Highlight: A plug-in hybrid is also available.
Test Vehicles MSRP: $37,235 (Base Model: $26,980)
Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; a hill start control system; a rear camera a vehicle stability system; a traction control system; auto headlights; and a tire mobility kit
Standard Equipment (Base Model): 16-inch wheels; cloth seats; manually controlled front seats; a tilt/telescopic steering wheel; rear seat center armrest with integrated cup holder; leather wrapped steering wheel; leather gift shift knob; a dual zone automatic temperature control; a remote keyless entry with trunk opener; and a push button keyless ignition starter system
Standard Equipment (EX Model): 17-inch wheels; daytime running lights; LED lights; power folding outside mirrors; an automatic windshield defog system; USB charger; an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen; a 7-inch infotainment screen; mood adjusting for the interior; leather seats; power driver’s seat with two-way memory control; heated front seats; a heated steering wheel; front seat back map pockets; rear a/c vents; an electronic parking brake; and an automatic hold feature
Options: the driver’s assistance package, which includes a panoramic roof, a power sunshade, an audible rear parking system, a blind spot detection system, a rear cross traffic alert back up system, a radar-activated cruise control system, a forward collision braking system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a lane departure warning system, rear side window shades, an automatic dimming rearview mirror and a power front passenger seat
Optima (gasoline model)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 4-speaker AM/FM with satellite
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/210-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Standard Fuel Mileage:
What’s New: The Optima, which was restyled in 2016, adds a second generation hybrid to the line up. With the exception of the Optima hybrid being powered by an all-new 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder-engine, the midsize vehicle looks and drives like the evolutionary restyled 2016 model. This new powertrain improves the fuel economy by 10 percent over its predecessor, which ironically offered a larger engine.
Why: The Kia Optima is available in two trims and with one powertrain. Besides the brand’s second generation hybrid wearing an evolved exterior shell and an all-new interior, the enhanced fuel economy is the big news. Kia’s design and engineering team has incorporated a new driver assistance system gauge, which allows the driver to monitor the 10 percent fuel economy improvement via the all-new 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine.
In fact, this new driver assistance system monitor helps to coach the driver as to when to coast and brake, using an icon in the instrument panel that blinks and makes audible alerts.
Furthermore, depending upon the trim, the more fuel efficient family sedan now offers the latest advanced safety features, too. Those features include a lane departure warning system, a blind spot detection system, a radar activated cruise control system and a front collision warning system.
Moreover, the layout of the driver friendly instrument panel provides easy-to-use useful gages. With the exception of the driver assistance system, the Optima hybrid literally mirrors the interior of the Optima gasoline model.
And, depending on the trim selected, hybrid buyers can expect supportive front seats, which can be both ventilated and heated, in the 2017 Optima.
But: While the powertrain team at Kia is touting their new more fuel efficient engine in this year’s restyled model, the total driving range of the 2017 Optima has decreased by 24 miles due to the smaller tank size.
Moreover, according to fueleconomy.gov, all of the Optima hybrid competitors, including its sister brand Hyundai, has a longer driving range. In the case of the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata, respectively they have driving ranges of 758 and 777. Ironically, the driving range of the Kia Optima hybrid is only 668 on a full tank of gas. Go figure.
Verdict: Although hybrid sales are relatively soft, due the relatively low gas prices, the Optima hybrid is a worthy contender for those seeking a fuel-efficient, well-built family sedan with a contemporary design. And like its sister brand, Hyundai, the Optima hybrid offers one of the best warranties in the segment.
Competition: Honda Accord Hybrid; Hyundai Sonata Hybrid; and Toyota Camry Hybrid