2003 Kia Optima Overview


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Avg. Price: $3,237
11 national listings
8 national listings
7 national listings

Kia Optima Experts

#1 Tom Demyan
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Average User Score

4.85 stars

Based on 6 reviews

Great First Car ! by Amilli
 — i had this car as my first car and i didn't know it at the time but I couldn't have asked for more. The car was speedy and sporty looking, especially with those tinted widows on the car. I got to... Read More
Absolutely Rocks! by Rx8202
 — I bought this car used and it has served me well. I love the acceleration on it and although i have had to be a little more cautious on the brakes it has been excellent on that too. It is not a thre... Read More
Kia Love by Alison
 — This car is a v-6 so it moves but it gets up and goes better than any other v-6 Ive driven. It was in a wreck and kept my kids safe. The cop even mentioned how impressed he is with my car when he has ... Read More

2003 Kia Optima Overview

Overall User Score

4.8 out of 5 stars4.8 out of 5 stars4.8 out of 5 stars4.8 out of 5 stars4.8 out of 5 stars4.85

Based on 6 reviews

2003 Kia Optima

The Kia Optima has improved since its introduction in 2001, and its value, roominess, comfort, and smooth ride seem to outweigh the diminishing amount of mechanical problems.  The 2003 Kia Optima also gets a fresh overhaul, mostly of its exterior, adopting a more European look with a new grille and new taillights.  Inside, the doors, upholstery, and center dash console also get tweaked.

Available in two trims, the LX and SE, each trim comes with two engine options.  Hyundai made a calculation mistake in its horsepower ratings, so the revised 2.4-liter I4 now gets 138-hp, and the 2.7 V6 gets 170-hp.  Only the LX I4 comes standard with a 5-speed manual transmission.  All other models feature a 4-speed automatic with sport shift.  The base model LX was already well packed with power features, but it gets cruise control added this year, while the SE adds a garage opener, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and automatic climate control. There are more option packages for the SE that include leather seats, a power passenger seat, and a new wood and leather trimmed steering wheel and shifter.  

Rear seats split-fold for more cargo versatility, and there is also a trunk pass-through.  Though the rear seat has limited legroom, the cabin is actually larger than the Nissan Altima.  The 2003 Optima carries Kia's famous warranty, which is a big draw for owners, though some say dealers sometimes don't honor it.  Other attractive features include the quiet, smooth, and responsive handling, the exterior styling, and the fact that a lot comes standard at an inexpensive price.  Drivers feel it definitely needs more power, especially the I4, which is like molasses off the line.  The check engine light comes on constantly, and gas mileage could be better.


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2003 Kia Optima, '04 Kia Optima, exterior
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Looking for a Used Optima in your area?
CarGurus has 35,256 nationwide Optima listings starting at $999.

Kia Optima Questions


Does The 2003 Optima Have A Timing Chain?

does the 2003 Kia Optima have a timing chain?

7 views with 1 answer (last answer 3 weeks ago)
Mary Kanza

After I Fill Up With Fuel, 03 Kia Optima Doesn't Start, Seems Like No Fuel ...

Every time I fill up my 03 Kia Optima with fuel while the car is off during fill up, when I go to start ignition, the car does not turn on. Anyone else have this issue? I have to turn key several time...

3,224 views with 7 answers (last answer 2 months ago)

2003 Kia Optima Wont Go Into Gear. It'starts But Can't Get Into Any Gear. S...

Any hints?

21 views with 1 answer (last answer 6 months ago)
Kathleen Webb

When I Put Gas In My 03 Kia Optima Willrev Then Sputter And Die.

Even when I don't fill it. It takes 3-4 times to get it to start again. Please tell me this is not an expensive fix. Has 140 thousand miles, also how many o2 sensors on it? I was told they need repla...

106 views with 2 answers (last answer 8 months ago)

2003 Kia Optima Blower Motor Won't Turn On. With Ac On I Turn On Blower Fan...

03 optima with out atc. blower fan will not come on. ac will turn off when I turn on blower fan switch. blower fan motor ok, replaced both blower fan switch and thermal resister and did not solve the ...

1,163 views with 7 answers (last answer 2 years ago)