2018 Kia Optima vs Honda Accord

With the 2018 Kia Optima and the Honda Accord, we are batting at the top of the innings in the midsize sedan segment. The Accord has been the mainstay of the segment for about as long as any of us can remember, and the Optima was almost single-handedly responsible for transforming Kia in 2011 into the brand we know today. So, let’s put them up against each other to see which is best.

2018 Kia Optima vs Honda Accord

How Do They Look? Kia Optima

Updating the look of a car as universally praised for its styling as the Optima was is a tall order, but Kia has done enough with this generation to keep it fresh while still honoring what was so good about its predecessor. The 2018 Optima is a sedan that’s stylish, sporty, and classy–and gives luxury models a run for their money too.

The Accord name may be a historic name in the car industry, but nothing about the way this all-new version looks is in any way dated. The car’s frumpy past has been consigned to history, and the all-new Accord is now all angles and aerodynamic edges. Sitting lower in the front than the back, the Accord has an interesting look from the side. But the front end is all space-age lines and set-back grilles, a massive difference from what you may have come to know from Honda. While we applaud the courage, the effect can be off-putting.

Which Vehicle Runs the Table on Safety? Honda Accord

The Optima is not a case study in style over substance, as the Kia is a safe as it is attractive. The IIHS has given the 2018 model a Top Safety Pick rating, and the Optima aced the federal tests of the NHTSA with five-stars all round, including the overall rating. It’s hardly surprising though, as all 2018 versions now come standard with a rearview camera, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic assist, and rear parking assistance.

Honda is almost a byword for vehicle safety, and the latest Accord was never going to let buyers down in this important area. The IIHS has already named the 2018 Accord a Top Safety Pick, but the NHTSA hasn’t yet rated the 2018 version of the Accord (but it’s hard to imagine it getting anything less than five stars when it does). All Accords come standard with the Honda Sensing system, which offers at least five active safety systems to help protect you on the road.

How Do They Drive? Kia Optima

Kia appears to have concentrated on ride quality and competent handling over outright performance with the Optima, which is the right decision considering where it sits in the market. A 2.4-liter inline-four is the standard engine, which develops 185 horsepower and uses direct injection to maximize fuel economy. You can also opt for an 1.6-liter turbo-four, which puts further emphasis on frugality, but the most power available comes from the 245 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-four in SX models.

Most Accords manage to squeeze an impressive 192 horsepower out of a 1.5-liter turbo-four, which can be equipped with either a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission. The detuned version of the Civic Type R’s four-cylinder engine is also available with 252 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. While the Accords may have a bit more power on the Kia, we don’t like the CVT transmission, which tends to suck the life out of the engines. Kias offer an auto dual-clutch transmission, which keeps up with the engine by shifting quickly and seamlessly. These two are on par with performance, but we like the more traditional option in the Kia.

How Do They Ride? Kia Optima

If you’re in any doubt about Kia’s upscale move, just take a look inside the Optima. Even in base models, the fit and finish is excellent and the cabin is spacious and well-appointed. You’ll find more head room in the second row and more hip room throughout in the Optima, which adds to the spacious feel. The interior of the Optima is also very quiet, thanks to improved sound deadening, and the front seats are particularly generous and comfortable.

In the rear of the Honda there’s more leg room than there is in the Kia, but the Optima has more room up front. In nearly every other way the interiors are wildly similar–perhaps an indication of a very competitive sedan segment. Active noise cancellation is now a standard feature in all Accords, and even includes a third microphone placed in the back of the car to cancel out unwanted noise coming from the road or engine. Kia has tossed in a few standard features, like heated side mirrors and satellite radio, on the base model that the Honda doesn’t offer.

Learn More about the Kia Optima

These two midsize sedans are at the top of their games, and anyone shopping in this segment would be more than happy with either one. But let’s take a look at the value for the money. The Kia Optima comes in at nearly $1000 less at the MSRP and offers a warranty that’s nearly double that of the Honda. You may be happy with either one, but the Kia Optima wins us over with better styling, overall performance, and a far better bottom line.