Top 10 Best Tires for Kia Optima (Updated)

Last Updated November 25, 2022

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Despite its affordable asking price, the Kia Optima is a very good car. This sedan offers a plush ride in its handsome, roomy cabin and has a larger trunk than most of its rivals. Plus, its intuitive infotainment system can keep the entire family busy on long highway trips.

Best Tires for Kia Optima

However, there are areas where this car disappoints. The most notable of which is its fuel economy, which is below average for models in this class. Also, while you won’t have any complaints about the ride quality, the Optima’s lackluster acceleration might leave you unsatisfied.

If you’re troubled by this car’s sub-par fuel economy and meh handling, replacing its stock tires with quality aftermarket models may help. That is because both these issues can at least be managed, if not rectified, by tires with low rolling resistance than this car’s OE tires.

This article will rate and review the top 10 best tires for Kia Optima. Except for our winter tire pick, all the below models will enhance this car’s handling on the highway. And if you want better fuel economy out of your optima, settling for all-season touring tires will be a wise decision.   

Michelin Defender T+H

The Michelin Defender T+H is our top tire pick for Kia Optima. This all-season highway tire has the ability to improve this car’s highway handling. Plus, its lightweight construction and low rolling resistance will elevate the Optima’s otherwise sub-par fuel economy.

An all-season tread compound enables this tire to stay useful year-round. It strikes an optimal balance between firmness and flexibility to keep the Defender T+H as reliable on dry roads as in wet conditions. Moreover, this tire also comes good on light snow and ice.

The Defender T+H will also enhance your Optima’s handling. Its asymmetric tread pattern (a rarity in all-season tires) gives this model the kind of grip you usually expect from performance tires. The result is quicker acceleration on the highway and increased cornering grip.

Comfort Control Technology is another ace up this model’s tread. This technology uses a computer-optimized design to deflect road noise and absorb vibrations and disturbances, enabling the Defender T+H to make the Optima’s plush ride quality even more comfortable.

Add the 80,000-mile treadwear warranty to the mix, and you might conclude that this tire is faultless. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The Defender T+H is one of the market’s most expensive models and, thus, may not be the most practical option for everyone.

Pros

  • Excellent treadwear warranty (80,000 miles)
  • Reliable in light wintry conditions
  • Offers a quiet and comfortable ride

Cons

  • Doesn’t come cheap

#2. General Altimax RT43 – Best Runner Up

General Altimax RT43

The General Altimax RT43 checks several boxes for the average Kia Optima driver. This all-season tire comes cheap, offers reliable performance in dry and wet conditions, and is backed with a respectable treadwear warranty. Best of all, it covers most Optima trims.

A dual-layer tread compound does precisely what its name implies. It soaks up road vibrations and noise (thanks to the flexible bottom layer) for a comfortable driving experience. The firm upper layer, meanwhile, has the firmness needed for decent feedback.

Its optimized pitch sequence and Sound Wave Suppression Technology have the same aim: delivering a quiet riding experience on the highway. Then there is General’s Low Surface Abrasion Technology, which helps this model wear evenly for extended road life.

Wet traction is another area where this tire shines. That is because of the Anti-Slip Sipe Design (ASSD) Technology, which sees to it that the RT43 has more biting edges than most of its rivals. The sipes help this model roll trouble-free in wet and wintry conditions.

Despite all these qualities, the RT43 isn’t our top pick for Kia Optima. Want to know why? This model’s treadwear warranty (75,000 miles) is 5,000-mile smaller than the Defender T+H’s.

Pros

  • Competitively-priced
  • Offers excellent road manners
  • Backed with a 75,000-mile treadwear warranty

Cons

  • Drive feels muted and numb

#3. Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring – Best Touring All Season

Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring

The Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring rivals our top two picks on various counts. This model comes with a super-extended treadwear warranty (75,000 miles) like the above tires. It also performs reliably in light wintry conditions, something the M+S (Mud + Snow) symbol attests.

