Kia Optima SX Turbo review


I have to admit that I have always been a Honda and Toyota kind of girl. They are pretty much all I have ever owned, and I just love everything about them. I was recently asked to test out a 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo for a week, and I was really unsure how I would feel about a Kia.

To be honest, I really didn’t know very much about the Kia. I have heard the name before but just never paid much attention to them. That changed the minute that I received “my” test Kia. When I walked out front to take a look at it, I pretty much fell in love, just by the sporty nature of it. In case you have been hiding under a rock, I’ll fill you in on a secret – I have a things for sports cars 🙂

Isn’t she a beauty? First let’s talk exterior. The Kia Optima SX features 18″ tires with Sport Design Alloy Wheels, HID Head Lights, LED Tail lights, front fog lights, dual exhausts with chrome tips, and a real lip spoiler. I love all of these features that make it a little more sleek than a regular model. It also features (and this is the coolest thing ever), a panoramic sunroof. This means that the backseat passengers also have a sunroof to look out (although the back part doesn’t open). The front opens, and also has a moonroof which can be tilted up with the push of a button.

Power! I like to drive a car that goes fast! The Kia Optima SX Turbo is 4-cyclinder with 274 horsepower. It has a 6-speed sportmatic transmission…meaning I could manually control the paddle shifters and what gear it is in.

I put a video together so you can see the Kia Optima in action:

There are so many things I loved about this car, but one of my very favorite was the keyless entry (smart key). This freed up my hands and I simply pushed the button to unlock the door and get in the car. I just kept the smart key in my pocket or in my purse and never had to worry about it. One push of the button on the car (pictured below) unlocks the driver door, and if I pressed it twice, all doors would unlock. When it was time to lock the car back up, I just pressed the button again. Super easy, and a genius idea!

Inside of the Kia Optima SX Turbo is just as impressive at the outside. The engine is started the same way as the door locks work…it is keyless. To start the engine, you simply put your foot on the brake and press the “on” button. When the engine starts, the driver’s seat slides up (it slides back as you enter the car). One night I was walking out to the car and as I was about to open the door, the car lit up! This really surprised me – that just by having the smart key in my pocket, it sensed me coming. This is not only convenient, but I love the safety factor, especially if I were out and about at night.

As I sat in the driver’s seat I was immediately wanted to play with everything. What first caught my eye was the navigation system and the stereo (this is the Technology Package). The Technology package includes Navigation system with back-up camera and Sirius traffic and Infinity audio system with 8 speakers. The SX Package includes the panoramic sunroof, power front passenger seat, driver seat memory, heated and cooled front seats and heated outboard rear seats.

I have never experienced Sirius radio before, but this is definitely something I want in my next car. I love music and the choices were endless. This is what the Sirius radio looks like:

The Kia Optima that I drove was equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology, although I really didn’t use this. I did hook up my ipod to the stereo and I controlled everything from the touch screen…very cool! The stereo system was amazing – it had great sound and I really had fun with it.

The interior had leather and woven seat trim – they were gorgeous. The driver’s seat is an 8-way power adjustable seat with power lumbar support (so comfortable!). My daughter and I thought the heated seats were awesome (especially since it’s been FREEZING here lately), and we loved warming out buns each time we went out. The seats also have a cooling feature, which would be great to have during the hot summer months. The driver and front passenger each have their own controls for the seat temperature, as well as for the regular temperature. We could each set ours to our own comfort level.

I mentioned the backup camera above – I think this should be required in every new car. It is funny how quickly I became dependent on this (even though I physically looked over my shoulder too). It was just an extra level of safety, which was much appreciated. I was in a parking lot one night and a huge pickup truck was next to me. I started to creep out really slowly, and I looked at the screen and I could actually see the headlights of a car coming (about 2 spaces away), and I had barely moved! The range is seriously impressive.

Safety features include:

  • Dual front advanced airbags
  • Front seat mounted side airbags
  • full-length side curtain airbags
  • front active headrests
  • 3-point seatbelts for all seating positions
  • Hill assist control
  • Lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH)
  • Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)

This is a fuel efficient vehicle – with 22 MPG for city driving and 34 MPG for highway driving. What’s not to love about that?

My overall impression of the Kia Optima SX Turbo? I am absolutely smitten with it. I was extremely sad the day it left – I was not ready to give it up. My view of Kia is a positive one, and I would buy this car in a heartbeat. The model I drove has a MSRP of $30,840.00, but without the additional installed equipment (Technology and SX Premium packages), it would be $25,995.00. These are both very reasonable prices for this car.

iPhone Into Cash


About Author

Jennifer Regan is the owner/editor-in-chief of Eighty MPH Mom, a family-friendly blog. She is active in Brand Ambassadorships and campaigns, and is active in social media, helping brands promote!


  1. OMG! I am in love with this car too! wow so many cool options. from the camera that helps you back up to the heated seats, I want it all! the gas mileage is pretty good & I think I could get used to the panoramic sunroof even though I haven’t heard of one before. I love the look of it front & back & the fact that it has so many airbags is impressive too. I had rented a Nissan Murano so I love the keyless start up. I’ve never tried Sirius radio in the car but had it in our office & loved that too. Wow the 8 speakers must make it feel like you’re at a concert! There’s so much to love about this car! I would love to test drive one myself!
    pinchbuggies at

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