2009 Kia Optima Review


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4.8 5 stars
Based on 9 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.

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Kia Optima Questions

Fuel Pump Problems

I own a 2009 kia optima it died on me at a stop light. Changed fuel pump filter and checked relay still wont start. Any ideas on what the problem could be pls ...

Tire Makes A Weird Clunking/knocking Noise

I have a 2009 Optima, and I left it sitting for about 1.5-2 weeks (I know that was not a good idea). I got in to drive it on Saturday and everything was fine for the first mile. Then a strange knoc...

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2010 Kia Optima LX Keyless entry

Cooling Fan Stays On

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

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...