Cooper’s StabiliEdge Technology has done wonders for this tire’s performance. Thanks to this technology, the CS5 Ultra Touring has a much rounder contact patch than many of its rivals. The result is better distribution of pressure forces for an extended road life.

Inboard and outboard shoulder blocks shorten braking distances in the rain. Plus, a quartet of circumferential grooves ensures quick and effective water evacuation for a reduced risk hydroplaning. The grooves’ timely action also positively impacts this tire’s wet traction.

Because most drivers will push the CS5 to its limits, Cooper equipped it with a rugged internal construction (two steel belts wrapped in nylon aramid fiber). This is done to ensure that high-speed driving doesn’t lead to premature deformation of this radial.   

The only area where the CS5 Ultra Touring could do better is comfort. Even though its tread compound is soft, its comfort levels are notably lower than our top two picks.

Pros

  • Above-average dry and wet handling
  • Performs excellently on light snow and thin ice
  • Comes at a pocket-friendly price

Cons

  • Lackluster snow performance

#4. Michelin Premier A/S – Best Touring All Season

Michelin Premier AS

Excellent dry and wet performance? Check. Super road manners? Yup. Decent amounts of road feedback and cornering grip? Absolutely. All these qualities are the reason why the Michelin Premier A/S is one of the best Kia Optima all-season tires.

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A tread compound featuring silica and sunflower oil helps this tire perform reliably on dry roads. It will also give you the confidence to push this tire on wet roads. That’s not all. The tread compound also makes this model a capable performer on light snow.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible if this model lacked circumferential grooves as well as built-in rain grooves. Both of these might look dissimilar, but their job is the same: evacuating water particles from within the treads before hydroplaning becomes a possibility.

You might also be pleased to note that the Premier A/S can enhance your Optima’s fuel economy. This tire will also increase ride comfort by deflecting road noise and absorbing vibrations.

A 60,000-mile treadwear warranty is the only area where this model could do better. Sure, the warranty might seem excellent on paper, which it should, as it translates into 5 to 6 years of road life. However, it appears lackluster when compared with that of the above models.

Pros

  • Offers a comfortable and quiet ride
  • Provides excellent traction on wet surfaces
  • Can handle mild wintry conditions with ease

Cons

  • Relatively small treadwear warranty

#5. Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus – Best Touring All Season

Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus

The Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus is one of the best touring tires on the market. This model offers an extended treadlife, decent dry and wet road manners, and comfortable drive. It also exhibits the ability to improve your Optima’s fuel economy.

Need proof of the last sentence? Pirelli’s estimates reveal that the P7 has a 15% lower rolling resistance than premium all-season touring tires. While the reduction won’t directly translate into fuel economy, you could still expect up to 4% of gas savings.

A computer-optimized tread pattern all but guarantees a quiet highway driving experience, with the soft tread compound not letting vibrations inside the cabin. As a result, the difference between these tires’ ride quality and that of the car’s OE tires will be huge.

Multiple biting edges and four circumferential grooves help this model perform reliably in wintry and wet conditions. A rugged internal construction minimizes the risk of deformation, while external shoulder blocks increase cornering grip and traction.

Pirelli backs the P7 All Season Plus with a 70,000-mile treadwear warranty to further sweeten the deal. You also get a one-year or 2/32-inch of wear guarantee on this tire.

Pros

  • Superb dry and wet traction
  • Excellent cornering grip and stability
  • May enhance your Optima’s fuel economy

Cons

  • Could do with a little more grip on the ice

#6. Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 – Best High-Performance All Season

Continental ExtremeContact DWS06

The Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 epitomizes what high-performance all-season tires should be all about. This premium tire offers the kind of wet traction and treadlife you expect from A/S tires, as well as the superior grip and high-speed stability of UHP models.

