2005 Kia Optima

  • 2005 Kia Optima EX Sedan

    EX Sedan

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      2.4L I4
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  • 2005 Kia Optima LX Sedan

    LX Sedan

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      2.4L I4
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2005 Kia Optima Review

Quality and reliability for a bargain.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2005 Kia Optima classifies as a midsize sedan produced by Kia Motors. The car debuted in 2000 and sold globally under a number of names. It provides a rebadged version of the Hyundai Sonata, so the 2005 Kia Optima still looks a lot like that car baring some minor but evident styling differences. During 2002, the Optima received some minor updates. Last year, the grille added the new Kia badge.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 2.7-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Kia Optima LX, Kia Optima EX

What's New

The 2005 Kia Optima comes with some new interior and exterior changes. On the outside, the car gets new clear turn signals in front. The EX gets a one-touch opening system for the sunroof. The optional leather upholstery also improves in the 2005 model. Other changes include compliance with LEV-II emission standards and the option of a four-speed automatic transmission.


The exterior of the 2005 Kia Optima borrows some elements and styling aspects from the Hyundai Sonata, but the car distinguishes itself from the Sonata with its unique front grille and nose design. Although both cars have the same wheelbase of 106.3 inches, the Optima remains a little shorter than the Sonata and much shorter than its direct competitors, including the Camry and the Accord. The overall length of the 2005 Kia Optima totals 185.8 inches.


The 2005 Kia Optima comes with bucket seats in front and a bench at the rear, which seats up to three people. The dashboard design marks a positive point of the Optima; the controls seem easy to reach and the buttons and dials look big enough. Many materials across the interior feel and look rather cheap, but this hardly seems like a problem for the price.

The front bucket seats feel spacious, and the low-rise dashboard and large windows keep visibility high. The seats themselves do not look so good and feel firm, but they remain comfortable for long journeys. Headroom proves decent enough in front as well. The rear bench should seat three, but it can only fit two comfortably. Legroom remains marginal, while the headroom seems manageable. Even through the doors seem a little narrow entry and exit do not cause problems at the rear.

Performance & Handling

The 2005 Optima offers two engine options. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder offers 138 horsepower and a 2.7-liter V-6 generates 170 horsepower. An Optima LX with the four-cylinder engine can be fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox or automatic transmission. All other models of the 2005 Kia Optima only get the four-speed automatic transmission, along with adaptive logic and a system for manually selecting gear changes.

The V-6 engine in the Optima can take the car from zero to 60 mph in nine seconds. However, the four-cylinder engine lacks punch and gets much noisier than the V-6. The Optima offers a surprisingly smooth ride, and the suspension of the car absorbs moderate bumps effectively enough. However, rough roads test the Optima, and the results may not be so good. The automatic transmission responds well enough for most occasions, but downshifts feel a bit jerky and abrupt when done at low speeds.

Overall, the 2005 Kia Optima offers good enough performance, and it can be almost as competent as models such as the Camry and Accord. However, this only happens with the V-6 in place, not the four-cylinder.


The Kia Optima comes with anti-lock brakes as an option, but only with the V-6 versions. Side-impact airbags, however, come standard on all models, giving the Optima an edge over its competition. Crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration inspire some confidence in the safety of the Optima as well. The NHTSA gives the 2005 Kia Optima four out five stars in terms of driver and passenger safety during frontal-impact and side-impact collision tests. The car also earns a five-star rollover rating.

EPA Fuel Economy

Kia Optima 2.7-liter V-6, automatic: 18/25 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Low price
  • Good highway riding experience
  • Refined engine
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Good warranty

You Won't Like

  • Unenthusiastic handling
  • Cheap interior parts
  • Lack of rear legroom
  • No ABS for four-cylinder models

Sum Up

Quality and reliability for a bargain.

If You Like This Vehicle

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See the New 2016 Optima.

Front & Driver Side View