Kia Optima EX V6

The Kia Optima EX was offered with a V6 option from 2001 to 2010, and was capable of delivering up to 194 horsepower.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
While the Optima was a flagship model for Kia, it’s not a name that’s usually associated with a powerful driving experience. The Kia Optima EX was offered with a V6 option from 2001 to 2010, but as V6s go, it left something to be desired. 
Drivers who wanted a little extra oomph in a reasonable, cost-effective sedan were able to get a Kia Optima with a V6 engine during the early years of the car’s run. Perhaps a better idea in theory than in practice, the Kia Optima EX V6 offered little advantage over the standard four-cylinder engine. 
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Kia Optima EX V6

Used price: $3,000 to $5,000 for a 2009 or 2010 model
Engine: 2.7 liter V6
Horsepower: 194 hp
Torque: 184 lb-ft 
0 to 60: 7.5 to 8 seconds
The Kia Optima EX was the middle trim level in the lineup and was offered with a V6 engine. Neither flashy nor exciting to drive, it was a sensible sedan for everyday drivers on a budget. The interior was roomy, and its 15 cubic feet of trunk space was on par with its competitors. 
The following features of the Kia Optima EX V6 were pretty standard for the era: 
  • Automatic climate control
  • Leather upholstery
  • Power windows
  • Keyless entry
  • Six-disc CD changer 
The 2010 Optima earned a five-star rating in government crash tests, and it performed well in IIHS safety tests as well. 

How’s the fuel economy?

One of the tradeoffs of a V6 engine is that it is not as fuel-efficient, and the Optima EX V6 gets around 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Considering that the Optima’s V6 engine is rather lackluster, most reviews determined that it wasn't worth the extra fuel. 

Which Kia Optima EX models have the V6?

The Optima name was sold from 2001 to 2020 when it was rebranded as the K5. However, only Optimas sold before 2010 had the option for a V6 engine. The trim levels offered varied depending on the year but included the
LX
, EX, and
SX
The V6 was offered on all of these trim levels at various stages. 

How fast is the Kia Optima EX V6? 

In a word? Meh. It’s fair to say that no one associates a Kia Optima with speed. Even with a V6 under the hood, it went 0 to 60 mph in a tepid 8 seconds. That’s just fine for daily driving, which is what the Optima is geared for. 
When compared to other similar cars at the time, the underwhelming nature of the Optima’s V6 becomes even more apparent:
To be fair, the Optima was not meant to be a performance vehicle. It was a mid-size, affordable sedan that targeted the everyday driver. 
Key Takeaway The V6 engine gave the Kia Optima more gas-burning power, but little else.

Which is better: Optima EX or Optima SX?

The SX was the top trim level that the Optima was offered, and both had the option to upgrade to the V6 engine. The SX offered a sports suspension, and a push-button start was offered in the 2010 model. 
Other upgrades are mostly cosmetic, including aluminum trim, metal pedals, and a blacked-out headlight grille that all give the SX a more dashing profile. 
If you’re in the market for a Kia Optima, your options will be limited to what’s available in your area. If you are looking for something that handles a little better and has a bit of an upgraded look and feel, then the SX might be the choice for you. 
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Yes—its availability across trim levels varied, but a V6 option was available on the Kia Optima from 2001 to 2010.
V6 or no, the Kia Optima had respectable reliability ratings. It’s estimated that a 2010 Kia Optima should last around 13 years or 200,000 miles.
No. All Kia Optimas were front-wheel drive. The rebranded K5 (formerly the Optima) started offering the option for AWD in 2021.
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