How Reliable Is The Kia Optima?
Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver’s best auto service experience, 17 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?
Bernie: I’m doing very well
Mark: So we’re going to talk about Kia Optima today and how reliable, this is a fairly popular car recently, priced very affordably, how reliable is it?
Bernie: Well I’d say it’s fair. They have some significant problems in certain model years, They’ve been around since 2000 which is quite a while, and I would say that for the first decade it wasn’t a super popular car. In Canada it was sold as a Kia Magentis. Not a bad looking car throughout it’s time but not quite as reliable as you’d expect as with a Toyota Camry or the other competitive sized cars.
Mark: So Kia has had some major engine issues, so what can you tell us about that?
Bernie: So this is probably the biggest sort of stain on this car. So from 2011 to 2014 a lot of major engine failures, Hyundai uses the same engine in their Sonata and some other models. Major recalls, so the good news is if you have one of these cars, the engines generally fail and it’s covered by a recall. There’s a law suit from 2015 to 2016 on the Kia Sonata engines as well, I don’t know so much of the details of that but I think it’s a similar problem to the 2011 and 2014. So what happened in the manufacturing process, somehow they left metal behind inside the engine which is obviously not a good thing, somewhere in the crankshaft from what I’ve read, I’ve never actually taken apart and looked at it, but somewhere in the crankshaft journals, in the bottom of the engine in the machining process, metal bits got left behind and so eventually grinds the engine bearings and causes the engine to seize. A pretty catastrophic failure and apparently it can happen very quickly so there’s a bit of a safety concern as well which is probably why there’s a recall, because usually recalls are not for problems, they’re for safety type of issues. So anyways the good news is it’s a recall covered item so if you happen to have one of these cars and you haven’t had a recall notice, look out for it. If you happen to be buying a used car, make sure the recall has been done, or you do your research before hand because the last thing you wan is to have the car break down on you. But that’s kind of the major engine issue. Otherwise there’s really very few problems with the engines, they’re all good. Over the years there’s been a variety of different engine offerings, up to 2010 you could get a V6 engine as well which is a fairly reliable engine, no problems with that. The 4 cylinders are good, all newer like the 2011 and up models are 4 cylinder, you can get them with hybrids in some years, some are turbo charged, others are just regularly naturally aspirated engines.
Mark: Do you have any pictures?
Bernie: Yeah, I’ve got a couple. this is a fairly new model, sorry I’ll just enlarge this. I’m not actually sure what model year this is, probably a 2016, 2017, fairly new. Very nice looking car and also a view of a cockpit to a 2017 Optima Hybrid which is really, I mean look at this, it’s a really nice car. I’d say Kia is bottom end cars and so this is what you get at the bottom end which is pretty awesome. I was in Colorado recently and I rented an Optima, just a regular - I’m back - just a regular Optima and it was an awesome car, good gas mileage about 30 miles per gallon which I think is really good for a sort of mid sized car, fantastic gas mileage, everything about the car drove fine. I have zero complaints. You can go barreling down the highway at 80 miles an hour, it’s really comfortable, smooth, no problems at all so it’s a really nice car. Yeah so that’s a bit about the car, so what else are we going to talk about here?
Mark: Well, how’s the rest of the car? How are the brakes?
Bernie: Brakes are good, we don’t see any issues with brakes. It’s your typical sedan you’ll probably get 30 to 50 thousand miles, 50 to 80 thousand kilometres out of a set of brakes, front or back, that’s kind of you know an average kind of expectation on these cars. So nothing abnormal, they don’t wear out prematurely and don’t seem to have a lot of problems.
Bernie: Good, the only complaint I’d have, we had a client with a Magentis, it was sort of mid 2000’s, the engine mounts wore out so there was a lot of vibration and shaking in the car but that seemed a little, in my opinion, premature, it was a few years ago. Other than that the transmissions, we don’t see a lot of problems with them, they’re really good but I think being, when you make a car that’s cheaper, there’s got to be something that makes it cheaper and I think some of the engine mounts, suspension, bushings and things are probably made a little bit on the cheaper side.
Mark: How about steering and suspension?
Bernie: No real problems with those either. I do read a fair bit about cars and there are some complaints about the steering poles in these cars and nothing we’ve experienced ourselves and I don’t think it’s anything really major, it’s maybe a tire issue but other than that I mean, there’s no real, there’s nothing really glaringly bad about the steering or suspension that wears out. The shocks and struts seem to last a sort of normal amount of time as well. So normal meaning, you know 10 year old Kia’s seem to be in pretty good shape still.
Mark: Sure, and electronics are a big part of all cars, any issues in that line?
Bernie: Nothing that we’ve seen in particular, everything seems to be, you know again on average, there’s nothing, every Kia that comes in, Optima comes in has this particular problem, they’re pretty decent. There’s not really a lot of glaring electronic problems or computer problems with the cars.
Mark: So overall, how would you rate the Kia Optima?
Bernie: Well, saying from a new car, it’s quite a nice vehicle, you could, you know you can drive it, it’s a beautiful car as time goes by, not sure how it’s going to age based on the older ones we work on. I’d say they’re just a fair car, they tend to get old quickly and I kind of fear that a lot of the newer ones will probably go the same way. When the car is ten years old, it’ll seem a lot older than perhaps some European cars or higher end, like Japanese, Camry’s or Lexus. But would I buy one, you know, I’d consider it.
Mark: So there you go. If you have a Kia in Vancouver and you need service for it bring it to Pawlik Automotive, they’ll look after you, they’re mild fans of the car and they work on lots of them. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book an appointment, you have to book ahead, they’re busy or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark