Kia Optima Hybrid

#12 in Midsize Cars Overall Score: 8.3 / 10
2017 Kia Optima Hybrid View More Photos »
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2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid ranks 12 out of 19 Midsize Cars.

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid has a low price for a hybrid midsize sedan and delivers exceptional fuel economy, especially on the highway. Its infotainment system is standard equipment, while most competitors make it an option.

SEATING


5

MPG


39

  CITY


46

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


FWD

HP


192-202
See full 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid specs ┬╗

Pros & Cons

  • Good highway fuel economy
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Flexible cargo space
  • Smooth, comfortable ride
  • Expensive pricing above base trim
  • Lack of standard active safety features

Notable for 2017

  • New hybrid powertrain with 10 percent improvement in fuel economy
  • Receives same updates as all-new nonhybrid 2017 Kia Optima

Kia Optima Hybrid Rankings and Research

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid ranking is based on its score within the Midsize Cars category. Currently the Kia Optima Hybrid has a score of 8.3 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 47 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.3
Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.8
Interior: 7.6
Safety: 10.0
Reliability: 4_0

Rankings

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Pictures

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

By Keith Griffin June 22, 2017

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid has a low price for a hybrid midsize sedan and delivers exceptional fuel economy, especially on the highway. Its infotainment system is standard equipment, while most competitors make it an option.

Is the Kia Optima Hybrid a Good Car?

There is no shortage of good things to say about the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid. It has good fuel economy, a standout active safety system, strong power from its gas engine/electric motor combination, and plenty of passenger space up front. Its ride is smooth and there are a number of standard features, including a 7-inch touch screen, a rearview camera, and satellite radio.

Should I Buy the Kia Optima Hybrid?

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid is a great choice. Only the Ford Fusion Hybrid costs less (by a couple hundred dollars), but the Kia packs more standard features into its cabin than the Ford does. The Optima Hybrid’s 7-inch touch screen is a nice touch – and it’s better than what you’ll find in competitors.

Space is better in the Optima Hybrid, too. Its battery placement gives it good cargo room compared with competitors like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid. Front-row legroom favors the Optima Hybrid, but the Camry Hybrid offers more rear legroom.

Compare the Optima Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, and Camry Hybrid »

We Did the Research for You: 47 Pieces of Data Analyzed

We researched and analyzed 47 data points on the Kia Optima Hybrid to help you make a well-informed buying decision. Our data looks at reliability ratings, crash test scores, expert reviews, and EPA fuel economy estimates.

The Kia Optima Hybrid is completely redesigned for 2017 (as is the 2017 Kia Optima, which is reviewed separately). The hybrid has a smaller, more efficient powertrain. There’s also a more compact, lightweight, high-density lithium-polymer battery pack that delivers increased performance for better overall fuel economy.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our automotive team has more than seven decades of combined experience working in the auto industry. You can trust our analysis because we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from manufacturers, and the advertising on our site is handled by an outside team.

How Much Does the Kia Optima Hybrid Cost?

The base 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid starts at $25,995. That’s more than the average price for a midsize sedan but less than you’ll pay for most midsize hybrids. There are two Optima Hybrid configurations: Premium (the base model) and EX. The second trim level starts at $30,990.

For a closer look at each trim level and its standard and optional features, see the “Which Kia Optima Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?” section below. Looking to buy now? Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Optima Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Optima Hybrid or Ford Fusion Hybrid?

The 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid has a starting price of $25,295, making it the least expensive hybrid in the midsize car class. However, its lower price doesn’t necessarily make it the better choice.

The Fusion Hybrid and Optima Hybrid both have nicer interiors than most of their competitors. However, their infotainment systems are not created equal. The Fusion Hybrid’s base infotainment system relies on voice prompts and has a smaller screen than the Kia Optima Hybrid’s system.

The Fusion Hybrid delivers a sporty ride without sacrificing fuel economy. The Kia Optima Hybrid delivers a more comfort-focused ride. Horsepower difference between the two hybrids is insignificant.

With its sporty performance and lower starting price, the Fusion Hybrid is the better choice – with one caveat. If good infotainment ranks high on your list, pick the Optima Hybrid.

Which Is Better: Kia Optima Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid?

The Toyota Camry Hybrid starts at $26,790. The Kia Optima Hybrid undercuts its base price by almost $800.

By a slight margin, the Toyota gets more horsepower from its combined gas engine and electric motor than the Kia. However, the Camry Hybrid’s fuel economy can’t quite match the Optima Hybrid’s. Still, you’ll only spend $50 more per year in gas to drive the Camry Hybrid.

The Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid have roughly the same size passenger cabins. The Optima Hybrid has more front legroom, but the Camry Hybrid has considerably more rear legroom. Tall drivers will appreciate the Optima Hybrid, but the Camry Hybrid makes a better Uber car. There’s a better infotainment system inside the base Kia Optima Hybrid, but both share generally nice interiors with good fit and finish.

The edge goes to the Kia Optima Hybrid based on its lower starting price and better infotainment system. Otherwise there is little to distinguish the two. Why not save almost $800?

