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
About Weidel on Wheels
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News HeadlinesSilversun Pickups Summer Tour with Third Eye BlindFollowing their upcoming BottleRock Napa Valley performance, this summer, Silversun Pickups will embark on a 30-date amphitheater tour opening for Third Eye Blind. The "Summer Gods" Tour celebrates Third Eye Blind's 20th anniversary
Garland Ranch Regional Park: Tranquility in Monterey CountyCarmel Valley, California - The "granddaddy" of the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Garland Ranch is a fine elder statesman of parks.
Roseville Firefighters Union Blast City's Proposed Staffing CutsRoseville, Calif. - With rising temperatures and fire season upon us, city leaders in Roseville have proposed drastic staffing cuts to the Roseville Fire Department
Oak Creek BMX Track in Roseville Receiving an UpgradeRoseville, CA - Oak Creek BMX is currently undergoing a major track rebuild that was primarily funded by a $10,000 capital improvement grant from Placer Valley Tourism
Falls Event Center in Roseville to Host Align Capital Region Orientation(Roseville, CA) Launched earlier this year, Align Capital Region (ACR) brings together people, programs, and resources to achieve greater outcomes in education, workforce development, and community vitality
Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Extraordinary on the California CoastCarmel Highlands, CA - Hyatt Carmel Highlands, a century's long sentinel celebrates this year and looks to the future while standing guard at the gateway to all the grandeur that is Big Sur.
Homeowners Not MovingRealtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about one of the causes of low inventory of homes on the market and how interest rates are encouraging owners to stay in their home longer
Roseville Gas Prices Jump Higher before Memorial Day Weekend TravelRoseville, CA - Roseville area gas prices have jumped this past week pushing prices at the low prices leaders near the $2.70 per gallon mark
WJU Names New Jake McKinley as Baseball CoachROCKLIN, Calif. - Jake McKinley, who spent the last four years as a head baseball coach at Menlo College, has been named the William Jessup baseball head coach.
13 Tips to Help Prevent Skin CancerAuburn - Protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun is a simple way to help prevent the development of skin cancer.
PCWA Awards $70,000 in GrantsAUBURN, Calif. - The Placer County Water (PCWA) Agency Board of Directors awarded five grants totaling $70,345 to local public water purveyors...
Corey Harper Releases New Video, Ready for BottleRock Napa ValleyHailing from Portland, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Corey Harper premieres the music video for his new track "Favorite Part of Loving You" on Relix
NEWS: In Case You Missed It