2020 Ford Fusion 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 Ford Fusion 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 Fusion Titanium offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Optima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Fusion has standard SYNC®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or 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 Fusion 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available rear parking sensors.

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

Fusion

Optima

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

55 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, results indicate that the Ford Fusion is safer than the Kia Optima:

Fusion

Optima

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

66 G’s

Hip Force

805 lbs.

933 lbs.

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

Warranty

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

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Optima was rated third.

Engine

The Fusion has more powerful engines than the Optima:

Torque

Fusion SE/SEL 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

185 lbs.-ft.

Fusion Titanium 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

275 lbs.-ft.

Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

195 lbs.-ft.

Optima 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

178 lbs.-ft.

Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

260 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Fusion Titanium 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

Fusion

Optima

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.6 MPH

90.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Fusion SE/SEL FWD 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (23 city/34 hwy vs. 21 city/30 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Fusion ECOBoost FWD’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.

The Fusion has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Optima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

The Fusion stops shorter than the Optima:

Fusion

Optima

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Fusion has larger standard tires than the Optima (215/60R16 vs. 205/65R16).

The Fusion S’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima LX’s standard 65 series tires. The Fusion Titanium’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Optima S/SX’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Fusion Titanium has standard 19-inch wheels. The Optima’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Fusion’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Optima doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Fusion’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Optima (112.2 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

The Fusion Titanium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Optima (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Fusion uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Optima doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Fusion has 2.7 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Fusion easier. The Fusion’s trunk lift-over height is 24.4 inches, while the Optima’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Fusion’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Optima’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Fusion. The Optima doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The Fusion has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Optima has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Fusion SEL/Titanium has a standard 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Optima doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Fusion’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Optima’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Fusion’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 Fusion the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Optima can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Optima doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Optima doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

The Fusion’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.

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

The Fusion SEL/Titanium 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 Fusion (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Optima doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Optima because it costs $182 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Fusion than the Optima, including $73 less for a water pump, $65 less for a fuel pump and $52 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Ford Fusion outsold the Kia Optima by 71% during 2018.

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

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