Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 Kia Optima VS 2013 Dodge Charger Near Phoenix, AZ

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2013 Kia Optima

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2013 Dodge Charger

Safety Comparison

Both the Optima and the Charger have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Kia Optima is safer than the Dodge Charger:




5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

221 lbs.

272 lbs.

Neck Compression

33 lbs.

33 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

60/810 lbs.

645/568 lbs.



5 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

29 lbs.

41 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

259/74 lbs.

353/381 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Kia Optima is safer than the Dodge Charger:



Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

50 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The Optima comes with a full 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Charger’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

The Optima comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Kia will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Dodge doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Charger.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima 5 years longer than Dodge covers the Charger. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Charger ends after only 5 years or 100,000 miles.

Reliability Comparison

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Optima have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Charger.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 18th in initial quality. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 29th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 25th in reliability. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 31st.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Consumer Reports the Optima SX/Limited 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Charger SE/SXT 3.6 DOHC V6:



Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.5 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.2 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.4 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Optima SX/Limited turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Charger SE/SXT RWD 8-speed Auto (22 city/34 hwy vs. 19 city/31 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Optima uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Charger R/T requires mid-grade for maximum efficiency, which can cost 5 to 40 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Optima stops shorter than the Charger:



60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

144 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better maneuverability, the Optima’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Charger’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The Optima’s turning circle is 2.9 feet tighter than the Charger AWD’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Kia Optima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 750 to 1050 pounds less than the Dodge Charger.

The Optima is 9.2 inches shorter than the Charger, making the Optima easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Optima EX is quieter than the Charger R/T:



At idle

36 dB

42 dB


74 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The Optima has 1.4 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom and 1 inch more rear headroom than the Charger.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Optima easier. The Optima’s trunk lift-over height is 27.4 inches, while the Charger’s liftover is 30.1 inches.

Ergonomics Comparison

Optional UVO for the Optima allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Charger doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Optima, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Charger.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Optima owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Optima will cost $1020 to $2535 less than the Charger over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Optima is less expensive to operate than the Charger because it costs $462 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Optima than the Charger, including $181 less for a water pump, $208 less for an alternator, $105 less for front brake pads, $31 less for front struts and $168 less for a timing belt/chain.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Optima will be $7696 to $8565 less than for the Dodge Charger.

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