2017 Kia Optima vs Honda Civic

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The Honda Civic has a reputation that spans decades, perhaps far better known than the Kia Optima. But just because it’s well-known doesn’t mean it’s better. So let’s have the Optima come out of the shadows and sit alongside the Civic for a thorough look-over. In the light of day, we’ll see which car is better.

2017 Kia Optima vs Honda Civic

Interior Comfort & Style

The 2017 Kia Optima and Honda Civic both seat five. But the Optima has more head and leg room for drivers and front and back seat passengers. The Optima also has more cargo capacity in the trunk. In fact, at 15.9 cubic feet, the trunk is quite large for a midsize sedan. The interior feels genuinely classy, especially the upper trims. Everything, even the plastics, looks and feels high quality. The standard cloth or optional leather seats are comfortable and the back layout is adjustable with fold-down seats.

The Honda Civic can’t seem to decide whether to be a compact car or a midsize sedan. It’s roomy for a compact car but cramped both in the cabin and the trunk compared to the Optima. The interior’s soft plastics are a nice touch and the Civic offers several convenient features for drivers and passengers, like steering-wheel mounted audio controls, tilting and telescoping steering column, and automatic climate control.


You won’t find much better than the interior technology of the 2017 Kia Optima. It boasts the UVO infotainment system with 5-, 7-, or 8-inch touchscreen. The standard trim comes with satellite radio, six-speaker system, Bluetooth, USB port, rearview camera, Drive Mode Select, and remote keyless entry. Add-ons include heated outside mirrors, an auto-open trunk, push-button start, navigation system, Dynamic Bending Light headlights, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a sunroof, a 10-speaker system, and a host of optional safety features.

The Civic can’t really compete in this category. Its infotainment system lacks the intuitiveness and responsiveness of the UVO system. Honda drivers will want to upgrade to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so they can use their smartphone interface instead–which equals more cost. The Civic has Bluetooth and two USB ports standard. And, like the Optima, the Civic has plenty of optional safety features but the forward collision warning system has been known to be overly sensitive.

Fuel Economy

Perhaps because of its size, the Kia Optima doesn’t quite match the Civic’s outstanding good fuel economy. However, that said, the Optima still averages 28/37 miles per gallon. In terms of performance, the Optima does well on the road, with acceleration and handling near the top of its class.

The 2017 Honda Civic also does well in power and torque, all while giving you 31/42 miles per gallon. Some buyers won’t like the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), which performs fine but isn’t as responsive as the manual option.


The Optima and Civic are both safe cars, but the Optima truly excels in this category. The 2017 Kia Optima excelled in any crash safety test thrown at it. That resulted in top honors from the IIHS, the 2017 Top Safety Pick+. The standard safety features are impressive and the Premium Plus or Technology package gives you all the extras you could imagine.

The Honda Civic is a reliably safe car in its own right and only pales in comparison to the Optima’s excellence. The Honda Civic earned five-star scores in two safety tests, as well as a IIHS Top Safety Pick. The Civic has several optional safety features available as well.

Learn More about the Kia Optima

Now that it’s stepped out of the shadows, the 2017 Kia Optima wins the day in every category but fuel economy, partly due to the Civic’s smaller size. With the Optima’s roomy cabin, technology features, safety awards, and perfect crash test scores, the Optima easily outpaces the Honda Civic. We highly recommend the Optima.