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2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

Bragging rights among hybrids often come down to a matter of just a few miles per gallon in the EPA ratings. It seems like a somewhat arbitrary metric given the old “your mileage may vary” disclaimer, but fuel economy is nonetheless an important measurement for the engineers, marketers, and consumers of these thrifty machines.

Among hybrid mid-size sedans, the Kia Optima hybrid can’t claim best-in-class mileage—that honor belongs to the Honda Accord hybrid, which achieves 48 mpg combined compared with the Kia’s 42 mpg. The 46-mpg Chevrolet Malibu hybrid also beats the Optima, while others in this class, including the Ford Fusion hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata SE hybrid (the Optima’s corporate cousin), tie the Kia in the government’s testing.

You can’t accuse Kia engineers of not hitting the mark in creating this second-generation Optima hybrid, however. Its thoroughly updated gas-electric powertrain boasts numerous improvements over the previous system, and its fuel economy represents a big jump from the outgoing model’s 37-mpg combined rating. That’s thanks to a more efficient 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine that replaces the previous 2.4-liter unit; a slightly higher-capacity, 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack; and a more powerful, 50-hp electric motor.

Unconventionally Conventional

While most other hybrid systems use continuously variable automatic transmissions (CVTs), the Kia matches its 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a conventional six-speed automatic, with the electric motor and a clutch replacing the torque converter. This slightly unconventional setup pays off in terms of refinement, as it avoids the droning sensation present in many other hybrids when the powertrain is tasked with urgent acceleration.

Another impressive element of Kia’s hybrid system is the way the battery pack fits neatly under the rear seat. With this placement, the Optima’s trunk measures 13 cubic feet, larger than the 12 cubic feet found in the Fusion hybrid or the Malibu hybrid (but 2.5 cubes less than the gasoline-only Optima). The Optima hybrid also maintains the 60/40 split-folding rear seat, which provides a wide pass-through for larger items.

Familiar Optima Goodness

As it is in the standard Optima, the hybrid’s passenger compartment is a satisfying place to spend time. It boasts great fit and finish, an easy-to-use control layout, and comfortable seats front and back. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard, and options such as a panoramic sunroof, heated leather seats, and a Harman/Kardon audio system create a premium vibe.

With 192 total horsepower lugging a bit more weight than in the standard model, the Optima hybrid doesn’t feel appreciably quicker than the regular four-cylinder, although the instantaneous torque from the electric motor does help make it more responsive when merging or passing. The car’s dynamics are mostly unchanged from the standard Optima, with accurate steering, well-controlled body motions, and a quiet cabin. The only giveaway that you’re piloting a hybrid is the spongy and vague brake-pedal feel, a common sore spot in hybrids because of the difficulty of blending regenerative and friction braking systems. There also are numerous eco-focused menus and displays available in the instrument cluster and dashboard screens for those who are inclined to hypermile their Kias.

Fading Value Equation

Kia’s emphasis on value has softened as of late, as evidenced by this hybrid. While it starts at an attractive $26,845 ($3595 less than the base Accord hybrid), that’s for a relatively sparsely equipped model without items such as power seats or blind-spot warning. A loaded Optima EX hybrid like the one we drove crests $37,000, which is nearly $6000 more than an equivalently equipped Optima EX with a 2.4-liter engine. That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially when gas is cheap—a headwind that all automakers selling electrified vehicles are fighting right now.

Beyond the price premium, however, the Optima hybrid demands few compromises compared with the standard model—so few that it’s easy to forget you’re driving a hybrid. With an impressive blend of practicality, refinement, and style, the Optima is a solid contender among mid-size hybrid sedans, particularly for those who don’t look solely at the EPA numbers.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter inline-4, 154 hp, 140 lb-ft; permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor, 50 hp, 151 lb-ft; combined output, 192 hp, 271 lb-ft; 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

BASE PRICES: Premium, $26,845;
EX, $31,840

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 110.4 in
Length: 191.1 in
Width: 73.2 in Height: 57.5 in
Passenger volume: 105 cu ft
Cargo volume: 13 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 3600 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):
Zero to 60 mph: 8.1 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 22.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 16.2 sec
Top speed: 130 mph

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: 39/46 mpg

Экстерьер Kia Optima Hybrid 2017

Внешний облик гибридной модификации Kia Optima получил минимальное количество изменений в сравнении со своими негибридными собратьями. Основные отличия кроются во фронтальной части кузова, где производитель установил перелицованную фальшрадиаторную решётку, а также иной передний бампер и воздухозаборник, в который вмонтировали специальные заслонки, закрывающиеся во время езды на высоких скоростях, тем самым улучшая экономичность и снижая аэродинамическое сопротивление. На месте остался рельефный капот и раскосый взгляд головной оптики, дополненной стильными лентами светодиодных ходовых огней.

