2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Review
Edmunds expert review
We like the Kia Optima sedan for offering lots of features for the money, along with a well-designed interior and a quiet ride. Adding a hybrid powertrain that's both more powerful and significantly more fuel-efficient than the standard gasoline engine seems like a no-brainer.
The biggest trade-off for the hybrid powertrain is the loss of some cargo space, which drops by 2.5 cubic feet. The available 60/40-split folding rear seats do mean that extra space is available. The Optima Hybrid is also limited to higher trim levels, so if you're looking for a basic hybrid, this might not be the car for you.
The Optima Hybrid certainly makes a case for itself in the segment, too. While we like the driving experience of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, it's an older model than the Optima and in need of a refresh. The new Toyota Camry Hybrid is very efficient but offers fewer features and a less usable infotainment interface. The biggest wild card might be the Honda Accord Hybrid, due out later this year: It's based on our current favorite midsize sedan, and it loses no cargo space in the electrification process.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The front-wheel-drive 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid is well-equipped no matter which version you choose. The entry-level 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 a 2.0-liter engine combine to produce 192 hp. Most hybrids have a continuously variable automatic transmission, but the Optima Hybrid sticks with a six-speed automatic transmission that gives a more traditional shifting feel.
The 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 front windows to help noise reduction, a power driver seat with 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.
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
Audio & navigation
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.