Kia Optima Hybrid delivers lots of enviable qualities
There have been so many new hybrid vehicles over the past decade that it's getting hard to keep track of them. Of course, that's a good problem, since they are "green" vehicles that will save on gas and are partially electrically powered.
Kia jumped into the hybrid fray a year ago with the Kia Optima. It was a great move by the South Korean automaker, which already had a strong, well received product in the Optima and increased its prestige by adding the hybrid for 2011.
What's so good about the 2012 Kia Optima hybrid? First off, it looks really classy. At first glance one might mistake the Optima for a German-produced vehicle, which is high praise. It looks good on the outside and the interior features a very sensible layout with an intuitive design - wish more vehicles would follow that same line of thinking.
The Optima hybrid also has a very smooth shifting transmission that is not only quite efficient, but also very quiet. And the handling is sporty for a hybrid that sells for a reasonable $25,700.
And one more thing about this midsized sedan: the Optima has a big back seat that is roomy for taller folks and will also fit three passengers without the usual overcrowding issues.
If one understands the Kia-Hyundai relationship, it should come as no surprise that the Optima mirror some of the Hyundai Sonata basic designs.
For those not in the know, Kia and Hyundai do lots of sharing, including factories, engineering, parts and similar testing. Yet the two South Korean companies maintain their own marketing, distribution and styling departments.
The Optima hybrid has just one trim model. So if you're not enamored with it, move on. And there are certainly a number of fine choices if one really wants to purchase Optima, because it has three other trim models besides the hybrid version.
The hybrid engine pairs a 30-kilowatt electric motor with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 206 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. It's far from the quickest sedan around, going 0-60 mph in 8.4 seconds. But that's not bad for a hybrid model.
For higher performance, the Optima SX is the best bet. It's 2.0-liter, turbo-charged four-cylinder that creates 274 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and is clocked 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The other two trims (LX, EX) are 2.4-liter, four-cylinders with 200 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque.
With any hybrid, perhaps the prime consideration is gas mileage. While no slouch in that department, the Optima hybrid only gets a reported 35-40 mpg. The other three Optima models range between 22-35 mpg.
As mentioned previously, the Optima provides a very nice ride. It's a fairly easy vehicle to maneuver, thanks to its responsive steering. It has good passing power in freeway situations and also features dependable braking power.
The Optima's smart interior utilizes the Uvo electronics interface system, which is offered in all but the base model. Uvo allows for voice control of cell phones and MP3 players, plus services like turn-by-turn navigation, which is a little too chatty for my liking.
A low roof line is one downside to the Optima because it limits visibility. Another negative is the trunk's substandard in the hybrid version with only 9.9 cubic feet due to sharing space with the battery pack. The other Optima models measure 15.4 cubic feet in trunk space.
For anyone shopping for a midsize car with a lot of value, the Optima hybrid should be considered. It blends a sporty look with a comfortable, well designed interior. It also offers a smooth ride for a vehicle in its price range.
2012 Kia Optima hybrid
- Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 206 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 35-40 mpg
- Price: $25,700
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/100,000; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000; 24-hour roadside assistance
Print This Article
Placer County News Headlines$96,000 Raised for Fallen Officers with Help of Dutch Bros.On Wednesday, October 29, Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area banded together with the community to raise $96,697 to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.
Roseville Police Seek Suspect in Halloween Crime61-year-old Daniel Rosario is being sought by Roseville police in connection with an early-morning burglary, car theft and attempted assault on an officer
Roseville, Rocklin Among Top Choices for Young FamiliesRoseville and Rocklin are ranked among the top 10 places in Northern California for young families according to a NerdWallet report
Kings, Sacramento Community Break Ground on Arena Marking the culmination of a decade-long effort to build a new arena in Sacramento, today the community officially celebrated the groundbreaking of the new downtown Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC).
Roseville Hit and Run Reward OfferedRoseville Crime Stoppers is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a wrong-way driver who crashed into another car and then fled the scene
Free Alzheimer's Caregivers Workshop at UC DavisOnline registration begins Nov. 4 for the UC Davis Mini Medical School, a series of Saturday classes ideally geared for foresighted middle-agers and novice seniors
Roseville California Crime Brief (10.29.14) Crime brief update report for Roseville, California October 29, 2014.
Halloween Safety TipsCostumes, jack-'o-lanterns, haunted house and scary ghost stories mark this time of year as all kids of all ages enjoy the spirit of Halloween
Memorial for Slain Officer to be Held in RosevilleThe memorial service for Detective Michael Davis, who was killed in the line of duty will be held Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at Adventure Christian Church
2,400 Volunteers Turn Out in Rocklin for Annual EventMore than 2,400 volunteers packed 520,992 meals for malnourished children around the world at a three-day event at William Jessup University in Rocklin.
Sinking Gas Prices Won't Last The U.S. average price of gasoline ($3.03/gal) continues its slide to levels last seen in December 2010... and today, more than one-half of the nation's gas stations offer regular
Dutch Bros. to Raise Funds for Fallen Officers' Families Dutch Bros. Coffee owners in the Sacramento area are raising funds to support the families of Sacramento Sheriff Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer County Sheriff's Detective Michael David Davis Jr.