2018 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid Review
Edmunds expert review
We like the current Kia Optima for its stylish design, spacious interior, and user-friendly controls and infotainment system. It also comes with an extensive features list and the strongest standard warranty on the market. Starting with this sedan, Kia added a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain to make the Optima Hybrid, then added a larger, rechargeable battery pack for the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.
Twenty-nine miles of all-electric range may not seem like much, but buyers who can charge at home or at work will see a major reduction in their gas use. Of course, that larger battery pack makes for a lot less trunk space: just 9.9 cubic feet. The Plug-In Hybrid is also only available in one thoroughly equipped trim level, so it won't appeal to buyers looking for something basic but efficient.
There aren't a lot of mainstream plug-in hybrid options, but the market is growing. The Ford Fusion Energi is one of the few electrified sedans, but it's less feature-rich than the Optima. The Chevrolet Volt is a hatchback with more electric range but less passenger space and fewer features. There's the ultra-efficient Toyota Prius Prime, which sports idiosyncratic design elements that might turn off some buyers. Honda's Clarity Plug-In Hybrid also offers a lot of range and an upscale interior, but it has a much clunkier infotainment system.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid is a five-passenger sedan available in a single EX trim level with an optional Technology package that adds extra comfort features and several collision avoidance technologies and driver aids. A hybrid powertrain with 29 miles of all-electric range is standard.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid pairs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to produce a system total of 202 horsepower and 296 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are also standard.
Outside, you'll find 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, heated side mirrors, keyless entry and a hands-free trunk opening. Inside, the Plug-In comes with push-button ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connections, Kia Uvo services, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with satellite radio.
The optional Technology package adds adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power passenger seat and a host of collision avoidance technologies, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning 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.