2009 Kia Optima Review


Looking for a Used Optima in your area?

CarGurus has 31,034 nationwide Optima listings starting at $2,995.

Average user score
4.7 5 stars
Based on 8 reviews

2009 Kia Optima Overview

Kia’s front-wheel-drive midsize offering, the Optima, sees plenty of upgrades in 2009, with a new engine, more power, refreshed styling and an entirely new sport trim level, the SX. This represents the second significant makeover in recent years, following 2007’s total redesign. The four-door Optima is available in three trim levels - base EX, luxury LX, and sport SX - with two engines and two transmissions. Both engines get a power boost for 2009, due to variable valve timing and a variable intake system. The base 2.4-liter four cylinder increases 13 hp to 175, and the 2.7-liter six increases 5 hp to 190. The four comes with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic that comes standard on the 2.7 and features “Sportmatic clutchless shifting.”

Styling changes abound inside and out, with new front and rear fascia, as well as small detail changes for the sides. The front foglamps and lower grille have grown, while the headlamps have narrowed, along with the taillights. Overall length has increased as well, almost 3 full inches, to 189, although this is the only dimension affected. The interior has also been refreshed with new design, materials, and colors, as well as new electronics. The base model now has MP3 compatibility in the audio system, as well as a USB port and the option of satellite radio. An in-dash navigational system is newly available as well.

The big news is the addition of the sport-minded SX trim, which has several unique features over the other trims, including a sport-tuned suspension, special trim both inside and out, and 17-inch chrome wheels, an upgrade over the 16-inch wheels available on other trims.

NHTSA test results are not yet available for the 2009 Kia Optima, but as very little has changed structurally since 2008, that year’s results can be taken into consideration, where five stars were awarded in all categories other than rollover resistance, which received a four-star rating.


A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

What's your take on the 2009 Kia Optima?

2009 Kia Optima Top Comparisons

Users ranked 2009 Kia Optima against other cars which they drove/owned. Each ranking was based on 9 categories. Here is the summary of top rankings.

2009 Kia Optima vs:

    Have you driven a 2009 Kia Optima?  
    Rank This Car

    Cars compared to 2009 Kia OptimaPeople researching a 2009 Kia Optima contacted a dealer about


    Looking for a Used Optima in your area?

    CarGurus has 31,034 nationwide Optima listings starting at $2,995.

    Have questions?   Ask a question

    Kia Optima Questions

    I Just Bought A 2009 Kia Optima And It Didnt Come With The Ant-theft Alarm ...

    2010 Kia Optima LX Keyless entry

    5 views with 2 answers (last answer about a week ago)

    Cooling Fan Stays On

    Replaced cooling fan relay. Sometimes the fan stays on after turning off the car

    16 views with 3 answers (last answer 2 months ago)

    Steady Whistling Noise Near Rear Tires

    Today, I started hearing a steady audio tone near the rear tires whenever the engine is running. The noise is constant when the car is in motion or idling in place. It stops whenever the engine is t...

    9 views with 2 answers (last answer 3 months ago)

    I'm Trying To Remove The Center Armrest As The Latch Is Broken But There Ar...

    I already removed the two screws by the hinge but there is nothing else. I'm assuming the interior lid pops off after that but I don't want to pry too hard for fear of breaking it.

    55 views with 1 answer (last answer 7 months ago)

    Came Home In My Car Tonight And It Would Not Go Into Reverse Or Park. No Pr...

    36 views with 1 answer (last answer about a year ago)