Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid Review

A plug-in hybrid goes above and beyond a standard hybrid through the use of a larger battery pack that allows for a limited amount of pure electric driving. In theory, those with a short commute could get to work and back without ever needing to engage the gas-powered engine. And once the batteries are spent, it functions just like a typical hybrid.

The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid combines those attributes with the ones that have made the standard Optima such a strong player in the midsize sedan game. Those likable qualities include handsome styling, a smooth and quiet ride, and plenty of standard and optional features, including the latest high-tech infotainment and safety features.

Current Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid
The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid midsize sedan debuted for 2017 and comes in a single, loaded EX trim level. Standard feature highlights include keyless entry and ignition, a navigation system, a rearview camera, leather upholstery and heated front seats.

For propulsion, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid uses a 2.0-liter four cylinder gas engine teamed up with an electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. That power team generates a total of 202 horsepower. In full EV mode, it can travel 29 miles, after which point it switches to conventional hybrid operation. While in the latter mode, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid earns a combined fuel economy estimate of 40 mpg. Yes, it trails its more fuel frugal rivals, but that's still an impressive figure for a roomy midsize sedan with respectable performance that comes loaded with luxury features.

Although we haven't yet driven the redesigned Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid, we have driven its corporate cousin, the similarly powered Hyundai Sonata Plug-In 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 sleekly sweeping roofline cuts down on rear headroom.

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* Prices based on national average