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I'm trying to decide to buy an Optima SX or a Sonata SE or Limited. Drove the Sonata SE w/turbo and the ride seems rough, but the limited is a little smoother. Was wondering if any of you who purchased the Sonata SE or Limited and compared it to an optima sx before your purchase, and if so why you went with the Sonata?
I have likes and dislikes with both, but think the Sonata's design is pretty neat. But when I drove the Optima, felt that it was a little more glued together and more solid than the Sonata. Maybe that was my imagination, and I need to drive them both again back to back for a better comparison.
Any thoughts appreciated on ride or quality differences or anything else for that matter!.
Thanks! (love the forum...lots of good info).​
 

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I recently purchased a Sonata Limited 2.0T a couple weeks ago. I was also looking at the Optima SX as well.

My thoughts.. while the Optima was a little "tighter" steering (more like a Sonata SE) than the Limited, I overall liked the smoother ride of the Limited and more refined styling.

I also thought the Sonata Limited was roomier (plus it has a bigger trunk than the Kia) and the seats were more comfortable in the Sonata Limited (especially the back seat).

As for more "glued together", take a test drive comparing the Sonata SE turbo vs. the Limited.. I think you will find a similar ride difference between the 2 as you do the kia.

I do both short in-town driving, and then also 4-5 hour drives to see family, so the smoother ride makes a difference on those long drives where it wouldn't matter as much for the short drives.

I also like the Infinity sound system in the Limited 2.0 w/Nav which the Kia doesn't have if I remember correctly. For some people their ears won't hear the difference or they don't care, but for me it matters.

Hope that helps.
 

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I recently purchased a Sonata Limited 2.0T a couple weeks ago. I was also looking at the Optima SX as well.

My thoughts.. while the Optima was a little "tighter" steering (more like a Sonata SE) than the Limited, I overall liked the smoother ride of the Limited and more refined styling.

I also thought the Sonata Limited was roomier (plus it has a bigger trunk than the Kia) and the seats were more comfortable in the Sonata Limited (especially the back seat).

As for more "glued together", take a test drive comparing the Sonata SE turbo vs. the Limited.. I think you will find a similar ride difference between the 2 as you do the kia.

I do both short in-town driving, and then also 4-5 hour drives to see family, so the smoother ride makes a difference on those long drives where it wouldn't matter as much for the short drives.

I also like the Infinity sound system in the Limited 2.0 w/Nav which the Kia doesn't have if I remember correctly. For some people their ears won't hear the difference or they don't care, but for me it matters.

Hope that helps.
Thanks Trexx:
I did drive a Limited and found the ride much better than the SE. The SE was just too rough.
I'm going back this saturday to drive the optima SX and compare that to the Sonata Limited. The Optima SX does have the Infinity sound system and prices a little less than a comparable equipped Sonata limited turbo. But the design of the Sonata is what I like best.
Have you experienced any rattles/squeaks with the limited.?
 

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Thanks Trexx:
I did drive a Limited and found the ride much better than the SE. The SE was just too rough.
I'm going back this saturday to drive the optima SX and compare that to the Sonata Limited. The Optima SX does have the Infinity sound system and prices a little less than a comparable equipped Sonata limited turbo. But the design of the Sonata is what I like best.
Have you experienced any rattles/squeaks with the limited.?
I liked the ride of the Limited as well compared to the SE.

When I was looking at the Kia, it was about the same price to a little higher... so depends on the dealership I am sure.

You might also be able to get a better deal on pricing through some of the Wareshouse clubs like Costco, or Credit Cards such as Amex.

That helped trim some more of my price tag, so if you have either you might want to ask the dealership if they participate.

As for rattles/squeaks, I haven't noticed any, so you might try driving a different Limited Turbo to see if what you were hearing was just that particular car.

Also thought the Kia felt a little cramped in terms of arms/etc. compared to Limited when driving.
 

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One of my best friends has a 2011 Optima SX.

Another buddy has a 2011 Sonata SE.