Профиль автомобиля имеет классические для бизнес-седана пропорции и может похвастаться наличием покатой линии крыши, крупных колёсных арок, позволяющих устанавливать колёсные диски R18, специальных воздуховодов, располагающихся сразу за передними крыльями, а также крупными боковыми дверями, облегчающими высадку и посадку пассажиров.

Корма гибрида радует глаз широкими светодиодными габаритными огнями, строгим бампером и оригинальным трапециевидным диффузором, подчёркивающим отменные динамические возможности седана.

Внешние габариты Kia Optima Hybrid 2017 составляют:

  • Длина – 4,855 м;
  • Ширина – 1,86 м;
  • Высота – 1,465 м;
  • Длина колёсной базы – 2,805 м.

Высота дорожного просвета аналогична стандартной Optima и составляет 155 мм, что позволяет без особого риска для подвески и переднего бампера преодолевать бордюры, лежачих полицейских и ж/д переезды.

Потенциальные покупатели могут выбрать одну из пяти доступных расцветок кузова: Snow White Pearl, Aluminum Silver, Crimson Red, Gravity Blue и Aurora Black. Более того, имеется выбор из нескольких вариантов исполнения колёсных дисков.

Экстерьер Kia Optima Hybrid

Автомобиль привлекает свои внешним видом в котором впрочем отсутствуют всякие намеки на гибридную природу трансмиссии. В нем много общего с топливным седаном, что очень хорошо, ведь аналог пользуется популярностью, немалую роль в которой сыграл дизайн автомобиля.

Экстерьер Kia Optima Hybrid © kiamedia.com

Автомобиль имеет агрессивный внешний вид, который отчасти намекает на спортивный характер транспортного средства. Красивая передняя оптика придает выразительности всему дизайну и задает общий тон к восприятию автомобиля.

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Just a year after the conventional Optima received a full redesign, Kia is rolling out both a redesigned 2017 Optima Hybrid and a new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid. The cars feature a revised design inside and out and Kia estimates the hybrid model will be more fuel efficient than its predecessor.

The Optima plug-in is expected to go on sale at the end of the year. Kia says the model’s battery setup produces about 60 percent more energy than the battery pack in the outgoing Optima Hybrid’s system, allowing it to go an estimated 27 miles in full EV mode.

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Kia expects the regular hybrid version of the Optima to achieve 10 percent better fuel economy than old model, which got up to 36/40/38 mpg city/highway/combined depending on the trim level. The 2017 Optima Hybrid replaces the previous model’s 2.4-liter engine with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as well as makes other changes to the powertrain to achieve the mileage bump.

Both the plug-in hybrid and conventional Optima Hybrid models look similar to the redesigned-for-2016 Optima sedan, but do bear a few eco-friendly aerodynamic tweaks. The models feature an active grille that closes to improve airflow, a hybrid-specific front air curtain, a beveled rear bumper, a different rear diffuser and an aerodynamic alloy wheel design.

Both models also get a redesigned, roomier interior as well as hybrid-specific gauges. Also, Kia says the seats have been redesigned to better isolate passengers from vi. Show full review

Just a year after the conventional Optima received a full redesign, Kia is rolling out both a redesigned 2017 Optima Hybrid and a new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid. The cars feature a revised design inside and out and Kia estimates the hybrid model will be more fuel efficient than its predecessor.

The Optima plug-in is expected to go on sale at the end of the year. Kia says the model’s battery setup produces about 60 percent more energy than the battery pack in the outgoing Optima Hybrid’s system, allowing it to go an estimated 27 miles in full EV mode.

Kia expects the regular hybrid version of the Optima to achieve 10 percent better fuel economy than old model, which got up to 36/40/38 mpg city/highway/combined depending on the trim level. The 2017 Optima Hybrid replaces the previous model’s 2.4-liter engine with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as well as makes other changes to the powertrain to achieve the mileage bump.

