The 2018 Kia Optima… As a writer, photojournalist and editor of four online publications, I am always looking for new content to publish on our websites. Since I don’t drive many miles each year and had two older vehicles a 2001 Lexus and a 2005 Mercury Mountaineer, one might think I would never write an article about buying a new car.
However, we ended up buying a new 2018 Kia Optima, find out why we chose the Kia Optima after test driving other popular makes at similar price points.
Auto Accident Creates A New Opportunity
I was recently rear ended by a truck while in my Mercury Mountaineer SUV. There was a car in front of me that had stopped to make a left turn. She was waiting for the oncoming cars to clear so she could make that turn.
I had stopped behind her and in a a second I was rear ended by a garden chemical truck. Luckily I had my foot on the brakes and didn’t understand how my car could move forward and hit the first car. never realized at that moment I was hit from behind. Because my foot was still hard on the brakes, the damage was minimized for me and for the other car.
I did however, suffer a concussion and other injuries from the impact, but walked away in one piece. There $5,000 in damage to my car, mostly cosmetic. My insurance company decided to write off the full value of my car which was $5,300 rather than have it fixed.
I was in panic, I could never replace my car with such low mileage for this amount, but I could buy back my car from my insurance company for $350 which is scrap value of this car and still drive it. I didn’t care about the appearance of the car as long as it was safe to drive.
Now with the $5,000 from the insurance company and our second car the 2001 Lexus going to my son who needed a second car, we decided it was time to buy a new car.
Why Did We Choose Kia
My brother worked as a sales rep for Kia in Long Island, New York, before retiring to Florida.
He kept telling me this car was awesome and I should buy one. Well now was that opportunity to go shopping for a new car. Our budget was small, but I did have the $5,000 from the accident to work with so that was my incentive to move forward buying new car
We Started Shopping
We decided to shop around and see what was available with our small price budget. What deals were dealerships offering? It was a the end of this model year and the 2019 cars were coming in soon. We decided to check out the Volkswagen, Toyota, Lexus, Honda and of course Kia.
The Volkswagen Jetta is a great car, a bit small, but it had pep and great handling at a cost of around $22,000, not bad at all. Great 10 year warranty on every part on the car except tires and brakes. However it was a small car and we wanted a full-sized car that had all the latest technology.
Next was a test drive in the 4 cylinder Toyota Camry. We didn’t like the handling, pickup and interior on the Camry, certainly didn’t compare in features and cost to some of the others we saw.
Lexus ES 300
Next stop was Lexus. Having a 2001 Lexus ES 300 for 17 years we knew we would love their new cars, but the cost was over $40,000. We thought about leasing but for us it makes no sense since we don’t drive that much and it would end up costing us about $3 for every mile we drove. Also a bit out of our budget.
We had one more stop before going to Kia and that was Honda. We tested the Honda Accord, we owned one years ago, but their 2018 Accord, was simply awful. The interior was tight and not very luxurious.
The ride was rough and we felt every bump in the road. The car is too close to the ground and definitely not a car we would consider.
Finally, the true test. We drove from Honda to Raceway Kia in Freehold, New Jersey. Not sure we wanted to buy a car that day, but after our test drive and learning more about their optional technology package that included all the safety features we wanted we decided we just might want to buy a new car that day.
The car has an ample interior, very comfortable with all leather seats. Driving the car was amazing. Loads of power in the sport mode, fuel efficiency in the ECO mode and of course dynamite handling. The sport mode sets the engine up for more RPM’s which gives you that extra power when entering a highway and need that extra boost.
Over all, the car was smooth, great handling, awesome interior, sunroof, all the tech we wanted and needed and yes, the best deal out of all the other cars we saw and tested. Now we had to strike the right deal or we wouldn’t buy a car that day.
Super Sales Rep Glen King
Glen is the King of Raceway Kia and the guy you want to see when you go there. I did some research on how to buy a new car so I would be prepared to get the best deal possible. I wrote down all the tips offered on how to get the best deal on a new car and I was not ready to buy a car.
Now understand the last new cars we bought was a 2005 Mercury Mountaineer and a 2001 Lexus. I may have been a bit rusty on shopping for a new car, but I was determined to get the best deal I could find on the car I wanted.
Some Tips On Buying A New Car
There were a load of tips however most were not helpful. They all dealt with “Buying At The End” of the year, the month, model cycle and of course during holidays where car dealers run many of their promotions.
I found most of the tips discussed dealt with all the bonuses, rebates and advertising allowances car dealers get from the manufacturer.
The take away was that even if they sell a car at the dealer sticker (their cost), it doesn’t mean they aren’t making money, as they would have you believe.
Now I have covered the NY Auto Show for many years and really wasn’t concerned about a body change or a grill change, which I have found seems that all new autos will have in 2019. I just wanted an affordable car that could be my last one.
I wanted, no I needed the latest technology, which the 2018 had. My wife and I, were especially interested in the technology package and the safety features on this car.
