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June 11, 2018 by Brett Peters

Understanding Kia Drive Modes by an Optima Owner

2019 Optima

If anyone is like me, then you do not read the owners manual on your vehicle. Trust me I did the same thing with my ’18 Optima EX. One thing that I had no idea how to use was the ECO, SPORT, and then the regular setting. I’ll explain what they are and when the best time is to use them.

ECO MODE

ECO mode is best used when you are driving in the city. What this mode does is allows your transmission to change shift points. Another thing that it does is makes the car not produce as much power. So, you do not want to use this when you are getting on the highway or other times that you need the power or just to step on the gas. This will help you get the most use out of your gas. You can still leave it in this mode when you are driving at other times, it just will not get you any better gas mileage. For me, I honestly leave it on this mode, because it makes me think I will get the best gas mileage. No, it will not mess anything up with the vehicle.

Powertrain
[ECO]: Composes and mode optimized for economic driving

drive mode

SPORT MODE

SPORTS mode, however, allows you to get up and go. If you like to race people off the line (like me, oops) you should make sure you turn this on. It again changes your shift points and gives you so much more power. When I went on my test drive, my salesman told me to put it in SPORTS mode and get on the highway. Let me tell you, that was one of the deciding factors that led to me getting my Optima. I thought I would want the turbo so that I had some extra power, but driving it on SPORTS mode gives me more than enough power.

Powertrain
[Sport]: Composes a mode for dynamic driving

Steering
[Sport]: Composes the sporty steering wheel mode.

Suspension
[Sport]: Composes a mode for dynamic driving

NO DRIVE MODE

Kia Drive ModesThe regular mode gets you the gas mileage that the car is designed to reach. It also does not change the shift points. This mode is just there so that you can use the car how it is intended to run. I do not put my car in this mode just because I get the most value using the ECO mode. Again, it is up to you as to how you want to use these features. I mean, it is your car!

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melissa tucker
melissa tucker
3 years ago

ive got a 2019 kia forte. my has modes normal, smart and sport. i drive in town and 20 miles aday to work. which 1 should i use? smart r normal?

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
3 years ago
Reply to  melissa tucker

Hello Melissa! We recommend using the ECO mode. If you have any more questions about any of the drive modes, feel free to give us a call at (785) 856-8700 and we will answer your questions!

Jonathan M Brahler
Jonathan M Brahler
3 years ago

Do I need to be in park while switching modes? If not will it hurt the transmission?

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
3 years ago

Jonathan, you do not need to be in park to switch drive modes. Switching modes while driving will not affect the transmission.

Josie
Josie
3 years ago

When driving in sport mode; do you have to release the gas pedal to shift a gear up or can you continue to accelerate as well as shift up simultaneously?

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
3 years ago
Reply to  Josie

Hello, you can continue shifting while accelerating to shift the gear up. If you have any more questions please feel free to reach out to our service department at (785)856-8700 and they will answer them for you!

Davis
Davis
3 years ago

On the 2019 kia optima EX there is no ECO mode. Only Sport, Comfort, Smart. What does each mode mean?

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
3 years ago
Reply to  Davis

Hello, Sport mode focuses on dynamic driving by automatically adjusting the steering wheel, engine and trans axle system. Smart mode automatically selects the drive mode best suited to the current driving style. and Comfort is the default mode. If you have any more questions please feel free to give our service department a call at (785)856-8700.

ZL
ZL
3 years ago

I have a 2013 Kia Optima I was just curious when I saw it and did it I was in eco mode and I put in sports mode and both were on and I was just curious if it was harmful to the car if I keep it in both

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
3 years ago
Reply to  ZL

Hello, this is perfectly fine to do, it will not harm your vehicle. If you have any other questions please feel free to give our Service Department a call at (785)856-8700.

Henry
Henry
2 years ago

I have a 2018 kia forte lx .it does not have a button for eco or spert drive .but at time either the eco will go on or the sport.like i said no button for these features .can you tell me why this is so.and can i cintrol when i want to use them.

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Henry

Hi Henry, your your eco and sport modes are controlled by the computer in the vehicle. This depends on how you are driving it. When you are driving it under normal conditions or when you are being more conservative with your driving the eco mode will come on and vice versa for the sport mode. There is no button to turn it on or off it is all done with the computer. We hope this cleared your question up, but feel free to give our Service Department a call if you have anymore questions at (785)-856-8700.

