Choosing between the 2021 Hyundai Sonata and the 2020 Kia Optima isn’t necessarily going to be easy. However, after we help you take a closer look at each of these midsize sedans, you should have a much better idea of which model can better serve you on the road.
The entry-level 2021 Hyundai Sonata ($23,950) starts at approximately the same rate as the 2020 Kia Optima ($23,390). The same goes for the top-trim Sonata ($33,950) versus the top-trim Optima ($32,190). The Optima is slightly less expensive, just not enough to make a very big dent in your potential monthly payment.
Shoppers should note that the Kia Optima was officially retired for the 2020 model year, though you should still be able to find this model at Kia dealerships. The new K5 sedan replaced the Optima for the 2021 model year.
With its new Sonata N Line, the Kia Optima can’t keep up with the Hyundai Sonata. This Sonata trim model features an all-new turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (290 horsepower, 311 pound-feet of torque), which is incredibly fast.
The Sonata’s base engine, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (191 hp, 181 lb-ft), isn’t too shabby, either. With the Sonata SEL Plus model and up, you’ll engine a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine (180 hp, 195 lb-ft) that blends fuel economy with proficient power.
There are also three engines available for the 2020 Optima. The base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (185 hp, 178 lb-ft). The Optima EX trim model gets its own unique engine, a 1.6-liter turbo four (178 hp, 195 lb-ft). Finally, the top-tier SX features a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder (245 hp, 260 lb-ft). As you can see, none of the Optima options really beat their Sonata counterparts.
In addition to supplying a more powerful ride, the 2021 Sonata also gives you a potential edge in terms of fuel economy. With the standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, the Sonata earns its highest EPA ratings, 32 mpg combined (28 city/38 highway).
To achieve the Kia Optima’s highest EPA ratings, you must pay extra for the optional 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. With it, the Optima promises 31 mpg combined (27/37 mpg).
With a parent company in common, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata and 2020 Kia Optima also have many of the same features. That’s especially apparent when you look at these models’ tech lineups. Both come standard with an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment interface and robust smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both models include safety aids designed to help you avoid an accident, such as forward collision mitigation and lane keeping assist.
These models’ main differences can be found under their hoods, with the 2021 Hyundai Sonata delivering both more power and a potentially thriftier ride. Choose the Sonata for the best possible daily driver!