2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Review Kia’s U.S. operations are just in excess of 20 years previous. In that time, it has turn into the eighth-best-selling brand in the country, just behind corporate sibling Hyundai. If Hyundai is not mindful, it may very well be surpassed by its very own kin.
2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Review
From behind the wheel of any Kia, however, the accomplishment isn’t surprising. From the Soul, a 10Best Trucks and SUVs winner, towards the Optima hybrid examined right here, Kias are rich with quality-a word that was ideal only for sarcastic punchlines about Kia two decades in the past. Similarly, the automaker developed its first hybrid only six years in the past but now ranks amongst the industry leaders while in the motor vehicle variety.
Plus, on the subject of design, Kia is killing it. No longer does an Optima look like it’s trying too tough to get noticed within a class of, let’s encounter it, rather uninteresting loved ones sedans. It is actually a genuine looker with crisp lines and just enough adornment to accent its styling, like a red-carpet celebrity wearing the many ideal accessories. One could argue that those excellent seems to be were diluted within the approach of building this hybrid variant as slippery as you can by incorporating grille shutters inside a redesigned front fascia and tacking on aero-friendly wheels and a low-drag rear fascia. Every one of the function nets a very low 0.24 coefficient of drag, nevertheless it does scrub a few of the distinction from your presentation.
A two.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four, great for 154 horsepower, in addition to a 50-hp electrical motor mix for 192 ponies when referred to as on. Maximum combined torque of 271 lb-ft is routed by way of a six-speed automatic transmission for the front wheels. From a standstill, the Kia will hit 60 mph in seven.9 seconds, which is lazier by more than half a 2nd compared to the class-leading Honda Accord hybrid and Toyota Camry hybrid, despite the fact that the Optima under no circumstances feels slow. Not that any hybrid consumers are very likely to go looking for the cornering restrict, however the Optima’s lateral acceleration maxes at 0.81 g. Braking from 70 mph necessitates 175 feet.
What stands out in the Optima is not the attributes or even the effectiveness as much as the polished execution. While Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, in addition to a seven.0-inch infotainment interface (which grows to eight.0 inches with all the EX trim level, as tested here) come standard, the serious standout regular capabilities would be the throttle calibration and blending of regenerative to friction braking. These characteristics are between the ideal among all hybrids. The sublime tuning, which greater than a handful of calibration engineers no doubt sweated, will not be lost on people who care additional about how an automobile drives than its EPA rating. A Ford Fusion hybrid was in our fleet at the same time, plus the Optima’s superior hybrid integration was noted with shock by many editors.
The Optima’s powertrain layout-essentially a motor/generator and clutch taking the place of a torque convertor-is much simpler than the power-split two-motor transaxle cum CVT in the Fusion. Even devoid of the complexity, the Kia matches the Fusion’s EPA mixed score of 42 mpg. We achieved nowhere near that, even so, averaging 31 mpg more than virtually 900 miles, or 4 mpg quick of your efficiency of what we accomplished in the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid (a two-motor setup) along with the Honda Accord hybrid (a two-motor, no-transmission arrangement).
Our test car came fully loaded. A base Optima hybrid begins at $26,890 and includes manually adjustable cloth seats and 16-inch wheels. From the aggressive set of hybrid family sedans, only the Fusion hybrid starts much less expensive, at $26,170. Paying a different $4995 on the EX trim brings leather and heat towards the front seats (and power to your driver’s seat), 17-inch wheels, a 60/40 split-folding leather back seat, and also a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. The sole alternative around the EX is really a $5000 Technologies package. It includes ventilated front seats as well as a power front passenger seat, heated rear seats, a giant dual-pane sunroof, and also a host of innovative safety technological innovation features (automated emergency braking, lane-keeping aid, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise handle). Kia also presents a plug-in model with a 202-hp hybrid powertrain plus a 9.8-kWh battery pack that, according to Kia, permits it to travel up to 29 miles on electricity alone. It begins at $36,105 in EX trim.
The entire driving expertise lacks nearly all of the hybrid idiosyncrasies-CVT conduct, electric-motor hums-to which we’ve turn out to be accustomed. Questioning if we had misplaced it, we place this concept for the check by plopping an unsuspecting buddy during the driver’s seat. The hybrid virgin had no clue he was driving anything at all but a standard Optima. That could not be what Kia was going for, but it is a ringing endorsement for somebody who wants a hybrid without having any compromises towards the driving experience. To us, which makes the Optima hybrid wise beyond its years.