Michael
Michael
2 years ago

Hello,
I notice that my car also has a gear shift option when not in automatic. It has a + – option to shift gears. Can you tell me when would be the best time to use this feature and can I use in eco, sport at same time?
Thanks
P.S. I have a 2017 Optima. Which I truly adore 🙂

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Michael

Hi Michael, this is a function to use when wanting to go into lower gear for snow and traction control, it also does give you the option to manually shift your vehicle if you feel the need to control your shifting. You can use eco or sport mode at the same time it will change shift points in the different modes going this direction. If you have anymore questions please feel free to give our Service Department a call at (785)-856-8700!

Henry clark
Henry clark
2 years ago

I have a 2018 kia forte lx.how do you turn echo off or sport mode on .both go on and off by them selfs .and thers no button.for modes .confused.please help.

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Henry clark

Hi Henry, your your eco and sport modes are controlled by the computer in the vehicle. This depends on how you are driving it. When you are driving it under normal conditions or when you are being more conservative with your driving the eco mode will come on and vice versa for the sport mode. There is no button to turn it on or off it is all done with the computer. We hope this cleared your question up, but feel free to give our Service Department a call if you have anymore questions at (785)-856-8700.

Ahmed
Ahmed
2 years ago

What is the different between normal mode and comfort mode in Kia soul 2015

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Ahmed

Hello, normal mode offers medium steering effort, and comfort mode makes the steering wheel lighter. Comfort mode is usually used when trying to park the vehicle or when driving in town or in a city. If you have any more questions feel free to contact our service department at 800-988-8624 or message us again on the blog!

Pyro dragon
Pyro dragon
2 years ago

I have a 2020 Kia soul Ex which comes with Eco mode, but when I’m looking for it all I see is Normal and sports. Where is the Eco mode? Please help.

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Pyro dragon

Eco mode is an automotive mode that the car controls when your driving in an ecological way. If you have any questions feel free to call our Service Department at (785)856-8700 or ask us another question on the post! We are here to help!

Henry clark
Henry clark
2 years ago

I have a 2018 kia forte lx .ther is no button for echo or sport .it gos on and off on its own weird .when i press stability control off echo will not go on .dont like echo .on instruments panel it only says off .off what.sport went on one day by itself .wow much faster better .but went off .dont know why .hate my car .can you help me.

Gord cormier
Gord cormier
2 years ago

I recently travelled along the beautiful Cabot Trail in Cape Breton with my new Sorento SX V6. The high elevation changes and numerous sharp corners had me experimenting with the manual shift option. I put the car in sport mode as well. I had so much fun on this highway. Not sure what mode was best for these roads. Any suggestions I might have done different.

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Gord cormier

Hi there, from what you are telling us there isn’t a specific mode that you need to use. Normal mode can be beneficial with the climate and temperature changes with elevation, but Sport mode can also help with the elevation changes and sharp corners. We hope this helps and if you have any more questions please feel free to reach out!

Don Barnard
Don Barnard
2 years ago

HI…picked up a 19 Forte EX and when driving in SMART mode and activating the cruise at 60mph (for example), I”m at 2200 rpm’s on the tach. When I
don’t use cruise at same speed for any length of time, it’s 1500rpm’s. Same in NORMAL mode. It seems like using the cruise is going to kill my fuel mileage. Is this normal??? Any thoughts?

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Don Barnard

Hi Don, our Service Manager would like to better understand your question so he can give you the best answer. If you can call us at (785)-856-8700 our Service Manager will be able to answer all your questions! Thank you for your question!

Suds
Suds
2 years ago

Hi… I have a 2017 Optima Hybrid. My car is currently defaulted to ECO drive. How do I change the default setting to have it default to Normal Drive mode?

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Suds

Hi there, unfortunately when you turn your car off and then on again it will automatically go back to Eco mode. You can use the mode button near the gear shifter to change it once the vehicle is on, but you cannot change the default. We hope this information helps, and if you have any more questions please feel free to reach out to our Service Department at *785)-856-8700!

Abby
Abby
2 years ago

I have a Kia Forte 2018 there is no button for the sport or eco mode it just randomly kicks on sometimes. Is there any way for me to put in on manually

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Abby

Hi Abby, the drive modes are computer controlled and they change by your driving habits. There is no way to manually turn them on. We hope this helps! If you have anymore questions please feel free to give our Service Department a call at (785)856-8700.

