We truly like the new Kia optima becasue it’s just such a fine blend of style, practicality, equipments and quality, and with a starting price of just under $19,000 it is superb value as well. And now you can add “Green” to the list of its great features as the Korean company introduces the Kia Optima Hybrid at LA Autoshow.
Powered by an in-house developed hybrid system consisting of a 2.4-litre petrol engine plus 30 kW electric motor, the Kia Optima Hybrid is mainly designed for the US market. The car returns amazing fuel economy of 48 UK mpg (40 US MPG), but then you have to live with poor performance as it does 0 to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds, and has a top speed of 121 mph.
But then you are buying a hybrid, so you are not looking for performance anyway. What you want is economy, convenience and comfort, and the Optima in uncanny in all.
“Kia Motors is proud to unveil its first-ever hybrid for the North American market,” comments Hyoung-Keun Lee, Vice Chairman of Kia Motors Corporation. “The new Optima Hybrid features a unique architecture and is packed with innovative technologies that demonstrate Kia’s on-going commitment to investing in R&D, and to developing environmentally friendly vehicles for the future. “Although these new technologies presented our engineers with a series of complex challenges to overcome, the resulting Optima Hybrid delivers a fully automatic, seamless and enjoyable drive, together with real-world benefits for our customers,” adds Mr. Lee.
As mentioned, the Optima hybrid has a 2.4-litre petrol engine is mated to a small electric motor and drives the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission – without the traditional torque converter. A special clutch is fitted between the engine and motor, enabling the petrol engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so that Optima can be operated in zero-tailpipe-emissions, full-electric drive mode from standstill up to 62 mph.
The hybrid powertrain has a total output of 209 ps and 265 Nm.
When setting off the Optima Hybrid operates in Electric Mode. As vehicle speed rises, the Hybrid Starter motor/Generator (HSG) starts the petrol engine and the clutch is closed, allowing the engine to take over the task of propelling the car. The electric motor switches into hybrid operation and serves as both a secondary engine (during full acceleration and hill-climbing) and a generator to recharge the battery pack as necessary. Whenever the car comes to a stop for more than a few seconds, the petrol engine automatically shuts off to completely eliminate tailpipe emissions.
When braking, the electric motor converts kinetic energy into electricity for storage in the battery pack. The 8.5 kW HSG also functions as a generator to re-charge the battery pack if the state of charge is low and when the car is stationary. Throughout the entire driving experience, under all conditions, the entire hybrid operation is automatic and seamless.
Inside, the instrument panel has an ECO Guide to promote economical driving habits and is contoured toward the driver to suggest a cockpit feel with precise gauges and controls for an overall sport performance experience without sacrificing comfort or roominess.
As for the features, you got the lot, such as six-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, illuminated vanity mirrors and a trip computer further expand the cabin’s luxurious qualities. In addition to offering a comfortable cabin, impressive technology features also come standard throughout, including a Sat-Nav CD/Audio system.
Kia Optima Hybrid / Specifications
Overall Length: 4845 mm
Width: 1830 mm
Height: 1450 mm
Wheel base: 2795 mm
Powertrain / 2.4-litre Hybrid
Capacity/type 2.4-litre, DOHC, 16-valve
Power 168 ps / 166 hp
Torque 209 Nm / 154 lb ft
Power 40.7 ps / 30 kW
Torque 205 Nm / 151 lb ft
Power 209 ps / 206.2 hp
Torque 265 Nm / 195.4 lb ft
Automatic 6-speed (without torque converter)
Clutch Wet type, laminated
Weights & Capacities
Kerb weight 1,583 kg
Fuel tank 65 litres
Boot 280 litres
Urban 43 mpg
Extra-urban 48 mpg
Combined 45 mpg