Kia Optima Hybrid Review & Features

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2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Unveiled at 2016 Chicago Auto Show

CHICAGO — The redesigned 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid made its world debut today at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.

Visually, there are mild but noticeable differences between it and the redesigned Kia Optima midsize family sedan introduced last year as a 2016 model. These are almost entirely for aerodynamics: large active grille shutters, front and rear fascia alterations and special alloy wheels.

The new Optima Hybrid's interior is identical to the conventional Optima, apart from different gauges and hybrid-system displays in the central touchscreen.

There are even fewer differences mechanically between the Optima Hybrid and its corporate cousin, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. The Kia gets the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 38kW electric motor and a six-speed automated manual transmission. Total output is estimated to be 193 horsepower.

Kia estimates a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy over the previous-generation Optima Hybrid, which would put it in the range of 41 mpg combined. That, perhaps not coincidentally, is exactly what the EPA says the Sonata Hybrid should achieve.

Besides fuel economy, a key improvement to the 2017 Optima Hybrid from its predecessor is its more power-rich lithium-ion polymer battery pack that now resides entirely underneath the trunk. Not only does this provide a more conventional trunk space, unencumbered by odd boxlike protrusions, it allows for a 60/40-split-folding rear seat. This gives both the Optima and Sonata Hybrid a significant advantage over other midsize hybrid sedans.

Also unveiled in Chicago was the 2017 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid, which similarly shares its gasoline-electric guts with a Hyundai Sonata cousin.

Look for the 2017 Optima Hybrid in dealerships later this year.

Edmunds says: Few surprises for the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid, but it should nevertheless offer compelling fuel economy, value and practicality.

Kia Optima Hybrid Review

If there were a Most Improved Award for cars, the Kia Optima would be a solid candidate. The evolution of the Korean carmaker's midsize sedan has seen it vault from back-of-the-pack to contender status. Sharp styling, a handsome cabin fitted with quality materials, strong engines and a pleasant driving experience mark the modern Optima. Plenty of standard and optional state-of-the-art luxury and safety features, along with a long warranty, are two more perks that have not been overlooked by savvy shoppers.

The hybrid version of the Optima has followed a similar, if briefer, path. Though the earlier version came about when the Optima took a giant leap forward in styling, cabin refinement and performance, it didn't share its non-hybrid sibling's level of performance. Specifically, that first hybridized Optima lagged behind its rivals in the all-important fuel economy category, and it didn't provide the most refined driving experience either. But the following generation got it together with notably better fuel efficiency as well as more refined dynamics on the road.

Current Kia Optima Hybrid
The current Kia Optima Hybrid is a midsize hybrid sedan that comes in two trim levels, Premium and EX. Standard highlights of the well-equipped Premium include keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Added features of the EX include heated front seats, leather upholstery and rear air vents.

Under the hood, the Optima Hybrid features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine working in tandem with an electric motor. Together they send 192 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Delivering 42 mpg combined, this Optima Hybrid's fuel economy is much improved over the previous version, if still not quite as efficient as the segment leaders.

Although we haven't yet driven the redesigned Kia Optima Hybrid, we have driven its corporate cousin, the similarly powered Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. As such, we'd expect the Optima Hybrid to provide smooth, if not class-leading, performance; a comfortable and quiet ride; and respectable, if not exciting, handling. Those who plan on regularly carrying taller passengers in back should note that the Optima's sleek roofline cuts down on rear-seat headroom.

Used Kia Optima Hybrid Models
The previous, first generation of the Optima Hybrid was introduced for the 2011 model year. At first, this model came in a single trim level that included keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, and leather upholstery among its many standard features. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine worked in concert with an electric motor to generate 206 hp. A six-speed automatic transmission sent power to the front wheels. For 2013 the Optima Hybrid came in two trims: a base but still nicely equipped LX and the leather-lined, loaded EX. That year also saw the hybrid powertrain revised for slightly better fuel economy, though it still lagged behind the segment's superstars. The following year brought mild styling updates and a few new features that included a blind-spot monitoring system. The Optima Hybrid essentially stood pat for the remaining years of this generation.

In reviews, this Optima Hybrid garnered mixed ratings. Although it had most of the strengths of its gas-powered sibling, such as handsome styling inside and out, a nicely trimmed cabin, and a surprising number of standard and optional luxury features, its hybrid powertrain lacked similar polish. When dealing with the cut and thrust demands of city traffic, for example, the transmission could get befuddled as it hunted for the right gear, sometimes resulting in a noticeable shudder. And braking performance, though plenty strong enough when need be, was nonlinear in action due to a minute yet noticeable delay after the point the pedal is pressed until braking is felt. Finally, this Kia's fuel economy estimates (rated at about 36-38 mpg combined), although still impressive for a midsize sedan, lagged behind those of key competitors.

Kia Optima Hybrid Cars for Sale

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium
NEW 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium
MSRP$29,340
Special Offer See special offer Dulles Kia(7mi)(1)
Dealer Notes

Please contact the dealer for additional manufacturer rebates that may be available and could further reduce your price! 'Dulles' prices include current manufacturer rebates and factory incentives,such as first time buyers, recent college graduates, veterans and/or active members of the military, owners of competitive makes, loyalty/conquest rebates etc. some of which may require financing through the manufacturer and are therefore subject to credit approval. Additional factory rebates, may be available. 'Dulles' pricing is not compatible with special factory financing. 'Dulles' prices are valid based on manufacturer incentive program time periods. Customer must take delivery during incentive program time period. All Factory/Special orderes are excluded. We make every effort to provide accurate information, but please verify options and price before purchasing. All vehicles are subject to prior sale. All prices are special internet prices only. All financing is subject to approved credit. All new vehicle prices exclude freight. Tax, tags, and processing fee of $695 additional

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
NEW 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
MSRP$34,000
Special Offer See special offer Hersons Kia(18mi)(5)
Dealer Notes

Herson's Kia includes a Two year or 24,000 mile maintenance package with every new Kia purchased or leased. The maintenance package includes oil changes and all regularly scheduled maintenance according to the vehicles maintenance minder system. This offer is exclusive to Herson's Kia. For more details visit our website www.hersonskia.com or call 301-340-3100 and speak to our service consultants.

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
NEW 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
MSRP$37,570
Special Offer See special offer Koons Kia of Woodbridge(29mi)(2)
Dealer Notes

Call dealer for details.

2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
NEW 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
MSRP$36,365
Special Offer See special offer Koons Kia of Owings Mills(47mi)(4)
Dealer Notes

Introducing the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid! Roomy, comfortable, and practical! Kia prioritized comfort and style by including: adjustable headrests in all seating positions, power moon roof, and cruise control. Under the hood you'll find a 4 cylinder engine with more than 150 horsepower, and for added security, dynamic Stability Control supplements the drivetrain. Both high fuel economy and flexible performance are assured by the 6 speed automatic transmission. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service. Stop by our dealership or give us a call for more information.

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium
NEW 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium
MSRP$27,510
Special Offer See special offer Nationwide Kia(54mi)(1)
2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
NEW 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
MSRP$37,975
Special Offer See special offer Safford Kia Of Fredericksburg(54mi)(0)
2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
NEW 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX
MSRP$36,345
Special Offer See special offer Hertrich Kia(79mi)(0)