While the gasoline powered version of the Kia Optima is the one that most buyers go for, the South Korean automaker also makes this family sedan with a pair of hybrid powertrains, one of which can be plugged (PHEV) in to charge for a claimed 47 km of all-electric driving range.
Both Optima Hybrid and PHEV models share a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that works alongside an electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission, a combination that makes 192 hp in the standard hybrid model and 10 more than that in the PHEV.
Like the regular Optima, these hybrid models are comfortable and roomy cars that offer a lot of refinement. While the Optima Hybrid's six-speed transmission is a bit of an oddball choice in a field where continuously variable (CVT) automatics are more common, it nonetheless does a good job of delivering the engine's power smoothly.
And while these are the most efficient versions of the Optima, the electric motor's generous torque makes the hybrid a surprisingly engaging car to drive with performance that slots in between that of the gasoline model's 2.4L and 2.0L turbo engines.
A 2017 redesign brought to the regular hybrid model a smaller battery that fits under the trunk floor where it no longer takes up cargo space. The PHEV's larger battery still steals a chunk of volume, however.
The newest player in the hybrid sedan segment is the Toyota Camry, making it the Optima's strongest competitor. Honda hasn't yet redesigned its Accord Hybrid into the new bodystyle that gasoline models wear for 2018. Meanwhile, the Ford Fusion is the only other brand making a mid-size hybrid car with both conventional and plug-in variants in the Fusion Hybrid and Energi.
Optima Hybrid starts out in an LX trim that comes with 16-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, power-folding side mirrors, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, passive keyless entry, heated steering wheel, hands-free trunk release, smartphone integration, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats and a backup camera.
EX trim adds 17-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, leather seating, rear parking sensors and blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert.
Finally, EX Premium models get aut0-levelling adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, 10-speaker stereo, wireless smartphone charging, 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen (up from 7.0 inches) with navigation, electric parking brake, tire pressure monitoring, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed