9. Kia Optima SX Turbo – MSRP from $25,500
Kia has started hitting hard with its model lineup, even daring to show off a little muscle in the process. This is the South Korean automaker’s affordable performance sedan, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that kicks out a rather impressive 274 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. If anyone had said there would be a car like this ten or so years ago, that person would have been laughed out of the room, but here we are. Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is done in just 6.5 seconds, which isn’t half bad. You also get an affordable sedan with some European flavoring to the exterior and especially the interior, if that’s your thing. The suspension is firm, which makes for great cornering fun, although the steering is pretty numb and requires far too much effort.