Both the plug-in hybrid and conventional Optima Hybrid models look similar to the redesigned-for-2016 Optima sedan, but do bear a few eco-friendly aerodynamic tweaks. The models feature an active grille that closes to improve airflow, a hybrid-specific front air curtain, a beveled rear bumper, a different rear diffuser and an aerodynamic alloy wheel design.

Both models also get a redesigned, roomier interior as well as hybrid-specific gauges. Also, Kia says the seats have been redesigned to better isolate passengers from vibration; the passenger seat also features height adjustment this year.

Безопасность

Подзаряжаемый гибрид Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid оснащен стандартным пакетом активных и пассивных механизмов защиты для современного “зеленого” автомобиля.

Так же усилена кузовная рама.

В дополнительный набор систем безопасности входят:

  • функция предупреждения переднего столкновения;
  • адаптивный круиз-контроль;
  • режим предотвращения выезда из полосы движения;
  • датчики задней парковки;
  • механизм предупреждения о перекрестном движениия;
  • мониторинг слепых зон.

Технические характеристики

Предыдущий 2.4-литровый газовый двигатель Киа Оптима Hybrid заменили полностью алюминиевым 2.0-литровым двигателем без наддува с плавной регулировкой фаз газораспределения. Его мощность 154 л.с. при 6000 об/мин и 190 Нм при 5000 об/мин.

С помощью электродвигателя и его 50 л.с (38 кВт) и 205 Нм нижний предел общей мощности достигнет 192 л.с. при 6000 об/мин и целых 367 Нм крутящего момента при 5000 об/мин.

Как уже отмечалось, шестискоростная коробка-автомат с электродвигателем и сцеплением вместо гидротрансформатора приближает этот гибрид к негибридным автомобилям.

Литиево-полимерная батарея емкостью 1.62 кВт/ч спрятана под багажником на месте запасного колеса и оставляет вместимость багажника 0,4 м3 как в оригинальной Optima. Также здесь удобные сидения, складывающиеся в соотношении 60/40.

Объем топлива 72 л дает больший запас хода, чем потребуется до первой остановки в длинной дороге или 1075 км.

На электротяге (только на маленькой скорости или при уменьшении ускорения) можно разогнаться до 100 км/ч. Для испытания настоящей электрической езды вам надо попробовать подключаемую гибридную версию.

Официальный расход топлива 6 л на 100 км по трассе, 5,1 по городу, 5.6 при смешанном пути. Неплохо, особенно по сравнению с негибридными 6,5 л на трассе, 9,4 по городу и 8.1 при смешанном пути.

Kia Optima Sportswagon Plug-In Hybrid (JF) 2017 года (UK) (фото 1 из 22) ? Великобритания и Ирландия

Галерея автомобиля Kia Optima Sportswagon Plug-In Hybrid 2017 года включает в себя 22 оригинальных изображения высокого качества.

По этим изображениям вы можете ознакомиться с внешним видом автомобиля, узнать его особенности и отличительные черты, которые выделяют этот автомобиль Kia от других автомобилей.

А также вы можете скачать фотографии абсолютно бесплатно и использовать их как обои для рабочего стола с изображением автомобиля Kia Optima Sportswagon Plug-In Hybrid 2017 года, нажав на иконку в правой нижней части изображения.

Изображенный на фотографиях автомобиль был выпущен в 2017 году, в кузове JF. Автомобиль предназначен для рынка Великобритании и Ирландии.

Другие галереи Kia Optima

Другие галереи Kia 2017 года

  • 2016 Nissan Sentra Nismo
  • 1983 Ebro P200
  • 2018 Fiat 500L S-Design
  • 1939 Studebaker President Club Sedan
  • 2010 Mercedes-Benz C74 Konzept by RENNtech
  • 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo Roadster
  • Страна: Южная Корея
  • Годы работы: 1944 — н.в.

Корейская компания, которая сегодня известна как «Kia Motors Corporation», была основана.

