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
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesPlacer County Hoteliers: Taxman Cometh Airbnb, Vacation Rentals By Owner, inns or hotels. If you provide lodging in Placer County, you're required to collect Transient Occupancy Tax
Lake Tahoe Bound? Be prepared and patientTAHOE CITY, Calif. -- As Northern California prepares for the second and third storms of a week-long string of weather systems, Placer County is reminding residents and visitors
New California Laws 2017 (Part 15)Roseville, CA - New California laws for 2017. Part 15 includes criminal gangs, property taxes, real estate licenses, terrorist activity, child abuse, voting: felons, human trafficking
Study: Lung Cancer Patients Not Receiving TreatmentA national study by researchers at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that a significant number of lung cancer patients are not receiving treatment.
$21 Million for Regional Small BusinessesThe Capital Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has surpassed significant milestones in helping regional businesses
Rocklin Preschoolers Donate to Children in NeedROCKLIN, CA, - Students at Merryhill Preschool in Rocklin collected 69 pairs of pajamas to benefit local children in need for the holidays.
Bust Water Use Myths in Water Spots Video ContestLocal area middle and high school students can win cash prizes and the opportunity to view their video on the Raley Field Jumbotron
Placer SPCA seeks 2017 Hero Awards NominationsRoseville, CA - Placer SPCA is seeking nominations for the 2017 Hero Awards, to be presented at the 16th annual Funny Bones Comedy & Awards Night
Beatles vs. Stones Tribute at Harlows this MarchThe debate between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones has been going on ever since they first crossed paths on the charts 53 years ago
Man Still Recovering from TBITwo years back, I featured Daniel Mignerey who somehow survived life-threatening injuries on February 6, 2015
Rocklin Library hosts Lend A Heart Therapy DogsRocklin, CA- The Doggone Good Reading Group meets the second Tuesday of every month from 3:30 to 4:30 at the Rocklin Library
Placer Vineyards granted Regional General PermitJust west of Roseville, Placer Vineyards was granted its Regional General Permit
NEWS: In Case You Missed It