We know that all car dealerships want to move out all the 2018 models. After all we see them on all the commercials on T.V. All dealership are offering some sort of rebate. At Kia we were able to get a $3,500 Kia Rebate. In addition being a retired military officer I received an additional military discount of $400.
Our Final Price
Out the Door price on the car was $28,685. The car is loaded with every option we could want. Full tech package, sliding glass roof, all-weather mats, 10 Year Warranty on almost everything in the car, except of course normal wear and tear items like tires, oil changes, etc.
NJ State Sales Tax
Now the breakdown on this price included the $2090 in New Jersey sales tax. The tax is on the price of the car BEFORE THE REBATES. Now this puzzled me for some time until Glen explained why it wasn’t on the net price of the car. Here is an example of how this works. Lets say I bought a can of paint that was $30 and the store ran a sale or instant rebate that reduced it to $20, I would pay sales tax on the $20.
However, if I bought the paint at $30 and had to send in or apply for the $10 rebate online or in the mail, I would pay the sales tax on the $30. You pay the sales tax on the price before rebates.
There were other fees and didn’t realize there was a $500 “doc” fee which is basically the dealers administrative costs to handle the sale. Watch for that small print on your agreement and question all the fees listed. I also missed the “Government Fees” that was originally $429.50, they reduced it to $150.
I think this might have been the vehicle registration and the license plate fees. This fee is negotiable so ask about it when you talk to your sales rep.
In our situation we were transferring our special license plates, issued to the New York Working Press, so that may be the reason our fee was reduced. They didn’t have to send someone to the DMV to register the car and wait for the new plates, so this could also be the reason for the reduced fees.
This Car Is AWESOME!
At my age, a very young 75, I wanted the safety package. Well this car has all of them as you can see in Glen Kings video, that I produced, he shows us all the tech and safety features in the car.
In my other cars I had no safety features as all and hated to listen to the radio because the sound quality was awful. Once I heard music through the awesome Harmon Kardon speakers that are throughout the car I realized I did like to hear music while driving.
The Kia is equipped with a USB port that enabled me to load all of my Mp3 songs on to a USB stick. You simply insert it into the USB port and make your selections on the dash display. They will organize your songs and offer a full list of every song, by artist and title. There are so many other features in this car that Glen explains in the video, you will love them.
We Love Our 2018 Kia Optima
Now driving the car is an experience that both my wife and I agree makes driving enjoyable. Such comfort, keyless start, a fob in my pocket turns the side mirrors in or out as I walk toward the car. To open the door you only need to press on the handle button which opens the door. Of course as all cars now offer the Keyless Start which is great.
A foot on the brake and a push of the start/stop button and you are on your way. Air conditioning, fabulous, controls on the driver and passenger side and even cool and warm controls for the seats. Lane Departure keeps you in lane and if you put your turn signal on it knows you are not drifting but intentionally moving from one lane to the next.
Back Up Camera and Blind Spot Warning
How about the Back-Up Camera something we didn’t have on our older cars, but a must have feature, now offered on all new cars. I always worried about backing up at a shopping center or even when parking, not anymore. Of course Blind Spot Warning is another must have. How many times have you tried to shift lanes and not realize that a car was in your blind spot? For me enough times to know this is a feature must have.
I could go on and on about this new Kia Optima but that would make this article way too long. I must also mention that it will also know where you parked in a crowded parking lot, using their UVO System that links to your mobile phone via Blue-Tooth. This link adds many additional features including voice commands and calls from your car hands free.
Of course you also have a great navigation screen that is also voice controlled or you can manually enter the information. So many extraordinary features in a car at this price is unbelievable.
We Paid Less For This Car Then Our 2001 Lexus
In 2001 we paid $33,000 for our Lexus ES 300, it was a well-built car, but if you compare the price of that Lexus in todays dollars to the Kia Optima that was about half of what the Lexus cost in todays dollars, you will understand why it is such a great deal.
Technology Package Video
Watch our video and see all the additional features you will get in the Kia Optima.
See Glen King For Best Deal
Our special thanks to Glen King, who is the King at Raceway Kia and a great guy. I told Glen that I wanted him to take special care of my readers when he works with them. All you need to do is call him and let him know that Len Rapoport from International Press Association referred you and he will give you the best deal without haggling. If it is an end of year Kia Optima 2018 or a new Kia Optima 2019, Glen is the guy to see.
At the end of this Kia Optima sales process you will see their Sales Manager who will go over the final numbers with you and then you will see their financial manager Ryan. Both will go over the contract with you and Ryan will also explain other optional packages including various warranties that include glass breakage, towing, replacement key FOB, minor dents and scratch repairs, road service and others.
Take Your Time In Making A Decision
We opted not to add any additional Kia Optima options since our insurance company already covers glass and roadside assistance and we never had any real tire damage or lost any keys. We understand these extra packages being offered, means additional profits for the dealer, so they might push a bit hard on having you add them.
Remember you have time to decide, so give it some thought and than decide if you really need these “extras” The decision is yours so don’t feel as if you need to do this right away. If you have a small budget don’t add anything you may not really need or want.