Модели Kia

  • Cadenza
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  • Carnival
  • Ceed
  • Ceed GT
  • Cerato
  • Elan
  • Enterprise
  • Forte
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  • K7
  • K900
  • KX3
  • KX5
  • Magentis
  • Mohave (Borrego)
  • Morning
  • Niro
  • Opirus
  • Optima
  • Picanto
  • Pride
  • Quoris
  • Ray
  • Rio
  • Sedona
  • Seltos
  • Sephia
  • Shuma
  • Soluto
  • Sonet
  • Sorento
  • Soul
  • Spectra
  • Sportage
  • Stinger
  • Stonic
  • Telluride
  • Venga
  • XCeed

Популурные галереи

  • Toyota Hilux Rally Car 2012 года
  • Sterling Acterra Refuse Truck 2002 года
  • Fiat Ritmo 5-Door 1982 года
  • Abarth 500 esseesse 2011 года
  • Ferrari 575 Superamerica 2005 года
  • Rolls-Royce Ghost Aero by Vorsteiner 2016 года
  • Burstner Ixeo time it 745 2015 года
  • Bremach T-Rex Camper 2009 года
  • Ford E-250 Econoline XL Super Van 1989 года
  • Concorde Carver 2018 года
  • Iveco Stralis NR460 6×4 2010 года

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For 2017, the Kia Optima sedan continues its march to perfection, building on the impressive improvements from last year’s launch by adding a plug-in hybrid model. Already a segment leader in the areas of performance, power, fuel economy and technology, the 2017 Optima sedan expands the availability of driver-assist features such as autonomous braking, but only on the EX and higher trims. For comparison, Toyota has this technology standard on every Camry regardless of trim. However, in almost every other area of interest to buyers, the Optima is more than a match for its rivals, including the Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion.

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While we would never confuse this midsize family sedan with a BMW, Audi or Cadillac sports sedan, the 2017 Kia Optima delivers performance and handling a cut above most of its peers. The electric power steering on the SX and SXL trims, for example, is every bit as good as a hydraulic setup, with strong feedback and good on-center feel. If you opt for the LX or EX trim, however, you’ll get an older electric assist setup that is a bit more vague. While the suspension and tire selections on the LX and EX sedans are geared toward comfort, the SX and SXL’s suspension is nicely sorted, delivering excellent handling in tight curves without punishing the driver with too harsh a ride. We love the 2.0-liter turbo’s robust boost and ample low-end torque, made all the more enjoyable by an excellent 6-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode.

ANDROID AUTO & APPLE CARPLAY
As hard as they try, the auto manufacturers just couldn’t build an infotainment system to rival what Apple gave us with the first iPhone. Now, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, they don’t have to. Just plug in your smartphone and a mirror image appears on the car’s touch-screen interface.

HARMAN/KARDON AUDIO
Although you can find harman/kardon systems in other cars, the QuantumLogic7 surround audio system in the 2017 Kia Optima goes one step beyond. The sound is amazing and even old MP3 files find new life thanks to the Clari-Fi feature that helps restore digitally compressed files.

Kia’s 2017 Optima sedan features a dash bisected by a thick metallic band of trim, with the gauges, infotainment touch screen and vents above, and the audio-system and climate-control buttons below. It’s a clean design, and one that maintains the driver-oriented tilt of the previous car. All of the interior materials felt very high quality, with soft-touch surfaces on the door tops, dash and pretty much everywhere else you’d want them. The seats were plenty comfortable, and the back seat is downright huge, offering ample legroom even for tall passengers. Optima SXL models get Nappa leather and other high-end touches.

One school of thought on the 2017 Kia Optima’s styling is that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The previous-generation Optima was still a great-looking midsize sedan, sharp and modern, and the latest one carries much of the same sensibilities. There’s a similar grille design, same sweeping arc of chrome over the roof, and so on. Yet there is so much new about the 2017 Kia Optima some lament the car didn’t get a completely new look as well. Then again, that gamble didn’t pay off too well for Hyundai’s Sonata, so we’re fine with the Optima keeping a familiar look.

The base-model 2017 Kia Optima LX comes with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Beyond that, there’s a Driver Mode Select system that switches among Normal, Sport and Eco modes. Other Optima LX standard features include manual air conditioning, a 5-inch LCD screen with a rearview camera, and controls on the tilt-telescope steering wheel for the cruise control and audio system, which includes Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth and Auxiliary and USB inputs. The two front seats both adjust six different ways, with power lumbar support for the driver, and adjustable height on the passenger side.

