What Battery Does a Kia Optima take?

What kind of battery does a Kia Optima take?
SponsorOPTIMA Batteries
LocationLas Vegas, Nevada
DateSeptember 21, 2021
There was a time when the answer to the question of what battery the Kia Optima takes was a simple one. That time was the year 2000, when just 97 Kia Optimas were sold in the United States (if anyone in the US has a 2000 Kia Optima, please post a photo on Twitter and tag @optimabatteries so we can see it!). If those hen's teeth Optimas followed suit with the Sephias or Sportages of that era, they used a T5 battery, which OPTIMA batteries (no relation) has never manufactured. If they followed along with the Sportage of that vintage, it would be either a Group 86 or 58, which OPTIMA Batteries also does not make. From there, things just get more complicated.

Starting with the 2002-03 model years, the Kia Optima used an H5 battery, which OPTIMA batteries also does not offer. Why doesn't OPTIMA offer these battery sizes? There are dozens of BCI battery group sizes, along with DIN sizes for European vehicles and JIS sizes for Asian vehicles. Some brands will look to capture every sale possible, even if it means catering to those 97 Optimas sold in the US in 2000. However, those batteries tend to be at a much lower price point and won't offer nearly the performance or durability of an OPTIMA battery.

OPTIMA Batteries pursues the enthusiasts and while we know there are definitely Kia owners who are considered automotive enthusiasts (just look at that A1A edition Kia Optima droptop!), there needs to be an intersection of overall market size for a battery and a large enough core group of enthusiasts before we generally launch a new battery size. From the 2002-15 model years, the Kia Optima typically used a Group 124R battery (which as you've probably guessed, OPTIMA Batteries doesn't make), although there were some exceptions.

Kia Optimas in the 2014 and 2015 model years with a 2.4-liter gas engine used an H6, which OPTIMA offers in our DH6 YELLOWTOP. However, hybrid Kia Optimas use an H6R from the 2011 model year through 2020. Once again, OPTIMA doesn't offer an H6R (the "R" typically indicates reverse termination of the posts), but it's possible our DH6 YELLOWTOP could fit in the same space, as long as the cables are long enough to make the connection or aftermarket cables are used. Otherwise, good luck finding an H6R battery!

As we look back at those early Kia Optima battery sizes, we see some fairly-small batteries. A typical H5 battery weighs about 35 pounds and the 124R weighs just under 40 pounds. However, things changed dramatically with the fourth generation in 2016.

From that year forward, OPTIMA Batteries now offered replacement batteries for the Kia Optima, including a DH7 YELLOWTOP for the 2016-2018 Optimas with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder and a DH6 for the smaller 1.6-liter engine in 2019 and 2020, as well as the 2.0-liter engine from 2016-2020. Kia also decided to change the battery on the 2.4-liter equipped Kia Optimas for the 2019 and 2020 model years to a DH6. So how are these DH6 and DH7 batteries a dramatic change from the previous batteries? Size, weight and reserve capacity.

The DH6 and DH7 batteries are significantly larger than those found in previous generations of Kia Optimas, even though the engine sizes aren't really any bigger and in some cases, are even smaller! The reason the batteries got bigger wasn't about cranking power to start the engines, it was about reserve capacity to meet the increasing electrical demands of modern Kia Optimas. The OPTIMA DH6 weighs in at a hefty 54 pounds and the OPTIMA DH7 weighs even more at 60.5 pounds!

There's often a strong correlation between battery weight and reserve capacity and the DH6 YELLOWTOP and DH7 YELLOWTOP are rated at 72 Ah and 80 Ah, respectively. That's a far cry from the 50-60 Ah range of the smaller H5 batteries, but that's what modern vehicles demand and what you should look for when you replace the battery in your Kia Optima. 

Getting a battery with enough reserve capacity is the first step, but making sure it has the power you need, when you need it, is the ultimate goal. That's why we recommend keeping your battery fully-charged whenever possible. For most batteries that means a voltage level of at least 12.6 volts, but our OPTIMA YELLOWTOP batteries are fully-charged at about 13.0-13.2 volts. 

Keeping the voltage in your battery properly-maintained will maximize battery performance and lifespan, regardless of the battery you are using. We're so confident this is true, we'll add an additional year of free replacement warranty coverage to your OPTIMA battery, if you purchase an OPTIMA Digital 1200 battery charger from us when you buy your OPTIMA battery.