2011 Kia Optima Consumer Review: don't drive it as you would dr

2011 Kia Optima - Consumer Review

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful
don't drive it as you would drive Prius
By doryhan on


2011 Kia Optima Hybrid 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)


My other (or previous) cars:
Ford Taurus V6
Chrysler PT-CRUISER I4
Cadillac DHS V8

I have owned and been driving Optima Hybrid (OH) for a month, filling up the tank twice.

first tank 34.5MPG

second tank 35.5MPG
(99% city: the car computer indicates the average speed 22.2MPH)

At the beginning, I tried to drive the optima the way I would drive a Prius - slow acceleration, no sudden stops, obsessively use EV mode (or try to use). But that does not help you with MPG. (more talks continued
in "Suggested improvements")

Best Features

Sleek, modern exterior design (with no excessive use of curves). Super quiet interior (ties larger cars from Cadillac). No wind noise at all. Average road noise, though. Great MPG: It is easy to top its official MPG. Of course, it totally depends on your driving style. MPG of Toyota hybrid cars tends to be much more stable (less depends on your driving style). Toyota hybrids, especially Prius, simply do not allow you to drive aggressively - is it good or bad? Great value: I think 2012 Camry hybrid has slightly better hybrid system than Optima does. However, you will have to pay extra $4~5000 for, otherwise, similar equipped car (with boring exterior design).

Worst Features

Interesting findings: Optima hybrid (OH) was equipped with 6 speed unlike Prius that has CVT. While accelerating, OH's electric motor rarely engage after the first speed. Once you reach over 40MPH, it starts to use 6th speed and EV mode starts to engage again. Do not stay at the speed range between 10-40mph (i.e., avoid to stay with 2~5 speeds) too long. You can accelerate pretty hard like you drive a car with V6 or V8, and that actually helps to achieve better MPG - isn't it interesting? This indicates that KIA needs to optimize/update the transmission software so that it can work better with EV while the car is running on its 2-5th speed.)
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