Kia Optima SX Turbo
- Price: $27,500
- Gas mileage: 20 mpg city/31 mpg highway
Mom will think you've really arrived when you scoop her up in the Kia Optima SX Turbo, the priciest of these picks. She'll settle back in her leather seat and fiddle with her side of the dual-zone climate control, without realizing there is a bit of razzle-dazzle in the turbocharged four-banger stashed under the hood. It's a 2-liter four-cylinder that generates 274 horsepower. Ushering those ponies to the front wheels is a six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Every SX gets a sport-tuned suspension for more dynamic cornering.
Thanks to its family-hauler look, the Optima SX will lull Mom and others into thinking it's just another sedan, but you'll know otherwise.