2018 Hyundai Sonata vs Kia Optima

2018 Hyundai Sonata vs Kia Optima

If you're in the market for a four-door sedan, you'll have lots of models to choose from. If you're not a car expert, some of them will look almost indistinguishable from each other. Take the Hyundai Sonata and the Kia Optima, for example. Walking around the car, you'll notice the Hyundai has a bigger grille, but that might be all the difference you'll see. For example, the difference in overall in width and length can be measured in tenths of an inch. They are both stylish and refined. And they have almost exactly the same gas mileage and sticker price. What is a car buyer to do?

Look Up the Prices

When looking at prices, it's important to not only compare starting prices but also the prices of the trims you really want. While the Sonata and Optima both start at about $23,000, adding the features most buyers want shows how the Optima more sharply raises its price, getting pretty expensive as you step up the trims. For example, most people get the trim just above the base, but you can expect to pay about $1,000 more for the Optima S than the Sonata Eco.

What's more, by time you reach the top of the trims, the difference is even starker. A fully-loaded Sonata Limited 2.0T is about $33,000, while the same for an Optima SX 2.0T comes in at around $38,000. Looking at the list of features, it's hard to say why the Optima costs so much more. They both have a turbocharged engine, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, sunroof, touch screen (8-inch in the Hyundai, 7-inch in the Kia), and plenty of safety and tech features. It seems like you're paying that much more for the Optima for perks like sport seats and Dynamic Bending Light headlights. Hardly dealbreakers.

How Long Will It Last?

Of course, it's impossible to know for sure how long a car will last and just how many repair jobs it'll need along the way. But J.D. Power and Associates, a market research company, has made a name for itself by analyzing customer satisfaction and vehicle reliability. They perform annual surveys of car owners after three years of ownership.

The data shows that the Kia Optima has average reliability, netting a three out of five score. But the Hyundai Sonata is above average, with a 4/5 score. If you like having your car last and last, you'll want to pick the Hyundai.

Pay Attention to the Design

While looks are not always what buyers look at first, they do matter in the final decision. Hyundai is known for a classic design, one that crosses age and gender boundaries and widely appeals to multiple generations. Kia's focus on sporty and aggressive design makes their vehicles more trendy, which also means they may not age as gracefully. If you're looking for a vehicle that will last you for years, you'll want to choose the Hyundai Sonata. You can't go wrong with a classic, sophisticated design.