2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

The redesigned Kia Optima Hybrid is more fuel-efficient, refined and stylish than ever.
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

The fully redesigned 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid improves upon its predecessor in many ways. You'll like the Optima's easy-driving nature and the number of features you get for your money. Fuel economy isn't tops, but it's good enough to keep this hybrid right in the mix.

The Optima midsize sedan is one of Kia's most popular cars, and it underwent a full overhaul last year. But some things were put on the backburner. In this case, it was the lower-volume hybrid version. Kia sold a 2016 hybrid model, but it was based on the outgoing Optima. That all changed with the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid.

In addition to the improvements that the redesigned Optima brought (such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality and several new advanced safety systems), the Optima Hybrid gets a new, more fuel-efficient powertrain. It develops a bit less horsepower and slightly more torque than last year, but fuel economy estimates have jumped as a result. The new Optima Hybrid is rated at 42 mpg combined; the old one was rated at 36 or 37 mpg, depending on the version. That's still a bit behind the hybrid segment leaders, but overall the Optima's got enough going for it to make it a satisfying choice.



what's new

The Kia Optima Hybrid has been completely redesigned for 2017.

we recommend

The base Premium won't disappoint with its wealth of standard features, but we think upgrading to the EX is well worth the cost. For one, it includes the Premium's Convenience package (with driver assist aids and quieter front windows, for starters). The EX also adds features such as heated front seats, leather and navigation. Most important, the EX's rear bench can be folded down to increase the size of the cargo area, a nifty feature that some other hybrid sedans don't offer.




trim levels & features

The front-wheel-drive 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid is well-equipped no matter which version you choose. The base Premium comes with dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and keyless entry and ignition. The Premium's Convenience package offers a good value for the extra features you get, while the EX takes that and adds goodies such as leather upholstery and a kicking Harman Kardon sound system. An electric motor and 2.0-liter engine combine to produce 192 hp. Most hybrids have a continuously variable transmission, but the Optima Hybrid sticks with a six-speed automatic transmission for a more traditional shifting feel.

The base Premium trim comes with many standard features, including 16-inch wheels, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, keyless entry and ignition, a driver information display, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, a 7-inch touchscreen, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

The available Convenience package adds power-folding mirrors, laminated (i.e., quieter) front windows, a power driver seat, driver-seat memory settings, rear air vents, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors and extra USB ports.

The EX has the Convenience package as standard (minus the parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring) and adds 17-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, leather upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with HD radio.

You can't get a more luxurious Optima Hybrid than the EX equipped with the Technology package, which adds LED adaptive headlights, automatic high-beam control, a panoramic sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control, a power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, rear side-window sunshades, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. Though we have not fully tested the new Optima Hybrid yet, we can glean some insight by relating our opinions from our full test of the 2016 Kia Optima LX Turbo (1.6L 4-cyl. turbo; 7-speed dual-clutch automatic). The two cars have different engines, but many of our other opinions still apply to the hybrid.

Driving

Though we haven't driven the 2017 Optima Hybrid yet, we have tested the mechanically related Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. We expect the Optima will pull away smoothly from a stop thanks to initial electric-only power. Outright performance and handling, however, are likely to be a bit disappointing.

Comfort

The regular Optima offers a comfortable ride overall, and we expect the same for the Hybrid. But the seats are less than ideal. There's a lack of side bolstering in the Optima's front seats, and those in the back don't offer enough thigh support.

Interior

There isn't a lot of visual excitement inside the 2017 Optima Hybrid, but it is smartly designed for function. The quality of materials and available features make you feel as if you're getting just a bit more for your money. The only drawback is mediocre rear visibility.

Ease of use

The 2017 Optima gets high marks for its easy-to-use infotainment system and readable physical buttons that are logically placed. The primary controls are all within reach, and there's no guesswork with buttons that are a bit out of the way.

Getting in/getting out

Tall door openings free from obstructions allow passengers to access their seats with no more effort than they'd expend in other sedans. The doors are adequately short in length to provide access in tight parking spots.

Roominess

The front seats have plenty of space for larger passengers, and the range of adjustments will cover short and tall occupants. The rear outboard seats benefit from an abundance of legroom, but headroom is merely adequate for the average adult.

Visibility

The Optima's cabin feels big and airy thanks to large windows and narrow roof pillars, but the high rear decklid and rear seat headrests obscure the rearward view. The standard rearview camera and optional parking sensors help reduce the blind spot.

Quality

Plenty of plastic is used throughout the interior, but it's sturdy and attractively grained. Creaks and squeaks are nonexistent, and the car feels as solid as any other sedan in the class.

Utility

With 13.4 cubic feet of storage, the trunk is slightly above the class average for a midsize hybrid sedan. It gains extra points for the 60/40-split rear seats in the EX model, though the opening is on the small side. Inside, there's plenty of space for personal items with many bins and pockets.

Technology

Kudos to Kia for an easy-to-use infotainment system with high-quality graphics and plenty of redundant physical buttons so you don't get lost in the menus. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are appreciated.

Audio & navigation

Like Kia itself, the touchscreen interface prefers function to form. There's nothing flashy; it's just easy to use and competent. The navigation system is fine, but we wish it tried to predict street and city names in the input screens.

Driver aids

Most of the latest driver safety aids, such as lane departure warning and forward collision warning, are optional on the Optima. A rearview camera is standard.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.