Want to know how this tire can do both? Thanks to its silica and +Silane additives tread compound. Silica gives the tread compound the firmness needed for superior traction on dry roads. The +Silane additives, meanwhile, enhance its grip in wet and light wintry conditions.

An asymmetric tread pattern is more focused on improving the performance side of this tire, with its aggressiveness giving the DWS06 the kind of traction you expect from UHP tires. Though it isn’t the only one – chamfered edges also help increase road feedback.

X-Sipe Technology does more than what it gets the credit for. In addition to increasing this tire’s snow traction, the sipes improve its dry and wet road grip and traction.

Continental has equipped this model’s tread area with an alignment verification system (AWS). The German tire manufacturer also backs the DWS06 with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty, above average for models in this class.

Pros

  • Delivers excellent wet traction
  • Offers an enhanced steering response
  • Backed with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty

Cons

  • Cornering grip is a bit lackluster

#7. Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season – Best High-Performance All Season

Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season

The Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season does so many good things it is not easy to decide which one to pick and describe first. An all-season tread compound featuring polymers helps it balance flexibility against firmness for a comfortable yet competitive drive.

Similar to the ExtremeContact DWS06, this model also comes with an asymmetric tread pattern. The result as you might guess is the same, with this model offering above-average steering feedback, cornering performance, and straight-line tracking for tires in this class.

A close inspection of the tire will reveal at least four circumferential grooves. You may also notice hundreds of sipes/biting edges. The grooves give you excellent traction in the rain, while the biting edges are to credit for this model’s excellent traction in light snow.

All these fancy features will make a huge impact on this tire’s performance, especially on the track. They help the Eagle Sport All Season deliver a fun and engaging ride, while also making sure that this tire performs at its best when cornering, accelerating, and braking.

Yet there are areas where room for improvement remains. In contrast to the ExtremeContact DWS 06, which is relatively quiet at high speed, the Eagle Sport All Season can sometimes be a bit noisy. Its wet traction, though not poor, could also do with a slight improvement.

Pros

  • Precise and nimble steering response
  • Very good cornering and handling
  • Comes with a 50,000-mile treadwear warranty

Cons

  • Unreliable in wintry conditions

#8. BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp-2 – Best Summer Performance

BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp-2

The BFG g-Force Sport Comp-2 isn’t your average summer performance tire. Your standard summer performance tire cannot compete with this model’s extended tread life, which has been made possible by fillers that evenly distribute pressure across its tread area.

You can also count on this model to perform reliably in the rain, something you cannot expect from 9 out of 10 summer performance tires on the market. That is because of its circumferential grooves which evacuate water quickly and effectively from the tread area.

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A ‘g-Control’ sidewall and multiple ‘g-Hooks’ enhance the cornering grip and in doing so give you the confidence to enter and exit turns at breathtaking speeds. The sidewall’s added stiffness will also increase the road feedback you’ll get at the steering wheel.

BFG’s proprietary ‘Equal Tension Containment System’ (ETEC) will evenly distribute the pressure forces your Optima will put on this tire. This should translate into even tread wear and, more importantly, extended road life, especially for a tire in this class.

BFG claims that all these features have improved the Sport Comp-2’s traction by up to 30% over the original g-Force Sport. An 8% increase in dry traction is also touted.

Pros

  • Enhanced steering feedback
  • Excellent cornering grip and performance
  • Superb dry and wet pavement traction

Cons

  • Ride might feel a bit firm

#9. Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport – Best Summer Performance

Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport

The Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport offers almost everything you expect from tires in this class. That includes unbelievable high-speed stability, superb cornering performance, and excellent dry or wet grip and handling. Here’s why we’re so sure.

Start with high-speed stability. The RE760 Sport comes with an asymmetric tread design and a 3D center block for maximum contact with the surface. The increase in the contact patch’s size, in turn, translates into better road grip, bequeathing this tire with superb high-speed stability.

