2020 Kia Optima vs. 2020 Buick Regal Sportback

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 2019/10/21

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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Optima and the Regal Sportback 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.

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 Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback’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 Regal Sportback. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Regal Sportback ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

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 20 points higher than the Regal Sportback.

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

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Optima

FWD

EX 1.6 Turbo 4-cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

FE 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

25 city/35 hwy

Sportback

FWD

2.0 Turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/32 hwy

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Optima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Regal Sportback with the 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Optima has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Regal Sportback (18.5 vs. 16.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 2019/10/21

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

Brakes and Stopping

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The Optima stops shorter than the Regal Sportback:

Optima

Regal Sportback

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the Optima’s turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (35.8 feet vs. 39 feet). The Optima’s turning circle is 5.2 feet tighter than the Regal Sportback’s (35.8 feet vs. 41 feet).

Chassis

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The Kia Optima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 700 pounds less than the Buick Regal Sportback.

Passenger Space

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The Optima has 6.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Regal Sportback (104.8 vs. 98).

The Optima has 1 inch more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the Regal Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

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

Ergonomics

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Consumer Reports rated the Optima’s headlight performance “Fair,” a higher rating than the Regal Sportback’s headlights, which were 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 Regal Sportback doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Regal Sportback (except Base)’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Optima SX’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Optima has standard extendable sun visors. The Regal Sportback doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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 Regal Sportback is rated higher at a number “8” 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 Regal Sportback only retains 28.76% to 36.45%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Optima is less expensive to operate than the Regal Sportback 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 Regal Sportback, including $552 less for a water pump, $825 less for a muffler, $148 less for front brake pads, $411 less for a starter, $69 less for fuel injection, $82 less for a fuel pump, $114 less for front struts and $438 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 $4877 to $9999 less than for the Buick Regal Sportback.

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 2019/10/21

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

The Kia Optima outsold the Buick Regal by over seven to one during 2018.

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

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