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A Match-Up of Sedans: The 2020 Kia Optima Against the 2020 Honda Accord

A white 2020 Kia Optima is driving under a bridge.

The sedan fits within a section of the auto world that essentially meant to satisfy those who are in need of something compact yet comfortable, high-tech, and yet practical. There are many sedan models scattered across automaker collections, and they all vary in terms of performance, features, and overall comfort. Amongst the wide selection of different sedans in the auto industry, two models stand out ahead of the rest, the 2020 Kia Optima and the 2020 Honda Accord. Both of these sedans hope to accomplish similar things and offer similar promises; however, one ought to be considered the superior purchase. To help you figure out which sedan will do a better job of living up to your potential expectations, we’ve put together this extensive comparison on price, performance, comfort, and safety.

A Great Ride for a Great Cost

When comparing the 2020 Honda Accord and the 2020 Kia Optima, we should be sure to look at one of the most influential factors that can make or break a driver’s overall experience, price. And when it comes to price, it is the Kia Optima that wins out over the Honda brand competitor. The Kia Optima has a starting price of $23,390 MSRP and offers six different trim options to choose from the LX, S, Special Edition, EX, EX Premium, and SX. Meanwhile, the Honda Accord starts at a far higher rate, with base models going for as low as $24,020 MSRP. In the Honda Accord, you’ll also get six trims to choose from, including the LX, Hybrid, Sport, EX, EX-L, and Touring.

While the price tag plays a massive role in overall driver satisfaction, it isn’t the only thing to keep in mind when comparing these two vehicles. The cost and trim options are only the first impression in the longer process of getting to know each of these vehicles on a detailed level.

A Matchup of Performance

A couple is walking towards a red 2020 Honda Accord that is parked on a city street after losing the 2020 Kia Optima vs 2020 Honda Accord comparison.

The mid-sized sedan body style is built on the premise of providing a performance that is snappy and responsive. While some models may sport robust six-cylinder options, the overwhelming majority of these types of vehicles tend to sport four-cylinder engines that sometimes provide more powerful turbocharged variants.

The base model of the Kia Optima, for instance, manages to sort power through the use of a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine that makes 185 hp using a front-wheel drivetrain. A 6-speed automatic transmission is paired to this engine, and it does a pretty alright job at shifting power in a rather nimble fashion. That said, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission takes performance to the next level making for a remarkably springy time on the road. There are two turbocharged four-cylinder variants in the Kia Optima. The engine builds found in the Optima EX, and EX Premium is rated for 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. And meanwhile, the Optima SX manages to provide 245 hp overall. And as is the trend for many vehicles within this category, the Kia Optima comes with a hybrid powertrain.

That said, there are two different hybrid powertrains to take advantage of, one that is a traditional hybrid set up, and one that is a more modern plug-in hybrid. The initial hybrid model uses a 2.0-liter inline-4 engine and a 1.6-kWh battery pack to make a total of 192 hp. On the other hand, the plug-in hybrid powertrain uses a 9.8-kWh battery pack to provide 202 hp with the help of that 2.0-inline-4 engine. And when it comes to fuel economy, the Kia Optima is pretty well rounded, with base models earning 24 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway. And if you step behind the wheel of the hybrid model, you’ll find a significant boost to fuel economy as both the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid provide over 40 MPG combined.

On the flip side, the Honda Accord seeks its initial power from a 1.5-liter turbo-4 engine, which provides a decent 192 hp and 192 lb-ft worth of torque. Although, the standard CVT does bring the bar down a bit in comparison to the other automatic transmissions found in competitor models. A substantial upgrade is available for the Honda Accord, though, as you can upgrade to take full advantage of a 2.0-liter turbo-4. This engine is capable of outputting 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque and uses a much more efficient 10-speed automatic transmission to get the job done.

When it comes to hybrid powertrains, there is only one option to choose from, and it uses a 2.0-liter inline-4 as well as an electric generator and batteries to provide a total of 212 hp. This hybrid powertrain also significantly boosts fuel economy bumping base model numbers up to 48 MPG combined. Meanwhile, base models manage to earn an EPA-rated 33 MPG combined.

So, while both of these sedans provide some pretty robust powertrain options, the Kia Optima may have better overall value. While the Honda Accord’s base engine is a bit more powerful than what can be found in the Kia Optima, the lackluster standard transmission and fewer upgrades provide some weighty influence. Plus, there are more options with Kia, including a plug-in hybrid model, allowing for greater customization.

What the Interior Has to Offer

A red and black interior of a 2020 Kia Optima SX is shown from the side.

Inside the Kia Optima, drivers and passengers will find a quaint and comfortable cabin complete with soft-touch plastics, cloth, and 35.6 inches of legroom for rear-seat passengers. The interior materials of the Kia Optima can be upgraded as genuine leather can be found in higher-up trim levels. The base model of the Kia Optima sports an 8-inch infotainment screen that is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, which elevates your overall infotainment experience. Upgraded models of the Kia Optima add-in some bonus features, including a panoramic moonroof, heated and cooled front seats, and a premium audio system designed by Harman Kardon.

While the Honda Accord also has great interior features, it does not stand up to those offered in the Kia Optima. For example, the baseline infotainment system is lacking a bit, measuring in at only 7-inches and offering no smartphone connectivity. Higher trims add more to the deal, though, as some models offer premium features like heated front seats, that beloved Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and even a wireless smartphone charger.

When it comes to safety features, neither of these vehicles will do you wrong. The Kia Optima comes standard with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control, all of which make for a truly high-tech driving experience. Meanwhile, base models of the Honda Accord come standard with a similar spread of features, including automatic emergency braking, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition.

Which is the Better Sedan?

When you get right down to it, both of these sedans make for a pretty remarkable, and high-tech ride. Although, it is the Honda Accord that falls a little short in multiple departments. The lackluster powertrain, lack of smartphone connectivity, and the single hybrid option all put the Honda Accord a margin behind the Kia Optima, but not by much. If you’re looking to purchase a brand new sedan, and are still on the fence about which model to go with, we recommend that you check both of these vehicles out as either one can provide a truly satisfying driving experience; however, the Kia is likely to win your heart.

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