If you live in a hot climate, I would go for the Optima just to get the air cooled seats.

Other than that, I like the styling of the Sonata better.
 

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Just test drove two Optimas this morning, comparing to Sonata. Here is my take.

First Dealer
Was greeted by a skinny young salesman guy with a pencil mustache and slicked back hair with Cheech-Marin-sounding "whatsup Boss?!" (Uh, I thought, how about "good morning sir?") It went downhill from there. They didn't have either an EX w/Nav or an SX turbo available for test drive.

I had a weird experience at this dealer. Got the distinct impression that they are geared toward a younger, ethnic demographic. There was nothing refined or even mid-scale about the dealership or the furnishings. Said they were "all out" of brochures for the Optima and that I should just go on the "internet". In short, got the feeling this place was run on a shoestring and staffed with inexperienced and unknowledgeable personnel. I was left with a very poor impression of the dealer and the brand.

Second Dealer
From the parking lot of the first dealer I phoned up a second dealer and asked for Internet Sales. Got a gal, told her what I wanted to test drive, confirmed they had it, and headed over.

Drove an Optima EX w/Nav. Was fairly impressed, though I can't say it drove or handled any differently than the Sonata, for me. The air conditioned seats are interesting, but not a "must have". In fact, felt a bit strange having my back cooled while the rest of me was "normal". But we have three months per year of 100+ degree heat in Austin, so it might feel different and luxurious in that type of heat.

Next, drove an SX turbo. Wow. The black pano-top over White looks nice. When I hit the freeway onramp at about 40 and goosed it, she jumped right up to 80mph in short order, though the steering it different than what I'm use to as a 18+ year pickup and minivan driver . Played with the paddle shifters a bit. Cool, but again, not a "must have" for me. I don't see the point. I'm 49. The seats in the SX felt better than any I've sat in. They were really, really comfortable and attractive.

The Optimas themselves were pretty impressive. The SX was a car I could see myself driving and enjoying for many years, as well as an EX if I don't want to splurge. I drive clients in my vehicles and I think they would be favorable impressed with these cars too.

But the second dealer assigned me a young salesman who has worked there 6 weeks and is a high school graduate still with acne. The interior of this dealership was sketchy as well (little round tables everywhere with red tableclothes). As we cruised, I asked Opie what sort of training he was provided, and he said "none, they just tell us to get to kow the cars and go sell them". OK.

The only Hyundai dealer I've been into in Austin isn't as nice/plush as our Honda dealer, but there was not anything questionable about it. It seemed ok. In other words, I felt I was in a "real" dealership, and my sales-gal has been selling Hyundais there for 6 years. She seems pretty sharp, and even explained to me the trade-off of going to Nav and losing some of the Evo features. When I asked the Optima kid about that, he hadn't a clue.

Our Honda salesman where we purchased our 2007 Odyssey has been there 14 years. I just saw him the other day when I was in for service. And there are a bunch of other salesmen who've been at that Honda dealer 15-20+ years. The service center is so nice that I don't mind paying extra to have the van serviced there regularly. Free coffee, WiFi, private "quiet area" cubes where I bring my laptop and get work done. Free snacks, newspapers, flat screen TVs. It's really a nice place to hang out. Everything is A+ deluxe and I feel like I'm surrounded by quality people. So that's what I'm used to.

I wouldn't trust either of those Kia dealers I visited to work on my lawn mower, much less my car. So, I think I'm going to have to rule out Kia moving forward, unless I can find a local, established multi-brand dealer who is running a serious operation with experienced, veteran industry staff.

I wasn't expecting to discover that I'm a "snob" when it comes to dealership quality, but I can't help letting the dealer experience infect my impression of the brand and the Optima itself. I think Kia has some growing up to do, and some maturing in the area of customer service. Hyundai seems way further along and I think I could more easily truest a Hyundai dealer.

So, for what it's worth, that was my take-away from my Sonata vs. Optima outing today. I wonder if this "quality gap" in the dealerships is universal or just in my city?

