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Would you buy a 2020 Optima SX today?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I am strongly considering purchasing a 2020 SX 2.0 turbo. The one (and only) thing keeping me from pulling the trigger is the copious amount of negative information surrounding the engine issues of the Theta II motors (bearing failures, knock sensor detection issues, carbon build up, etc). Mostly concerned about the big one...premature bearing failure. It seems most of the issues were with respect to older models pre 2016, but this could quite easily be attriuted to the lack of milage on the newer vehicles.

With that being said, rebates are strong right now ($4000) and my local dealer is wanting to move these models and I am in a good bargaining position. My question to you all is if you would purchase a 2020 Optima knowing what you know now.

Thanks so much for your help and information.
 

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2011 Kia Optima
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3,387 Posts
Hey if they have a multitude of engine problems, they'll give a lifetime warranty on the engine, so what's to loose? The only problem I see with Kia/Hyundai is the very quick depreciation, so if one likes the car, go for it as it comes with the 10/100k warranty.

I haven't puchased many new cars since retirement, actually only purchased the '08 Optima new, cheap $15,400, a real workhorse, and the '11 2.0T used, 3 years ago $8,000 ($33k list). I knew of the engine problem, jumped on the deal and got an engine replacement in December '19. At least Kia stands behind their product..........after some government intervention.
 

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I had a 2013 hybrid and didn't have any problems until 7 years later. I suspect that the battery was slowly degrading. I ended up buying a 2019 SX. The engine issues, as far as I know, were confined to the 279 HP engine found in the Optima until 2015. The 2016+ engine was re-engineered and although it makes less power than the older engine, it is definitely adequate. Carbon buildup will be present in almost all direct injected motors regardless of manufacturer. It's the nature of direct injected (only) engines. I work in the car industry and I do recommend that you shorten up the oil change interval and consider running a sightly heavier weight oil (5W-40) since a turbo engine tends to dirty up the oil faster and have increased blow-by. I have about 9k on my car and I don't foresee any issues with this motor. And like turbonut said, the powertrain warranty is good and the vehicle doesn't hold it's value compared to something like an Accord.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had a 2013 hybrid and didn't have any problems until 7 years later. I suspect that the battery was slowly degrading. I ended up buying a 2019 SX. The engine issues, as far as I know, were confined to the 279 HP engine found in the Optima until 2015. The 2016+ engine was re-engineered and although it makes less power than the older engine, it is definitely adequate. Carbon buildup will be present in almost all direct injected motors regardless of manufacturer. It's the nature of direct injected (only) engines. I work in the car industry and I do recommend that you shorten up the oil change interval and consider running a sightly heavier weight oil (5W-40) since a turbo engine tends to dirty up the oil faster and have increased blow-by. I have about 9k on my car and I don't foresee any issues with this motor. And like turbonut said, the powertrain warranty is good and the vehicle doesn't hold it's value compared to something like an Accord.
Are you putting premium 93 octane gas in your new 2019 SX? Thanks for your input!
 

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Are you putting premium 93 octane gas in your new 2019 SX? Thanks for your input!
Yes. I want ALL of the available power ALL the time....hahahha! Also, using premium lowers the risk of knock and pinging. I believe the manual recommends at least 91 octane...
 

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2018 Kia Optima
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Unless the recommendation has changed for 2019+, I think you may have your octane numbers mixed up; the following is from the 2018 Owner's Manual:

Your new vehicle is designed to use
only unleaded fuel having a pump
octane number ((R+M)/2) of 87
(Research Octane Number 91) or
higher. (Do not use methanol blended
fuels.)

Maybe that's where you got the "91" figure from? I'm not saying that there's no benefit to pumping higher octane fuel in our Optimas, just that there nothing in the manual that says that it's "recommended" to do so.
 

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Pretty happy with my 2016 SX I bought new in 2015. No engine issues at 60K. Like Turbonut said, Kia stands behind the warranty. Personally, I'd wait for the Otima GT, as its rumored to have 290 HP, but if you can get a great deal on a 2020, I'd say go for it. Engine is tuned to run fine on 87 octane with out pinging. Tried premium with little difference in performance.
 

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Tonester, you are right. :) In Europe, they only use RON and the rating of 91 RON is equivalent to the PON octane method used in the states of 87. I have noticed when using an Ultragauge, using higher octane fuel results in lower knock count, which in turn allows the ECM to advance timing as much as possible. I like to note that if your knock count gets above a certain threshold you will notice that the ECM will pull ignition timing and is more prevalent at higher ambient temps (retarding the ignition timing). Also, the general condition of your engine (carbon buildup in combustion chamber, spark plug and ignition coil condition, etc) will also be a factor in the overall power output available.

I choose to use the higher octane fuel so that the fuel isn't going to be one of the contributing factors to ignition timing being retarded. Please note that the ECM is always monitoring the combustion cycle and making adjustments given the information given back from the various engine sensors.
 

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2014 Kia Optima
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Had my 14 SXL since Feb 14. No mechanical issues. Only in the shop for driver heated seat element, leaking turbo oil line, engine sound test and to update ecm with new software for knock detection. Had since new with 4 miles on it. I do all my own maintenance and drove it hard up until May 2019 when I bought a Tahoe to move the family around. It has 53k miles on it and sits in my garage as a spare car. I refuse to trade it for what they are going to give me. The car is mint. No dings dents or scratches. I get it out once a week and put 50 miles on it. Saving it for my son who will drive soon. Just nice having a spare car to rely on.


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2018 Kia Optima
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LOL speaking of sitting in the garage--my Optima has practically not moved out of my garage since California went into shelter-in-place mode back in mid-March. I'll fire it up every now and then just to make sure she's still alive but other than that I haven't put any miles on her since then.
 

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Yes, get a good dealer and you may very well have the best car on the market. First time Kia owner here (optima 2018 ex) and for the last one half years been very happy.
 
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