The 2017 Kia Optima LX 1.6T comes with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, while the SX and SXL get a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and a much improved power-steering system. Kia has also made its blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors available on LX models. Optima EX and SX buyers can add active cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning, while the SXL features all these and a surround-view monitor. Other upgrades include dual-zone climate control, heated rear seats, a dual-panel panoramic sunroof with an opaque power sunshade, and the excellent harman/kardon audio system.

Base Optima LX and mid-grade Optima EX models get a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Optima SX and SXL models get a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 245 horsepower, also connected to a 6-speed automatic, albeit with steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The LX 1.6T features a turbocharged 4-cylinder with 178 horsepower, but connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Hybrid models employ a normally aspirated 2.0-liter engine paired to an electric motor. Fuel economy is solid across the board, with LX models getting 34 mpg on the highway, SX getting 31 mpg, and the LX 1.6T model getting 37 mpg. The 2017 Optima Hybrid promises 46-mpg highway and the plug-in 103 mpge.

2.4-liter inline-4 (LX, EX)
185 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
178 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 (LX 1.6T)
178 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37 mpg

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (SX, SXL)
245 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,350-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg

2.0-liter inline-4 + Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (Hybrid)
154 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
140 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
Electric Motor: 50 horsepower/151 lb-ft of torque
Net Output: 192 horsepower/271 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 39/46 mpg

2.0-liter inline-4 + Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (Plug-in Hybrid)
154 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
140 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
Electric Motor: 66 horsepower/151 lb-ft of torque
Net Output: 202 horsepower/276 lb-ft of torque
EPA fuel economy: 103 mpge/40 mpg combined

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

Photo Gallery






Vehicle Facts
39/46 MPG

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid competes closely with others in the midsized hybrid sedan class, and stands apart uniquely in one important way.

Actually there are a few features that distinguish the fully redesigned car introduced for sale last fall, but its six-speed automatic transmission is a relative anomaly some drivers will prefer over a continuously variable transmission more common to hybrids.

The transmission is borrowed from the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which debuted in 2016, and in fact the Optima’s entire 2.0-liter hybrid powertrain was lifted from the Korean sibling.

While other carmakers have gone so far as to simulate stepped gearing in their continuously variable automatic transmissions, Kia offers the real thing, making the vehicle feel much like its conventional gas-powered counterpart.

Handsome styling on the masculine side of the design language scale also helps the well put together hybrid’s uniqueness. Its 42 mpg fuel economy, while 10-percent improved over the outgoing Optima Hybrid, is about typical in class, and behind the 48 mpg Honda Accord Hybrid and 46-mpg Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

Sales this year are still getting up to speed. Less than 500 were sold in 2016 and fewer than 250 were sold in a very slow January

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The vehicle – available in a base “Premium” trim and “EX” upper level trim – is also the basis also for a plug-in hybrid variant with 27 miles EV range.

Powertrain

The former Optima Hybrid’s 2.4-liter gas engine was ditched in favor of the all-aluminum naturally aspirated DOHC 2.0-liter with continuously variable valve timing. Output for the engine alone is 154 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and torque is 140 pounds-feet at 5,000 rpm.

With help from an electric motor pureeing in 50 horsepower (38 kW), and 151.2 pounds-feet torque, low-end oomph is potent with total system power coming to 192 horses at 6,000 rpm, and a substantial 271 pounds-feet of torque.

As noted, the six-speed auto with the electric motor and clutch in place of a torque converter uniquely merges that technology from the world of non-hybrids with this hybrid.

A 1.62-kWh lithium-polymer battery hides under the trunk in the spare tire space to retain the full 13.4 cubic foot trunk capacity like the regular Optima, and 60/40 split seatbacks are handy too.

Fuel capacity of 15.85 gallons yields more range than most will travel before needing a restroom break, or 668 miles.

All-electric operation – though only sporadic, such as under liftoff of the accelerator, or at low speed, is up to 62 mph. For true electric driving, you’ll want to investigate the plug-in hybrid version which operates like a part-time EV for a rated 27 miles.

Rated fuel economy of 39 mpg highway, 46 mpg city, and 42 mpg combined is decent, much better than the non-hybrid’s 36 highway, 25 city, and 29 combined.