Henry
Henry
2 years ago

When sport mode gos on by itself.wich i hate .what color is sport mode light .on my kia its orange.is this color. Normal?i hate the fact that i have no control over what mode driveing.i am .it sucks when echo light gos on with out your control.so what color is sport light on 2018 kia forte lx with sportmatic

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Henry

Hi there Henry, the sport mode will light up orange on your dash when it is on. We hope this helps and if you have more questions you can always reach out to our Service Department at (785)856-8700!

Htet paing aunh
Htet paing aunh
2 years ago

the suspension of kia optima gt line 2019 is a little bit harder than normal optima. is that right?
I am so confusing abt choosing these cars.
I want a comfortable sedan at the same time I want to drive faster
by the way, optima gt line doesnt have adaptive suspension like stinger right?

Mark Rheiner
Mark Rheiner
2 years ago

I have a 2019 kia optima ex turbo. Everyone tells me I should use Eco mode for best mileage. However I have no eco button on car. And in driving modes I do not have eco or normal and only have sport, smart , and comfort modes. How do I activate eco

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Mark Rheiner

Hello and thanks for your question.
2019 Optima EX turbo does not come with ECO mode. We recommend to use the smart mode for best gas mileage. Kia vehicles, SMART driving mode monitors your driving throughout the day and changes based on when and under what conditions you are most likely to prefer one driving mode to the other. You may love COMFORT mode on your way to work, for instance, but want the thrill and quick pickup of SPORT mode on your way home.

regina nunnally
regina nunnally
2 years ago

How do I shift in low gear in a mountain drive

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago

Hi there, We would need to know the year of your vehicle so that we can give you an accurate answer!

Brittany
Brittany
2 years ago

Why are some cars equipped with a way to control eco mode and sport mode and some just kick on automatically. It does not make sense. ECO definitely changes ability to accelerate so what does someone do in an instance when they need to step in the gas? It’s dangerous. I want control of this!

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Brittany

Hi Brittany, per our Service Manager, this is controlled with the computer and we have no way of changing it other than harder driving. It is all based on how the you drive. We hope this helps you!

Henry clark
Henry clark
2 years ago

Well i guess the automatically echo drive and sport mode are suposed to go on automatically.but it never does just stays in echo.sucks and i be punching it to make change to sport no .nothing .crapy car.i had for 2 yrs now and only has changed 2 times.and i have to punch it .because echo is slow

warren
warren
2 years ago

does my 2017 kia forte lx have drive mode buttons if so where is it? vin # 3kpf4a72he141727

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  warren

Hi there, per our Service Manager, he does not believe that there is an option to choose the different drive modes for that year, but if there is it would be located near the shifter and say drive modes! We hope this helps you out! Thank you!

Jun Alcantara
Jun Alcantara
2 years ago

Can i use sports mode for engine breaking – shift to lower gear going downhill to slow down together with pedal braking? My car is a Kia Seltos.

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
2 years ago
Reply to  Jun Alcantara

Hi there! The drive mode will not make a difference in the braking of the vehicle. Yes, you can run it in sport and allow the shift points to slow it down. We hope this helps, and if you have any more questions please feel free to contact us!

Luis Galindo
Luis Galindo
1 year ago

I have a 2020 kia Sorento and would like to know if i can preset my vehicle to Sport. Everytime i turn the car on it sets to Comfort and would like to leave it on sport

Maria Marcotte
Maria Marcotte
1 year ago
Reply to  Luis Galindo

Hi there, per our Service Manager he said to check the owners manual for more information on the drive mode. If you have anymore questions please feel free to give us a call at (785)856-8700. Thank you!

Sara
Sara
1 year ago

I have a 2020 Sorrento. Why when I have set to sport for example does it change every time I restart the car

Anne Kelley
Editor
Anne Kelley
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara

Hi Sara, this is the normal characteristic of the 2020 Sorento; the drive mode has to be selected each time after shutting off the vehicle. I have a 2018 Sorento and I have to do the same thing. Maybe in the new 2021 Sorento models this will be available.

Patricia Guldin
Patricia Guldin
1 year ago

What mode should I drive my 2021 Kia seltos in

Anne Kelley
Editor
Anne Kelley
1 year ago

Use the drive mode that feels the most comfortable for your situation. In general, I’m always in ECO mode to save gas. If I’m in a hurry, which I don’t recommend driving when you’re in a hurry, I will change my drive mode to SPORT. If you’re in the snow, change to Snow/Wet mode to increase the grip on the road.

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