I needed a fuel sipping midsize sedan or wagon to replace the future VW buyback of my TDI. I evaluated all the current offerings (including some compacts as well as hybrids) through marathon YouTube review viewings, reading tons of online reviews, and extensive test driving.
Although there are many really good cars in this segment (as compared to previous years), I whittled the list down to three cars: 2016 Kia Optima LX 1.6T, 2016 Hyundai Sonato Eco with the same 1.6T, and the 2017 Elantra Limited.
I chose the Optima for its fit and finish, looks, and driving dynamics. This is a wonderful car and if you are considering the Optima line, the 1.6T is a sweet spot for standard features and low cost. Price before tax, license, etc. was $22,250. Finance it even if you want to pay cash because they will probably offer you an additional $750 rebate. Total rebates for this purchase was $1,750.
I cannot seriously say anything bad about this car. Most of the professional reviews only offer nickel and dime downsides. It's as if they have to say something negative to be unbiased. I understand. But all the negative comments are either very minor OR they are dead wrong. I realize that everyone gets something different from the driving experience, but it seems to me that sometimes they are not driving the same car as I am.
Superior handling, luxury like ride, wonderful steering feel (despite what some reviewers note), and upscale quiet comfort inside. Add to it a tiny turbo that gives you 195 lbs of torque and 178 hp with a 7-speed DSG that rivals any Porshe or Audi tranny. All this PLUS unreal MPG (39.9 on my first trip) in the best looking (IMHO) midsize with a 16 cu ft trunk.
Anybody that does not test drive this particular model of the Kia Optima line is making a HUGE mistake. The least expensive option in ALL of the midsize competitors.
TAKE THE 1.6 LX TURBO.