new brakes.

Perhaps what I hate most of all about this vehicle is that it is a complete financial trap. With one of the lowest resale percentages of any vehicle, you had best be sure you plan to keep it forever. You will never be able to sell it because no one will want it, and even if you could find a buyer, you'll be so upside-down on your financing that you'll talk yourself out of it.

So to sum it up, this is a cheaply-assembled but reliable vehicle. We also own a Mercedes-Benz, and while it is infinitely more fun to drive, we've had countless mechanical and electrical issues, including major engine problems, costing thousands of dollars, and sometimes keeping it off the road for days or weeks at a time. Had I bought a used BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus or Audi as I was planning to do, rather than being wooed into driving my brand new Optima right out of the heated showroom after renting one on a trip and liking it, I'd have 2 vehicles I love to drive, but probably a whole lot more headaches.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th February, 2011

2006 Kia Optima LX 2.4L 4 cylinder from North America


A nice car and good value


- Both sun visors broke. Kia replaced them free of charge.

- The TPMS light is on. The Kia service manager told me one of the wheel sensors may have gone bad, in which case they'll replace it for free. However, she said if upon inspection it's apparent someone broke one of the wheel sensors when changing the tires, it'll cost me $200 for a new sensor!

- The rear underside of the car makes a lot of squeaky, creaky noises. Kia will inspect the problem and fix it free.

All I have to say is, I'm glad this used Kia came with a great warranty!

General Comments:

I was really in the market for an '06/'07 Hyundai Sonata. However, I was finding better deals on comparable Kia Optimas. I ended up with an '06 Optima (new body style) because of this and got a lot of car for a very good price.

My '06 Optima is the newer, larger body style, which I much prefer over the previous generation. I think it's a great looking car inside and out and drives great. It's roomy, comfortable, and offers all the amenities I wanted, like power windows, locks, mirrors, tilt wheel, and a CD stereo.

My Optima is equipped with the 2.4L 4cyl. and 5-speed manual. With this powertrain configuration, the car has plenty of power and I never feel like it needs more. It accelerates effortlessly, and when I need extra punch to pass or get up steep hills, the power is there. With the 5-speed manual transmission, rarely do I feel the need to downshift for more power. It's great!

The 5-speed manual feels rather notchy and is a bit difficult to get into first gear sometimes. It's not a problem, but it's noticeable. This may just be a characteristic of manual transmissions. I'm accustomed to automatics. I realized after driving the car a few weeks that the clutch doesn't need to be pressed all the way to the floor for starting or shifting. Halfway down suffices. I transition from gear to gear more smoothly now that I realize this. I'm enjoying driving this car quite a bit now!

The steering is the perfect balance of firmness and responsiveness. The brakes feel pretty darn good. Not spongy, not stiff, and grab strongly. My only complaint is the lack of ABS. Suspension technology must have come a long way in the past decade because this car rides firm, yet smooth, and the handling feels like that of a sports car to me compared to every other older car I've owned or driven. It's perfect for my taste. A very nice balance of ride and handling.

Interior noise isn't bad. It isn't great either. Wind noise is very low. Engine noise is silent while cruising at any speed and at reasonable levels during normal acceleration. However, I think there is too much road noise from this car. On the highway especially, it just seems a little loud. Not economy car loud, but too loud for a car of this character. It's far quieter in every respect than my previous '97 Mercury Tracer, so I can't complain much.

The interior is attractive, intelligently designed, and very comfortable. The gauge cluster is clean and uncluttered. The gauges are very easy to read. The digital temp and fuel gauges add a touch of fun. The stereo and climate controls are placed high on the dash. All the buttons and switches are where you'd expect them to be. The seats are large and comfy. The standard height-adjustment feature is nice. All in all, it's a well thought out car.

Reliability has been fine overall, but I'm a little nervous with this being my first Kia and it already having some trivial issues at only 36k miles. I'll keep posting updates to this review as time goes by.

It's a really nice car for the money. I couldn't have gotten anywhere as nice of a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry for what I paid. In all actuality, I couldn't have gotten any other comparable midsize car for the same money. The Optima represents an excellent value. Overall I'm loving this car and have no regrets. Any little problems it's had Kia has been very helpful with resolving. Go get yours now. I doubt you'll be disappointed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2009

11th Sep 2009, 12:27

I'm the creator of this review and I wanted to update the info since posting the review. The car now has 46k miles on 9/11/09. The TPMS sensor was faulty and replaced under warranty. I discovered on my own that the squeaky/creaky rear end noise under the car is the parking brake. I don't care to waste my time or energy trying to get the noise fixed. Not a big deal at all, as it only squeaks when I get in and out with the parking brake applied. At about 44k miles, the check engine light comes on and goes off very sporadically. I had Kia check it out. They have no clue why it's doing this. The car is running fine. I just read something online about a possible defect with the oil control valve, whatever in heck that is. I'm waiting for the check engine light to come on once again so I can bring the car back to Kia and leave it with them. Beside all this niggling crap, I'm really enjoying driving the car. Comfy, smooth, and great gas mileage!