Pecheles Automotive Compares 2015 Hyundai SONATA VS 2015 Kia Optima Near New Bern, NC

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2015 Hyundai SONATA

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2015 Hyundai SONATA

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2015 Kia Optima

Safety Comparison

The Sonata Limited/Sport 2.0T offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The Optima doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Sonata (except SE)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Optima doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Sonata offers an optional Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Sonata and the Optima 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

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





5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

164 lbs.

221 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

198/433 lbs.

60/810 lbs.



5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.5 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

145 lbs.

161 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

31/73 lbs.

259/74 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 Hyundai Sonata is safer than the Kia Optima:



Front Seat


5 Stars

3 Stars




Chest Movement

1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

342 G’s

Hip Force

408 lbs.

691 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

773 lbs.

915 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in the IIHS moderate overlap frontal impact, side impact, rear impact, roof-crush crash tests, an “Acceptable” rating in the newer small overlap frontal crash test, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2014, a rating granted to only 52 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Optima is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2014.

Warranty Comparison

The Sonata’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Optima’s (7/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sonata first among midsize cars in their 2013 Initial Quality Study. The Optima isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 6th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the Sonata Eco is faster than the Kia Optima 4 cyl.:



Zero to 60 MPH

7.8 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89.4 MPH

86.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Sonata Eco gets better fuel mileage than the Optima 2.4 4 cyl. (28 city/38 hwy vs. 23 city/34 hwy).

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



4 cyl./Auto

25 city/37 hwy

23 city/34 hwy

4 cyl. Sport/Limited/Auto

24 city/35 hwy


2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

23 city/32 hwy

20 city/31 hwy

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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



Front Rotors

12 inches

11.8 inches

The Sonata stops much shorter than the Optima:



70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Sonata Sport 2.0T’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R18).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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

The Sonata Sport 2.0T handles at .84 G’s, while the Optima EX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sonata Sport 2.0T executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Optima EX (27.5 seconds @ .7 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Passenger Space Comparison

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

The Sonata has 3.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Optima (106.1 vs. 102.2).

The Sonata has .4 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, .9 inches more rear legroom, 1.6 inches more rear hip room and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Optima.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Sonata has a larger trunk than the Optima (16.3 vs. 15.4 cubic feet).

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Sonata offers cargo security. The Optima’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Sonata. The Optima doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Sonata and the Optima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sonata is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Optima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Consumer Reports rated the Sonata’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Optima’s headlights, which were rated “Fair” to “Good” (depending on model and options).

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Sonata Limited/Sport 2.0T detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Optima doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the Sonata 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 Optima’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Sonata Limited/Sport 2.0T offers an optional Smart Cruise Control with Full Stop, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Optima doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations Comparison

The Hyundai Sonata outsold the Kia Optima by 40% during the 2014 model year.

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