2020 Kia Optima vs. 2019 Toyota Camry

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 2019/10/16

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 Camry doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Optima and the Camry 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, 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 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 Toyota Camry:

Optima

Camry

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Stress

218 lbs.

262 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

114/300 lbs.

432/527 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 Toyota Camry:

Optima

Camry

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

111

134

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

585 lbs.

622 lbs.

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

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 2019/10/16

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 Camry’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Camry. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Camry ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Optima has a standard 800-amp battery (760 SX). The Camry’s 600-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

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 2019/10/16

As tested in Car and Driver the Optima EX 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Toyota Camry 4 cyl.:

Optima

Camry

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

19.1 sec

20.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.6 sec

8.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92 MPH

90 MPH

Top Speed

134 MPH

133 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 2019/10/16

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Optima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Camry XSE/XLE requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Optima has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Camry L’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Optima has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Camry LE/SE/XLE/XSE’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 16 gallons).

Transmission

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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 Camry doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

© 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 2019/10/16

For better stopping power the Optima EX/SX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Camry:

Optima EX/SX

Camry

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

11.06 inches

The Optima stops shorter than the Camry:

Optima

Camry

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

125 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 2019/10/16

The Optima has variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Camry doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Optima SX handles at .83 G’s, while the Camry XLE pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Optima’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Camry L/LE’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The Optima’s turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the Camry SE/XLE/XSE’s (35.8 feet vs. 38 feet).

Passenger Space

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

The Optima has 4.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Camry (104.8 vs. 100.4).

The Optima has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear hip room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Camry.

Cargo Capacity

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The Optima has a larger trunk than the Camry (15.9 vs. 15.1 cubic feet).

The Optima’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Camry L doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

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 Camry doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

© 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 2019/10/16

The Optima has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Camry doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

© 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 2019/10/16

When two different drivers share the Optima EX Premium/SX, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Camry doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Optima’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Camry doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Optima SX has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Camry doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Optima’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Camry and aren’t offered on the Camry L.

When the Optima EX/SX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Camry’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Optima EX Premium/SX keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Camry doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Optima EX Premium/SX’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Camry doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2019/10/16

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 Camry is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Optima is less expensive to operate than the Camry because typical repairs cost much less on the Optima than the Camry, including $209 less for a water pump, $73 less for a muffler, $25 less for front brake pads, $337 less for a starter, $196 less for fuel injection, $161 less for a fuel pump, $158 less for front struts, $912 less for a timing belt/chain and $489 less for a power steering pump.

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 2019/10/16

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

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

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