2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2019 Kia Optima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 6 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, 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 Mazda 6 and the Optima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Kia Optima:

 

Mazda 6

Optima

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

130

185

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

43/70 lbs.

114/300 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

249

282

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Stress

133 lbs.

192 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 Mazda 6 is safer than the Kia Optima:

 

Mazda 6

Optima

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

64 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

380 lbs.

933 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

37 G’s

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

Warranty

The Mazda 6’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.

Engine

The Mazda 6 has more powerful engines than the Optima:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Mazda 6 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

187 HP

186 lbs.-ft.

Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

310 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 Car and Driver the Mazda 6 (base engine) is faster than the Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

Mazda6

Optima

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.2 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.8 sec

Top Speed

135 MPH

134 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Mazda6 gets better fuel mileage than the Optima:

 

 

 

MPG

Mazda6

 

 

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

 

2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/31 hwy

Optima

 

 

LX 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

 

 

S 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/33 hwy

 

 

SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Optima doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

The Mazda 6 stops much shorter than the Optima:

 

Mazda 6

Optima

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 6 has larger tires than the Optima (225/55R17 vs. 205/65R16).

The Mazda 6 Sport’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 6 Sport has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima LX. The Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Optima S/SX.

Suspension and Handling

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring handles at .84 G’s, while the Optima pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Optima (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Optima doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Mazda 6’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Optima’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

The Mazda 6 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The Optima doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 Mazda 6’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.

The Mazda 6’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Optima’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Consumer Reports rated the Mazda 6’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Optima’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 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 Mazda 6 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 6 is less expensive to operate than the Optima because it costs $65 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Mazda 6 than the Optima, including $29 less for a water pump and $49 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 6 and the Kia Optima, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The Optima has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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