Then there is the cornering performance. A semi-slick shoulder design has done the same to this model’s shoulders as the tread design and 3D center block to its contact patch. It has increased the shoulders’ contact area with the road for better cornering grip.

Next comes the dry and wet performance. The RE760 Sport features Bridgestone’s UNI-T Technology that keeps it flexible even as the heat starts building up from all the friction due to high-speed driving. The retention of flexibility is what increases its dry and wet traction.

Bear in mind, though, that this model isn’t meant for snow driving. It would be best to replace this model with the one recommended below as soon as the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Pros

  • Excellent dry and wet traction
  • Good steering response and handling
  • Doesn’t produce a lot of noise

Cons

  • Zero ice or snow traction

#10. Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 – Best Winter Tires

Three features make the Blizzak WS90 one of the best winter tires on the market.

A super-flexible tread compound keeps the rubber flexible even as the temperature climbs to new lows, ensuring this model gives the traction it charges all the big bucks for. Its pliability is why the WS90 can safely carry you from point A to point B on snow-laden roads.

The MultiCell structure is equally crucial to this tire’s snow performance. It traps snow within the treads to use the friction created by snow-on-snow contact for better traction. This simple-looking arrangement is one of the reasons the WS90 comes with the 3PMSF symbol.

Speaking of the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol, it’s important for you to know that it’s much more reliable than the M+S emblem. That is because EU authorities standardize the 3PMSF mark, making this symbol more credible than the unstandardized M+S logo.

Standard tread wear indicators (TWIs) are also on offer. They will inform you when the tread depth is about to hit dangerous limits. Plus, multiple winter wear bars will indicate when this model’s snow performance has descended from its initial outstanding heights.

Pros

  • 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol
  • Offers excellent traction on snow and ice
  • Comes with dedicated winter wear bars

Cons

  • Zero treadwear warranty

Best Tires for Kia Optima

All-Season Tires

At the start of this guide, we noted that the two major areas where Kia Optima struggles are fuel economy and road handling. These two issues have been with this car since its last generation, and if user reviews are to be believed, the 2023 Optima struggles with them as well.

The good news is that all-season touring and even highway tires can manage these issues much better than this car’s factory-installed tires. Their low rolling resistance and lightweight construction enable A/S models to improve this car’s fuel economy and acceleration.  

This makes all-season tires the best option for the average Kia Optima driver who uses this car for everyday driving and wants more fuel savings.

High-Performance Tires

High-Performance tires will improve the Kia Optima’s lackluster handling. These tires will also positively impact this car’s high-speed stability and straight-line tracking. Plus, they will give you the confidence to enter and exit corners at breathtaking speeds.

Needless to say that the main focus of HP tires is on performance, not on fuel economy. Also, these tires have much shorter tread lives than their all-season counterparts. When added to their exorbitant price tags, the shorter tread lives translate into a higher running cost.

Therefore, if you intend to pair your Optima with these models, do so with the knowledge that high-performance tires will cost more in the short and long term.

Frequently Asked Questions

What tires does Kia Optima use?

Kia Optima comes in multiple tire sizes, including 205/60R15, 205/55R16, 205/60R16, 205/65R16, 215/50R17, 215/55R17, 225/45R18, and 235/45R18.

How long do Kia Optima tires last?

Premium all-season Kia Optima tires can last as many as 80,000 miles, depending on road conditions, your driving style, and weather conditions. You’d be lucky to get half as much mileage from performance and/or high-performance tires.

Does Kia Optima come with a spare tire?

While Kia Optima doesn’t come with a spare tire, has the Kia Tire Mobility Kit (TMK). The TMK is a package of tools designed to help you should you find a flat tire on your Optima.

Conclusion

Kia Optima is one of the more affordable mid-size sedans on the market.

To make the most of its qualities, it’s imperative to pair this car with premium tires. That advice holds especially true if you use your Optima as a family car, as only high-quality tires can offer the kind of driving experience that will let you have a quality family time on the road.

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