2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Kia Optima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Optima doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Optima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Optima doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A4 45 TFSI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Optima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A4 offers an optional Audi Connect CARE, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the A4 and the Optima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Kia Optima:

 

A4

Optima

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

282

Neck Injury Risk

25%

50%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

192 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

101 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Kia Optima:

 

A4

Optima

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

319

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

933 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Optima’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Optima’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

The A4 has more powerful engines than the Optima:

 

Horsepower

Torque

A4 40 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

188 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

A4 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

178 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

Optima 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 40 TFSI is faster than the Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

A4

Optima

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

90.1 MPH

As tested in Consumer Reports the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Kia Optima 2.4 4 cyl.:

 

A4

Optima

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

8 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.1 sec

4.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

89 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Optima SX 2.0T (27 city/34 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Optima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The A4 Auto’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Optima doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Optima:

 

A4

A4 Quattro

Optima

Optima S/SX

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

12 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

The A4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Optima are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the Optima:

 

A4

Optima

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the Optima (225/50R17 vs. 205/65R16). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima (245/40R18 vs. 235/45R18).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Optima S/SX’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A4 has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima LX. The A4’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Optima S/SX.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Optima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Optima’s (59.2% to 40.8%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Optima pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the Optima (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 5 inches shorter than the Optima, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A4 easier. The A4’s trunk lift-over height is 26.9 inches, while the Optima’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The Optima’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the A4. The Optima doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A4 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Optima doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Optima. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

The A4 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Optima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A4’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Optima’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically. With the Optima S/EX/SX’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the A4 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Optima can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Optima’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Optima doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Optima doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A4 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Optima offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The A4 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Optima.

Both the A4 and the Optima offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A4 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Optima doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

The A4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A4 will retain 46.36% to 48.7% of its original price after five years, while the Optima only retains 36.86% to 42.42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Optima because typical repairs cost less on the A4 than the Optima, including $24 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A4 first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Optima was rated third in its category.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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