Design and Styling

Almost indistinguishable from non-hybrid siblings – the Optima Hybrid adds aerodynamic tricks like slick alloy wheels, and active grille shutters. Its coefficient of drag drops to an impressive 0.24 – equal with the Toyota Prius, Tesla Model S, and Sonata Hybrid, and better than 0.27 cd of the regular Optima.

Design is a variation on the theme of contemporary and sleek. Parked next to any other modern sedan, it looks the part of being comparably hip with attractive lines from most any viewing angle.

Inside, the conservatively laid out driver’s quarters with simply arranged buttons and knobs, and occupant space front and back is roomy and comfortable.

The top-drawer EX we drove included heated and vented seats, a heated steering wheel that is very easy to get used to in February in Pennsylvania.

An optional $1,700 Convenience Package also includes memory for driver’s seat and outside mirrors, blind spot detection, rear parking assist, rear cross traffic alert, power folding heated outside mirror, and more for a plush experience.

If that was not enough, Kia’s $5,000 Technology Package loads things up with a 10-way adjustable power front seats, auto-dimming mirror, awesome roof-length panoramic sunroof, and a host of advanced safety features.

Even the standard Optima Hybrid however is nice, with quality fit and functional design with comfortable front and rear seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via the 7-inch color TFT touch screen display.

On the Road

Notable is acceptably quiet and smooth operation, as the Optima Hybrid – already a relatively refined vehicle since 2011 – is improved with attention given to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).

Starting off, torque from the electric motor adding grunt can chirp the tires, and let the car leap forward adequately. Its acceleration and momentum, while not sports sedan level, will be potent enough for most ordinary drivers.

The ride is weighted toward the comfort side of the equation, with average levels of control and road feel through corners through the MacPherson-strut front, multi-link independent rear suspension.

Braking including pedal feel is to standard, and overall the vehicle is inviting, and ready to go as far as you want.

As per hybrid practice, engine shut-off via stop-start braking sees the engine start quickly as expected. Under cruising, the engine as noted also may shut off allowing the electric motor to pull the front-wheel-drive car along under stead state conditions.

Any time you request more power, the engine again instantly comes on, and the whole operation is seamless making for a car that is more like its conventional counterparts than other automakers’ hybrid variants.

In addition to the sound system – that included in our car an optional Harmon Kardon system – the six-speed transmission also provides a unique – or is that familiar? – “soundtrack.”

That sound is not the drone of some form of CVT as would be found in all hybrid competitors except from Hyundai. Rather, the automatic shifts to the next highest gear, and tends to hush down the drive. Stomp on the pedal, and it will rev to a peak, then shift per normal, and for some drivers this is a big deal.

Others tune the CVT’s “motor boat” sound out of their consciousness, so if that is you, this is not an important feature. While Kia does not say, the mpg that’s only equal to a Ford Fusion Hybrid’s might be slightly reduced because of the automatic transmission. The 2018 Camry will be pushing 50 mpg, and one reason CVTs are chosen is they do incrementally improve mpg.

Speaking of which, we saw mid 30s driving without care and upper 30s in combined driving. In the cold of winter, hybrids may get lower mpg than in ideal weather.

Competitiveness

Base prices including $895 destination are $26,890 for the Optima Hybrid Premium, and $31,885 for the Kia Optima Hybrid EX. This compares favorably to $26,335 for the non-hybrid Optima EX 2.4, and upper level Optimas including turbo versions range from the lower to upper 30s.

This means the cost to “go hybrid” with the Optima is not necessarily steep depending on your priorities.

Compared to other in-class hybrid sedans, the Optima is a closer call. If combined fuel economy is your priority, others like the Accord, Malibu, pending Camry are stronger contenders.

The Optima is relatively well placed as a highway car, as its 46 mpg is 5 mpg above the also-42 mpg Fusion Hybrid, and only 1 mpg below the Accord Hybrid. This comes at the expense of a relatively low 39 mpg city rating.

Also in the running are other types of hybrids. The Kia Niro, Hyundai Optima, and others designed to go against the Prius and small utility crossover type vehicles are also promising from 40 to 50-plus mpg with in a usable form.

The Kia’s main advantage like other hybrid sedans is it blends in with the mainstream and even more-so in that it is nearly indistinguishable to the six-speed regular Optimas. It is comparable also to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, though it’s rated 2 mpg better.

In all it is a solid offering, brand new in its product lifecycle, and worth a closer look.

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