2012 Kia Optima vs. 2012 Nissan Altima: Which One Should I Buy? | YourMechanic Advice

2012 Kia Optima vs. 2012 Nissan Altima: Which One Should I Buy?

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Mid-size sedans can be pretty basic, with four doors and simple and straightforward options, decent but not stellar gas mileage, and an uninspired interior. They can also have great design and fight off boredom through sporty suspension and exciting technology toys. The Kia Optima and the Nissan Altima fall somewhere in the middle of the options.

The Kia Optima evades design and driving boredom with good performance, great gas mileage, suave looks and features and while the Nissan Altima isn’t the roomiest of the mid-size sedans, it is one of the best-looking and sportiest mid-sizer.

nissan altima 2012
2012 Nissan Altima

Exterior Design

The Kia has a more chiseled exterior that has a handsome, aerodynamic shape that adds to the engaging handling. The refined, sporty-looking interior adds to the overall appeal of the Optima. For less than $1,000 more, the Nissan Altima brings in a simple, comfortable interior as well as highly responsive handling.

Interior Features

The Nissan Altima has a back seat that can seem very tight and some of the interior materials look a little drab. The Optima proves that good looks do not necessarily equate to comfort: the cushions are short and have very flat bottoms and are not very comfortable at all.

Fuel Economy

The two sedans are quite similar in regards to miles per gallon, with the Kia getting slightly better highway fuel economy at 35 mpg, but the Altima comes in with a very respectable 32 mpg highway and 23 mpg city. The Altima does have a more than generous 20.0 gallon fuel tank versus the Optima’s 18.5 tank.

Safety Testing

While the Nissan Altima loses stars on several different crash test ratings, the Optima only loses in two areas: combined side rating for the front seat and the side barrier rating for the driver – both of which drop down to a pitiful 3 stars. It’s hard to determine which affects the safety of the vehicles more, but the Altima does have a lower (4-star) rating for rollovers; a large concern of many vehicle owners.

When it gets down to comparing these two vehicles, you may need to look at the basic warranty as well as all the different features in order to make a full determination on which one to purchase. The Kia’s warranty is excellent with 60 months/60,000 miles versus the Altima’s industry-standard 36 months/36,000 miles.


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Jason

14 years of experience
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Jason
14 years of experience
Chrysler 300 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - New York, New York
Very calm, understanding told me the true price flog the vehicle and also helped me negotiate saving me $$$ great mechanic and did the pre purchase inspection good
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21 years of experience
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Chris
21 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz SLK280 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Laguna Hills, California
I hired Chris to inspect a car I wanted to purchase. He arrived on time and gave me a very detailed report, took the time to call me after to review details, and share his impression of the car. He was great and very knowledgeable, I would highly recommend him!
Lexus IS250 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Irvine, California
Smooth experience, was able to communicate succinctly and arrived early to the appointment. Thoroughly completed the 50-point check and gave me his professional opinion. His report on the vehicle reflected knowledge on the vehicle, along with giving me his own estimate on the pricing. Definitely helped me with my purchase.

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24 years of experience
BMW X5 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Burbank, California
Peter saved me from buying a lemon. He was extremely knowledgeable, professional and easy to work with. He is extremely through more than the standard and so he would be your go to guy for any picky buyer like I am. THANK YOU PETER!

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25 years of experience
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Jimmi
25 years of experience
BMW 750Li - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Sanford, Florida
Jimmi is thorough! As I am buying the car unseen, he gave me a very good idea of the overall state of the vehicle. I am very impressed!!! He called me and discussed everything with me. Gold star!

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