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Average User Score
3.8 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 6 reviews
2001 Kia Optima Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 6 reviews
Having relied on the compact Sephia and Sportage SUV as its primary offerings, Kia is starting to branch out into other segments, and the 2001 Kia Optima is its entry into the mid-size sedan market. Based on the same platform and sharing engines with the Hyundai Sonata, the first year for the Optima was fraught with numerous mechanical problems, however, and many owners complain of repeat visits to the repair shop, most notably for a power window failure.
The first year for a new car is always filled with kinks, however, and what the 2001 Optima does offer is a roomy, comfortable sedan with easy handling and an attractive price tag. It has a bigger cabin than the Altima, with lots of leg and headroom for both front and backseat passengers. Rear seats split-fold to expand the 13.6 cubic-foot trunk. The 2001 Altima comes in the base LX and SE trims, each offered with either a 2.4-liter, 149-hp I4 or a 2.5-liter, 170-hp V6. A 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed is offered with the I4s, while the V6 Optimas come only with a 4-speed Tiptronic.
The exterior of the 2001 Optima is distinguished by chrome trim, which is carried into the interior of the SE. Dual front-side airbags are standard, but ABS brakes are optional only on the V6 models. While the base LX features full power accessories, the SE ups the ante with a power driver's seat, heated mirrors, a CD player, sunroof, cruise control, and real wood trim. Leather seats are optional only on the Optima SE. The Kia does not rate well with owners in terms of overall quality. Besides the maintenance issues, drivers complain of poor acceleration, low gas mileage, noticeable understeer, and dealers not honoring the famous warranty. On a good note, they do like the handling, roomy cabin and trunk, smooth ride, and the quiet engine.
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