I have got a 04 Optima LX 2.4L 4 cylinder. It is an awesome car. I have had it for 8 month and have 5,000 miles on it. No problems at all. One of the two best cars I have ever owned. ( my other best car I have owned is my Sorento)
First timer for KIA owner with a 04 Optima 2.0 Auto would highly recommend you for such a nice car based on its overall performance / price. My initial target is a Hyundai Sonata but KIA 04 Optima be the winner because of its price, CBU, additional of sun-roof..... in fact the Hyundai Sonata & Optima is the same except the body ....
I bought a 2.0 litre Magentis here in the UK about 20 months ago. Extremely happy with it - very comfortable, drives well and not a single problem to date. Kia have under-promised and over-delivered with this car. A rare state of affairs in the motor industry.
We own two Optimas in our house. One 6EX and one 4LX. We love both of them, but I have a few suggestions before anyone makes a purchase.
1. With the resale value of these cars, they are meant to be a long term purchase. Don't plan on having any equity if you want to trade it in after one or two years. You will definitely be upside down on your trade in.
2. Watch for the length of loan your dealer tries to set you up with. When we went in, they attempted to set up a six year loan! They focus on the fact that it is only a little more than half of the warranty. Anything longer than 5 yrs on a car is assinine. They focus on lower payments, but add up how much you will be paying in the long run and it is much more over time.
3. Get gap insurance! With the quick depreciation of these cars, you may total your car and only have it worth $5,000 when your note is still for $9,000. Who's responsible for the $4,000 difference? You are, that's who.
Just my 2 cents. Feel free to disagree, but I'm just talking from personal life experience.