Steve
Austin TX
 

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Steve, how does the steering and handling quality differ from the Optima/Sonata vs. the Honda's you've driven.
I ask because I came from a BMW 3 series (335i) to a Sonata Limited. the difference is incredible. BMW was tight and felt the road. But it was a little tight in comfort and was a gas hog.
My 12 Sonata Limited with 17" wheels has very light steering with no road feel. On my 30 minute commute on the highway, with two hands on the steering wheel, it will not stay straight. Have to keep making minor corrections and this gets pretty tiring. But, I'm getting 26 miles to the gallon and it is pretty darn comfortable.
 

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Steve, how does the steering and handling quality differ from the Optima/Sonata vs. the Honda's you've driven.
I ask because I came from a BMW 3 series (335i) to a Sonata Limited. the difference is incredible. BMW was tight and felt the road. But it was a little tight in comfort and was a gas hog.
My 12 Sonata Limited with 17" wheels has very light steering with no road feel. On my 30 minute commute on the highway, with two hands on the steering wheel, it will not stay straight. Have to keep making minor corrections and this gets pretty tiring. But, I'm getting 26 miles to the gallon and it is pretty darn comfortable.
The Optima SX definitely has the best "road feel" for me compared to non-SX Optima and the Sonata.. But I was romping on it a lot with the turbo, and there was some torch on acceleration.

The Honda we have is an '07 Odessey and my daily driver is an '08 Silverado Texas Edition w/20 inch wheels. So, the Sonata and the Optima EX both "feel" a lot different on the road than what I'm use to, but my test drives were not of long enough duration to notice the "drift" that you're describing. That will bug me if it happens. On long drives, I rest my elbow in my Silverado and can basically hold stead with very little effort with my fingers at the bottom of the wheel.

I've decided on a Sonata Limited w/Nav. I sent out Quote Requests to a bunch of dealers. We'll see what the proposals look like. If it turns out to not be my cup of tea I'll let my wife have it and reevaluate my personal needs, but I'm hoping I truly love driving and owning a Sonata.

Steve
 

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I'm trying to decide to buy an Optima SX or a Sonata SE or Limited. Drove the Sonata SE w/turbo and the ride seems rough, but the limited is a little smoother. Was wondering if any of you who purchased the Sonata SE or Limited and compared it to an optima sx before your purchase, and if so why you went with the Sonata?
I have likes and dislikes with both, but think the Sonata's design is pretty neat. But when I drove the Optima, felt that it was a little more glued together and more solid than the Sonata. Maybe that was my imagination, and I need to drive them both again back to back for a better comparison.
Any thoughts appreciated on ride or quality differences or anything else for that matter!.
Thanks! (love the forum...lots of good info).
Naturally the Turbo has a stiffer ride; its a perfoormance model.
The current month Car & Driver mag has a comparision between both as well as other in same class. The Sonata performs a trifle better but C&D prefered the Optima cabin. Read 'the article, try them botth , and buy the one you like best.
I can only offer that my 2.4 gets 28 mpg around town and 32 on interstate, pretty good for a 5 passenger salloon. Check the dealer's offers as well by comparision.

Does well on track in driving rain too, see "sonata singing in the rain at vir" on you tube.
 

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IMO the Optima has better options - front cooled/heated seats, rear heated seats, heated steering wheel, rear vents, HIDs, LED tail lights, UVO, paddle shifters, bigger brakes (sx and turbo), panoramic sun roof, backup cam, and a few others.

a bit old but a comparison none the less.

2011 Hyundai Sonata vs. 2011 Kia Optima Comparison Test
 

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I haven't had the chance to try the Sonata turbo yet, but judging by what i've seen my base model do and what you all are sayin here, i'm thinkin the time to trade up might be real soon.
 

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FWIW I did purchase the Sonata Limited w/Nav. Drove from Austin to Dallas the 2nd day I owned it, achieving 35.8 mpg even after a rough 1 hr start through city start/stop rush-hour out getting out of town.

Steve
 
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