2020 Kia Optima vs. 2019 Buick LaCrosse

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The Optima has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Optima’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Optima and the LaCrosse have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

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

Optima

LaCrosse

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

185

220

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

282

320

Neck Stress

192 lbs.

195 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

87/92 lbs.

346/354 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 Kia Optima is safer than the Buick LaCrosse:

Optima

LaCrosse

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

111

187

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.3 inches

Abdominal Force

178 G’s

280 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

319

368

Spine Acceleration

66 G’s

66 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

15 inches

HIC

196

203

Hip Force

585 lbs.

653 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Optima its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The LaCrosse was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The Optima comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The LaCrosse’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Buick covers the LaCrosse. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the LaCrosse ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Optima’s reliability 29 points higher than the LaCrosse.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Optima third among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The LaCrosse isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 11th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 14 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

As tested in Car and Driver the Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Buick LaCrosse 4 cyl. hybrid gas:

Optima

LaCrosse

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

19.1 sec

22.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.6 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 MPH

86 MPH

Top Speed

134 MPH

130 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

On the EPA test cycle the Optima EX gets better fuel mileage than the LaCrosse FWD (27 city/37 hwy vs. 25 city/35 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Optima SX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the LaCrosse FWD V6 (21 city/30 hwy vs. 20 city/30 hwy).

The Optima has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the LaCrosse FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Optima has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the LaCrosse AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 16.2 gallons).

Transmission

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The Optima offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Optima

LaCrosse

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

The Optima stops shorter than the LaCrosse:

Optima

LaCrosse

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

For better maneuverability, the Optima’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the LaCrosse’s (35.8 feet vs. 38 feet).

Chassis

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The Kia Optima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Buick LaCrosse.

The Optima is 6.4 inches shorter than the LaCrosse, making the Optima easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Optima a Large car, while the LaCrosse is rated a Mid-size.

The Optima has 2.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the LaCrosse (104.8 vs. 102).

The Optima has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 3.5 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and .9 inches more rear hip room than the LaCrosse.

Cargo Capacity

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The Optima has a larger trunk than the LaCrosse (15.9 vs. 15 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Optima S/EX/SX’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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The Smart Key standard on the Optima S/EX/SX allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Buick LaCrosse’s Keyless Access doesn’t unlock the trunk.

The Optima has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Optima’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the LaCrosse’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Optima detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The LaCrosse doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Optima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Optima with a number “1” insurance rate while the LaCrosse is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

The Optima will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Optima will retain 39.17% to 40.49% of its original price after five years, while the LaCrosse only retains 30.31% to 36.47%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Optima is less expensive to operate than the LaCrosse because it costs $391 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Optima than the LaCrosse, including $186 less for a water pump, $299 less for a muffler, $114 less for front brake pads, $215 less for a starter, $167 less for a fuel pump, $609 less for front struts, $572 less for a timing belt/chain and $486 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Optima will be $7482 to $15908 less than for the Buick LaCrosse.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

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

The Kia Optima outsold the Buick LaCrosse by almost seven to one during 2018.

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

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