2020 Kia Optima vs. 2019 Volvo S60

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Optima and the S60 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, rearview cameras and driver alert monitors.

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 S60 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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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 S60’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the S60. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the S60 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Kia dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Optima’s warranty.

Reliability

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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 40 points higher than the S60.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Optima third among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The S60 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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 78 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 24 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Optima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The S60 T5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Optima has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the S60 FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Optima has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the S60 AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 15.9 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 S60 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

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 2019/10/23

The Optima has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The S60’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The front and rear suspension of the Optima uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S60, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For better maneuverability, the Optima’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the S60’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet).

Chassis

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The Kia Optima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 850 pounds less than the Volvo S60.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Optima a Large car, while the S60 is rated a Compact.

The Optima has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S60 (104.8 vs. 96).

The Optima has 2.4 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more rear hip room and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the S60.

Cargo Capacity

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The Optima has a much larger trunk than the S60 (15.9 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Optima EX/SX has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S60 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 S60 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 S60 only retains -498.28% to 42%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Optima is less expensive to operate than the S60 because it costs $45 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Optima than the S60, including $240 less for a water pump, $363 less for a muffler, $67 less for front brake pads, $294 less for a starter, $138 less for fuel injection, $538 less for a fuel pump and $61 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Optima will be $9981 to $15902 less than for the Volvo S60.

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 2019/10/23

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Optima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo S60 isn't recommended.

The Kia Optima outsold the Volvo 60 Series by almost 9 to one during 2018.

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

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