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2003 Kia Optima Trims


Avg. Price: $4,864

The 2003 Kia Optima LX is the base model of the mid-size sedan, but still comes well equipped. All models got an exterior makeover and some changes to the interior layout, but the 2003 Optima LX also gets a standard CD player and cruise control. This is in addition to the full set of power features, air conditioning, tachometer, tilt steering wheel, and intermittent wipers that already were standard on the LX.

This year, the LX is the only model that comes with a 5-speed manual transmission. A 4-speed auto tran with sport shift is optional. The engine is a 138-hp, 2.4-liter I4 with 147 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. Dual front-side airbags and 15-inch wheels are standard. ABS brakes are not offered on the 2003 Optima LX. Options are few, but you can get a 6-CD changer. The Optima is nicely equipped for the price, and that's what draws most owners, along with Kia's long-term warranty. But they are nicely surprised by the smooth ride once behind the wheel. Drawbacks include poor customer service and the location of the cruise control button.


15 national listings
Avg. Price: $4,495

Getting an engine upgrade also means an upgrade in standard features for the 2003 Kia Optima LX V6. With a 2.7-liter, 170-hp DOHC V6 and 4-speed automatic with sport-shift under its hood, the LX V6 gives the mid-size sedan a lot of kick. Though most of its features are the same as the base LX (power windows, locks, and mirrors, air conditioning, CD player, new cruise control, and intermittent wipers), the LX V6 adds on wood accents in the cabin for a more upscale look.

Dual front-side airbags are standard, boosting Kia's emphasis on safety. Other standard equipment includes a tachometer, front and overhead consoles, and a tilt steering wheel. The rear seat split-folds for cargo versatility. Unlike the base LX, 4-wheel ABS is an option, along with a 6-CD changer. Generally, drivers of the 2003 Optima LX V6 like the fuel economy, which is average for a mid-size, at 20/27 mpg. The overall price and long-term warranty are the initial draws, but the long list of standard features and roominess please most owners. More horsepower is desired even on the V6.


5 national listings
Avg. Price: $4,584

More convenience features are found on the 2003 Kia Optima SE sedan than on the base LX. Though they share the same 138-hp, 2.4-liter DOHC I4 engine, the SE is only available with a 4-speed sport-shift automatic transmission. This year, the 2003 Optima SE gets an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a garage opener remote, and automatic climate control. This is in addition to a long list of features, which owners are amazed at for the price they pay.

These features include full power accessories, foglights, remote entry, a power driver's seat, heated mirrors, cruise control, and a sunroof. A security system is standard, as are wood and leather trim around the shifter, steering wheel, and dash. This makes the 2003 Optima SE much more luxurious than the base LX. Dual front-side airbags are standard, along with 15-inch alloy wheels. ABS is not offered on the Optima. If you want even more luxury, you can add on leather seats, a 6-CD changer, and a power passenger seat. Owners like that the 2003 Optima SE looks more expensive than it is, and they also like the gas mileage. Some don't like how little the dash controls are and they wish the engine had more power.


Avg. Price: $5,043

The 2003 Kia Optima SE V6 differs from its 4-cylinder sibling primarily in engine power. The 2003 Optima SE V6 features a 2.7-liter, 170-hp DOHC V6 (that's 30 more hp than the SE) coupled with a 4-speed automatic with Sportshift. The SE V6 is the most luxurious of the lineup, with power features, a power driver's seat, heated mirrors, a sunroof, cruise control, CD player, and leather and wood trim. This year the 2003 Optima SE V6 gets an auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote garage opener, and automatic climate control.

There have also been some tweaks to the front end and taillights of the SE V6 for 2003. Two rows of seats fit four comfortable, and the backseat split-folds to expand the 13 cubic foot trunk. Safety features include foglights, dual front-side airbags, automatic headlights, and 15-inch alloy wheels. 4-wheel ABS is optional only. Other options include leather seats, a power passenger seat, and a 6-CD changer. Owners say you get a lot for your money in the 2003 Kia Optima SE V6, which looks and acts like a more expensive car.