A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Kia Optima

Kia hasn’t always had the best reputation. In fact, for years the Korean automaker was known for making cheap vehicles that didn’t last. Today, though, that reputation has drastically changed, thanks in large part to the 2012 Kia Optima. This family sedan is a quality automobile with a lot of great features at a price that puts it in direct competition with the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.

Key Features

Of all of its features, the 2.0-liter turbo-charged engine is one of our very favorites. With 274 horsepower and 34 MPG on the highway, this inline 4-cylinder engine is more than powerful enough without losing fuel efficiency.

In addition to its impressive engine, the styling of the 2012 Kia Optima is sleek and modern, with lines that can compete with much more expensive European brands.

Changes for 2012

The 2012 Kia Optima received a number of new standard and optional features, including heated side mirrors and fog lights, as well as automatic headlights on the LX trim models. Included in the premium package, you can now also get an Infinity audio system with eight speakers and a voice-activated infotainment system.

What We Like

You shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get an attractive mid-size family sedan with the features you want. With the 2012 Kia Optima, you can spend far less than you would with other brands and get the same luxuries, along with an engine with plenty of power and great fuel economy.

What Concerns Us

We hate to admit it, but Kia’s former reputation for making poor-quality, cheap vehicles is still fresh in our minds. Though the Optima and other vehicles seem to be standing up to the test of time, many people will still not trust the brand due to past performance. This could hurt your car’s resale value.

Available Models

The 2012 Kia Optima has a few different trim packages, but they all fall into two engine options – a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque at 4250 RPM and a turbo-charged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 274 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque at 1750-4500 RPM. The naturally aspirated engine has slightly better gas mileage at 35 MPG on the highway, whereas the turbo-charged engine gets 34 MPG.

Major Recalls

There have been no major recalls on the 2012 Kia Optima.

Common Issues

There have been very few issues with the 2012 Optima, but the most common complaints involve a loss of engine power or loose steering.

kia optima 2012 interior


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Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
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Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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