2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
The Hyundai Sonata hybrid wrapped in the Kia Optima’s burlier skin. Like the gas-electric Sonata, the Optima is powered by a 166-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a 40-hp electric motor. Total output is 206 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Although the EPA hasn’t officially rated the Optima hybrid, it should get the same 35 mpg city/40 highway projections as the Sonata.
The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid—the brand’s first hybrid—borrows the drivetrain found on the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: a 2.4-liter engine combined with six-speed automatic transmission, a 30kW electric motor and lightweight lithium polymer batteries to provide total 206 horsepower and 36 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway.
We sometimes wonder why Ford and others bother with extremely low-volume higher-priced derivatives of its hybrids—for example, the Mercury Milan version of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. But the gas-electric Optima could be lower priced—mid-$20,000s, but no official MSRP yet—and yet a more attractive alternative to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.Kia unveiled the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. It goes on sale in spring 2011.
The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid will start at $27,250, including a $750 destination charge, when it arrives in showrooms in June.
Kia's first hybrid in the U.S. is $705 more expensive than the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid — the sister vehicle to the Optima Hybrid. But it is slightly cheaper than a 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid.
A $5,000 hybrid premium technology package on the top-of-the-line Optima Hybrid adds a long list of items, including a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, a navigation system and an eight-speaker Infinity audio system.Bluetooth and USB connectivity are standard and well-implemented in the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, even at the most basic trim level. The Technology package is a fantastic deal, combining navigation with traffic and premium audio.
The Kia Optima Hybrid wowed us with its advanced drivetrain and great cabin tech, but slightly disappointing fuel economy and odd cabin tech packaging keep this green car from getting top marks.
With new models being churning out both here and abroad, Kia is offering a range of vehicles that hit consumer needs on multiple levels. The latest member of the family is the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid, and it's looking to speak to the green-tinged car-shopping contingent.