2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0 vs. 2018 Kia Optima SXL Turbo

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Sedans are losing ground to the almighty crossover. This is not deterring some manufacturers from putting their best foot forward especially in the still popular midsize class.

The Honda Accord is your go-to option, along with our favorite, the newest Toyota Camry. Despite being high on everyone’s shopping list, it’s not doing as well as it should. There are a few reasons for this and one is the competition. The Koreans, it seems, always have an option, and in this case, it’s the quite impressive Kia Optima.

For the purpose of this brief comparison test, we pitted the 2018 Honda Accord Touring 2.0 which is the top-line trim to the 2018 Kia Optima SXL Turbo, it too sitting at the top of the pyramid. The number of levels on which these two cars are evenly matched is incredible – this is in fact probably the tightest head-to-head we’ve ever done.

Here goes: The Accord retails for $38,890, the Kia, $38,745. Both have a turbocharged 2.0-littre cylinder engine. The Honda’s produces 252-horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the Kia, 245 and 260 respectively. The Accord sports a 10-speed automatic, the Optima, a 6-speed. Equipment-wise, both have a configurable instrument cluster, a large screen, loads of infotainment and connectivity features, leather, good audio. Heated and cooled seats and on and on. There are numerous safety features in the two cars but there are a difference.

The main ones between the two relate to the fact that the Accord is far more recent than the Optima. The Honda has more active safety equipment as well as head’s up display.

The Honda is more contemporarily design, both inside and out, and it shows. Where the Japanese car was once bland and vanilla and the opposite applied to the Korean, the roles have reversed.

Kia however has learned many a thing over the last decade or so and has managed to match, and best, Honda’s once characteristic driving dynamics. To begin with, although down on power and gears, the Optima felt quicker and more responsive. And then, there’s the driving experience. The Accord’s adaptive dampers give the Honda an edge but the Optima’s sport-tuned suspension is actually quite good.

The tested 2018 Accord did suffer from a few odd bugs like a dash rattle while the 2018 Optima was essentially perfect. The latter is true of almost all new Korean products. From personal experience, I can tell you that a Hyundai or Kia feels immensely tight and solid at first but this is but an impression as quality tends to drop rapidly into the 3rd and 4th year of ownership. This should never be the case with the Honda.

In the end however, the price is what really sells the car. Honda’s finally seen the light and currently has some decent incentives on leasing and financing. They are actually as aggressive as Kia for both types of plans – this might be a first ever.

While we really like the Kia Optima, the Honda Accord gets our vote especially if you plan to build a long-term (5 years+) with your car.

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