The Kia Optima has been one of our top picks for a midsize sedan for a while now thanks to its potent blend of features, warranty and price. Now there's a new model to consider: the 2017 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid. With a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack that can store up to 29 miles of all-electric range (after just three hours of recharging on a 240-volt charge), the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is ideal for commuters who can charge overnight or at the office, or even drivers who simply need their car for short commutes and trips in and around town.
With only one trim to choose from, the EX, buying a 2017 Optima Plug-In Hybrid largely comes down to a simple choice of which color you want. Even with a lone trim level, however, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is loaded with standard features, reinforcing Kia's philosophy of offering a lot for less. The EX includes, among other features, leather upholstery, a navigation system and 8-inch display, a rearview camera, heated seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system.
An optional Technology package is available for buyers seeking additional creature comforts such as ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a sunroof, as well as several collision avoidance technologies including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, even adaptive "bending" headlights. Although it packs a lot of features, this package isn't exactly cheap, and we recommend it only for those who crave the most peace of mind and pleasure of gadgetry as is available.
The 2017 Kia Optima stacks up well against its competition, largely because it doesn't have much. Though it's not the only plug-in hybrid on the market, it's among the largest and most versatile. Ford offers a plug-in version of its Fusion sedan, but it has just 20 miles of electric range. The Toyota Prius Prime is a plug-in version of the popular hybrid hatchback, and its cargo versatility is hard to beat, but it's hard to consider it big enough for hard-core family duty. The same could be said for the Chevrolet Volt, which is the champion of electric-only miles (about 50 miles in many cases), but with a rear seat that is simply too small for a grown or growing family of five, for example.
Still, the 2017 Optima Plug-In Hybrid has plenty to recommend it, especially if you can keep your mileage to within the electric limits. Indeed, it could be a very long time until you'd need to visit a station to fuel up the Optima's gasoline engine. When you're ready to explore the electric possibilities of the Optima Plug-In Hybrid, let Edmunds be your guide to the car that's right for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.