Active Eco System - 2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima Long-Term Road Test

2011 Kia Optima SX Turbo: Active Eco System

April 11, 2011

Optima Sunset.jpg

There are a lot of lead-footed drivers around the office. I'm not one of them. I'm always looking for ways to improve fuel economy in any car I drive. So during my weekend with our 2011 Kia Optima Turbo, I decided to try out its Active Eco System.

This eco mode is activated by pressing a button on the steering wheel and it stays on for subsequent drives, even if you turn off the car. According to the owner's manual, "Active Eco helps improve fuel efficiency by controlling the engine and the transaxle."

It turned out to be one of the better eco modes I've experienced. The manual said that the power and torque would be limited while in eco mode, but it was never an issue for me. There was a notable drop in power, but you always had enough to pass other cars or climb hills without heavy throttle inputs. Unlike our (now-departed) long term Honda Insight, the air conditioner didn't take a hit, and kept its cool the entire time.

Although the Optima Turbo is a performance-oriented vehicle, it's nice to know that it has the ability to conserve fuel. We may need to run the car in eco mode more often if we want to match the EPA estimates of 22 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined. So far we are averaging 19.7 mpg, with a best tank of 23.6 mpg and a worst of 12.6 mpg.

If your car has an eco mode, do you use it? What do you think of it?

Ron Montoya, Consumer Advice Associate @ 4,085 miles


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