2011 Kia
Optima SX
vs. 2012 Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE

2011 Kia Optima SX

9.9

Winner

Kia Optima SX

starting from

$26,950
"A large, clear display and intuitive layout."
edmunds.com | talking about the Optima's controls
"The cabin remains pleasantly quiet and calm."
edmunds.com | talking about the Optima's noise

Reasons to buy the Kia Optima SX

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Longer-lasting basic warranty
5 year
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Longer basic warranty
60,000 mile
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Turbocharged engine improves performance
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Very spacious front seats
60.2 ft3
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE

9.6

starting from

$29,765

Reasons to buy the Volkswagen Passat V6 SE

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Power windows
Standard
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Moon roof
Standard
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Spacious back seats
48.8 ft3
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Premium radio
Standard
Cost 10.0 vs 9.0
2011 Kia Optima SX Winner: Optima SX
[details]
  • Basic warranty lasts 2 more years, 5 year vs 3 year
  • Basic warranty lasts 24,000 more miles, 60,000 mile vs 36,000 mile
  • Gets 10% more miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg vs 20 mpg
Practicality 10.0 vs 9.0
2011 Kia Optima SX Winner: Optima SX
[details]
  • Passengers in front seats enjoy more than 10% more room, 60.2 ft3 vs 53.5 ft3
  • The Optima SX has 4 more cupholders, 8 vs 4
  • The Optima SX offers an optional navigation system; not available on the Passat V6 SE
Entertainment System 9.4 vs 10.0
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Winner: Passat V6 SE
[details]
  • Have your pick of music from around the world with the Passat V6 SE's satellite radio
Safety Features 10.0 vs 10.0
Too close to call
[details]
  • Child door locks come standard
Performance 10.0 vs 9.9
Too close to call
[details]
  • Both come standard with paddle shifters
  • Both offer a semi-automatic transmission, a nice perk for this class
  • Both provide sporty handling
Luxury Features 10.0 vs 10.0
Too close to call
[details]
  • Both have power seats
Road Tests - vs -
Missing information
[details]
Crash Test Ratings 10.0 vs -
Missing information
[details]
Overall 9.9 vs 9.6

Cost

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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MSRP $26,950 vs $29,765 Both are priced reasonably
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In-city gas mileage 22 mpg vs 20 mpg Both get OK mileage in the city
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basic warranty miles 60,000 mile vs 36,000 mile The Optima SX's basic warranty is fantastic, but the Passat V6 SE's warranty is very limited
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basic warranty years 5 year vs 3 year The Optima SX's basic warranty is fantastically long-lasting, but the Passat V6 SE's warranty is very limited

Practicality

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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Passengers 5 vs 5 Average number of seats
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Highway driving range 629 miles vs 518 miles Both can go pretty far on the highway on a single tank, however the Optima SX in particular gets exceptional range
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Cargo space 15.4 ft3 vs 15.9 ft3 Both have OK cargo room
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front seats 60.2 ft3 vs 53.5 ft3 The Optima SX has very spacious front seats, and the Passat V6 SE is OK
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folding rear seats Standard vs Standard Both have a rear seat that folds down for extra storage space
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power outlets Standard vs Standard Both have power outlets
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roof rails Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers roof rails
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navigation system Optional vs Not Available The Optima SX offers an optional navigation system; not available on the Passat V6 SE
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Cupholders 8 vs 4 The Optima SX has an absurd number of cupholders, 2 extra in front and 2 extra in rear
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front air conditioning Standard vs Standard A/C for hot summer days comes standard

Entertainment System

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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Number of speakers 6 vs 6 Fewer speakers
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Has speed sensitive volume No vs No Neither offers speed-sensitive volume
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CD player Standard vs Standard CD player comes standard
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premium radio Not Available vs Standard Have your pick of music from around the world with the Passat V6 SE's satellite radio
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Has auxiliary audio input Yes vs Yes Both have an audio-in jack so you can plug in your own MP3 player to the stereo
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Has subwoofer No vs No Neither has a subwoofer; audio won't have that deep thumping bass sound
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entertainment system Not Available vs Not Available Neither offers an entertainment system

Safety Features

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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antilock brakes Standard vs Standard Both come standard with ABS brakes
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Stability control system Yes vs Yes Both have electronic stability control
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Airbags 5 vs 5 OK number of airbags
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Rear brakes Disc vs Disc Both have the usual brakes for this class of vehicle
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child door locks Standard vs Standard Child door locks come standard
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Roadside assistance system None vs None

Performance

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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Horsepower 274 HP @ 6,000 RPM vs 280 HP @ 6,200 RPM Average power
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Number of gears 6 vs 6 Average number of gears
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Transmission Semi-automatic transmission vs Semi-automatic transmission Both offer a semi-automatic transmission, a nice perk for this class
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paddle shifters Standard vs Standard Both come standard with paddle shifters
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Air compressor Turbocharger vs None The Optima SX's Turbocharger lets it maximize power output, quite rare for this class of vehicle
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Power-to-weight ratio 12.4 lb/hp vs 12.3 lb/hp Both provide sporty handling
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Drivetrain type front-wheel drive vs front-wheel drive Neither has a good drivetrain for off-road or bad weather driving
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Curb-to-curb turning radius 35.8 ft vs 36.4 ft Both cars corner comparably to other vehicles in their class

Luxury Features

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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moon roof Not Available vs Standard Enjoy additional natural light with the Passat V6 SE's standard sun roof
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power seats Standard vs Standard Both have power seats
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keyless entry Standard vs Standard Both have keyless entry
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leather Standard vs Not Available Leather comes standard on the Optima SX; the Passat V6 SE only offers cloth seats

Road Tests

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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0-60 mph 7.4 seconds vs Unknown
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Braking distance at 60mph 125 ft vs Unknown
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1/4 mile 16.1 s @ 83 mph vs Unknown
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Lateral acceleration 0.78 g vs Unknown
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Top speed Unknown vs Unknown

Crash Test Ratings

Kia
Optima SX
2011 Kia Optima SX
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE Volkswagen
Passat V6 SE
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Rollover resistance 5 stars vs Unknown
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Front driver crash test 5 stars vs Unknown
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Driver side crash test 3 stars vs Unknown

Other Vehicles to Consider

2011 Kia Optima EX 2011 Nissan Maxima SV Optima EX vs Maxima SV
2011 Kia Optima EX 2011 BMW 328i Optima EX vs 328i
2011 Kia Optima EX 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 Optima EX vs Genesis 3.8
2011 Kia Optima SX 2011 Audi A4 Premium Optima SX vs A4 Premium
2011 Kia Optima SX 2011 Toyota Avalon Optima SX vs Avalon
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 2012 Audi A3 Premium Passat TDI SEL Premium vs A3 Premium
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 2011 Volkswagen Golf TDI Passat TDI SEL Premium vs Golf TDI
2012 Volkswagen Passat V6 SE 2011 Audi A4 Premium Passat V6 SE vs A4 Premium
2012 Volkswagen Passat 2.5L SE 2012 Volvo S60 T5 Passat 2.5L SE vs S60 T5
2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI SEL Premium 2011 BMW 335d Passat TDI SEL Premium vs 335d

Comments Which car would you recommend, and why?

Showing 1 comments

Chuckbabe (6:46 PM, December 26, 2011)
horsepower is quite misleading as the TDI has gobs of torque which makes the car go, horsepower is uneccessary when you have torque