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2002 Kia Optima Overview

Some drivers might think you'd have to be optimistic to buy a Kia Optima, since the early years of this mid-size luxury sedan were riddled with problems, including power locks and window failures. Owners also mention that unhelpful dealers had to be pushed to honor the Kia warranty. But aside from these problems, the 2002 Kia Optima is an affordable family car that offers a lot of comfort and convenience for the price, if not a lot of power.

There were few changes from its inaugural year, but the 2002 Optima did get a new 2.7-liter V6 engine that puts out 178-hp, a gain of eight over last year. The 2.4-liter I4 remains the same at 149-hp. A 5-speed manual is standard on the I4, with an optional 4-speed automatic. The V6 engines come only with a Tiptronic. The base LX sedans also got bigger 15-inch tires this year, to match those on the SE. The more luxurious SE gets automatic headlights and adds an optional 4-way power passenger seat to the standard 8-way driver's seat. Even as a base model, the LX is nicely equipped with power features and dual front-side airbags. The SE adds a sunroof, faux wood trim, foglights, and gaudy chrome interior and exterior trim. Leather seats and trim are optional on the SE, and ABS brakes are optional with the V6 engines only.

The 2002 Kia Optima hopes to compete against the Camry and Accord, and definitely wins in the price and roominess categories. Owners are surprised at the amount of legroom and the large trunk. Despite being underpowered and struggling on acceleration, the Optima handles well and provides a smooth and very quiet ride. Drivers like all the standard features on the base model and the overall style, which makes it look more expensive than it is. Along with the repair woes and engine weakness, downsides to 2002 Kia Optima ownership include less than expected gas mileage.

Updated by Anonymous

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2002 Kia Optima Top Comparisons

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Kia Optima Questions

Fuel Pump Not Working

I bought a car that has say for 4 years so I drained the fuel pump and into the tank and check the wiring on the pump put it back together put new gas in it and it won't start what am I not doing

Spark Plug

2002 Kia optima 6cyl sparkplugs installation doing it at home


How many miles can you put on a 2002 Kia Optima?


Electrical Problem

My brake lights, 4 Way Flashers, Trunk Release and Gas Door Release don't work. The fuses are good, I checked them with a continuity tester. I pulled each fuse and checked the socket the fuse plugs ...