2018 Kia Optima Vs. 2018 Lexus ES

2018 kia optima in white split screen with 2018 lexus es 350 in dark gray

While crossovers have grown in popularity, sedans will always hold a special place in the American automotive landscape. After all, sedans are still the least compromising vehicles – offering comfort, convenience and versatility in a stylish and efficient body style. They also command a certain level of respect that crossovers haven’t quite managed to tap into yet. The timeless design of a sedan echoes quiet sophistication.

For entry-luxury sedans, this elegance is a central focus. These cars place a central focus on style, comfort and convenience. They offer a striking exterior, decadent interior and enough under the hood performance to allow smooth, unbothered passing at highway speeds. Today, we’re comparing the upper trim Kia Optima to the Lexus ES. Pay close attention to features included, comfort and performance to see who is the top entry luxury contender.

2018 Kia Optima SX


2018 Lexus ES 350

260 lb-ft. (@ 1,350 rpm) Torque (higher is better) 248 lb-ft. (@ 4,700 rpm)
22/31 EPA-estimated MPG (cty/hwy) 21/30
Leather Seat material Plastic (leatherette)
Yes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility No – not available
18” machined alloy Standard wheels 17” alloy
5 years/60,000 miles Bumper-to-bumper warranty 4 years/48,000 miles
$30,600 MSRP $36,485

Kia Optima Advantages Vs. Lexus ES

Quality and convenience play heavily into the 2018 Kia Optima SX’s status as an entry-luxury sedan. While Lexus stands as the upscale badge from Japanese competitor, Toyota, Kia prefers to elevate their robust and reliable Optima to luxury status with a host of features, head-turning composed style and heavy performance.

For drivers, this means they pay less while being able to have many of the first-class features that define the entry-luxury class. These features include leather seats (foregone for plastic in the 2018 Lexus ES 350), standard heated and cooled memory seats (cooled seats and memory only available in the 2018 ES 350) and incredible 260 lb-ft. of torque that kicks in at a lower RPM for confident passing.

With its ambitious performance, focus on driver comfort and ease and compelling Euro-inspired style, the 2018 Kia Optima stands head and shoulders above its own class and rises to meet the far more expensive ES 350, often lapping it for features and specs.

With comparable standard active safety features, the 2018 Kia Optima SX provides safety and security in more ways than just automated braking or blind spot detection, the 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty delivers class-leading peace of mind. At over $5,000 less expensive, you’ll find the Kia Optima SX delivers more for less.