Compare the Optima Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, and Camry Hybrid »

Optima Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the Optima Hybrid Seat?

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid seats five. Up front, there’s plenty of space for driver and passenger. The rear seats are spacious, but some competitors offer more. The rear seats split 60/40; a trait not common in hybrid sedans.

Optima Hybrid and Car Seats

Complete LATCH car-seat systems are located in the Optima Hybrid’s outside rear seats, and there’s an upper tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not rated the ease of use of the Optima Hybrid’s LATCH equipment. However, the gas-powered Optima – which has the same system – earns the second-highest rating of Acceptable because the lower anchors are buried deep in the seats.

Optima Hybrid Interior Quality

The passenger compartment of the Kia Optima Hybrid demonstrates a great finish with comfortable seating in both rows. The dashboard’s layout is concise with intuitive controls, and the standard infotainment system is equal to what competitors offer as optional.

Optima Hybrid Cargo Space

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid’s cargo space measures 13.4 cubic feet. That’s 2.5 less cubic feet than the standard 2017 Kia Optima offers. The Camry Hybrid has 13.1 cubic feet, and the Fusion Hybrid is about a full grocery bag behind the Optima Hybrid at 12 cubic feet.

Optima Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Inside the Kia Optima Hybrid you will find the UVO infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration. Other features include Bluetooth, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a 7-inch touch screen with radio, a rearview camera, and satellite radio, as well as auxiliary and USB audio input jacks.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Optima Hybrid Performance

Optima Hybrid Engine: About Average

A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor powered by a high-density lithium-polymer battery pack produce 193 horsepower. That’s slightly better than the Fusion Hybrid’s 188 horsepower and a hair worse than the Camry Hybrid’s 200-horsepower powertrain.

The Optima Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission instead of the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) found in the Camry and Fusion hybrids. While CVTs can whine at higher speeds, the Optima Hybrid’s transmission remains hushed. Additionally, the Optima Hybrid includes a virtual engine sound system, which helps pedestrians hear the Optima Hybrid coming when it is running on only battery power.

Optima Hybrid Gas Mileage: Keep It on the Highway

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid shines best on the highway, with an EPA rating of 46 mpg (and a city rating of 39 mpg). That highway ranking places toward the top among midsize hybrids, with only the Honda Accord Hybrid topping it at 47 mpg on the highway. The Fusion Hybrid has an EPA rating of 43 mpg in the city and 41 on the highway, and the Camry Hybrid scores 42/38 mpg city/highway. Annual fuel costs among the Optima, Fusion, and Camry hybrids only differ by $50.

Optima Hybrid Ride and Handling: Smooth, Not Sporty

Like its gas-only counterpart, the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid has accurate steering and smooth balance through curvy roads. It’s no sports car, which means it delivers a smooth midsize sedan experience. Compared to rivals, the Fusion Hybrid is pretty sporty, while the Camry’s ride is best described as soft.

Read more about performance »

Optima Hybrid Reliability

Is the Kia Optima Hybrid Reliable?

The Kia Optima Hybrid has above-average reliability with a score of four out of five. That’s a good score within the midsize car segment, and it’s better than most vehicles on the road.

Kia Optima Hybrid Warranty

Kia covers the Optima Hybrid and its hybrid batteries with a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Optima Hybrid Safety

Optima Hybrid Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid five out of five stars in overall safety and five stars in its individual crash tests. The Camry Hybrid also earns five stars overall. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not rated the Optima Hybrid.

Optima Hybrid Safety Features

The Kia Optima Hybrid lacks advanced standard safety features beyond a rearview camera. Advanced active safety features like rear park assist, blind spot detection with lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and autonomous emergency braking are offered as options. Some are available as part of a $1,795 Hybrid Convenience package in the Premium trim. In the EX trim, all active safety technology becomes available with the Technology package for $5,000.

Read more about safety »

Which Kia Optima Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The Kia Optima Hybrid is all-new for 2017. It comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a 38-kilowatt electric motor that make a combined 193 horsepower. It’s paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.

The EX trim costs about $5,000 more than the base Premium trim. That extra money buys you leather seating, an improved sound system, and navigation. These features are nice to have, but they’re difficult to justify when a gas-engine Kia Optima EX with the same features costs thousands of dollars less. Stick with the Optima Hybrid Premium trim.

Kia Optima Hybrid Premium

The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium ($25,995) includes cloth seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, the UVO eServices infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear vents, Bluetooth, push-button start with smart key, a drive mode system with Normal, Eco, and Sport modes, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and a 7-inch touch-screen color display with radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, and satellite radio. Additionally, you’ll get auxiliary and USB audio input jacks, as well as body-color power-adjustable heated outside mirrors with one-touch triple turn signal indicators.

Available active safety features in the Premium trim include rear park assist, blind spot detection with lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert. Some active safety features are available as part of a $1,795 Hybrid Convenience package. Other available items include rear air conditioning vents, a 12-way power driver’s seat with four-way lumbar support, and sound-insulating acoustic front door glass.

Kia Optima Hybrid EX

The Kia Optima Hybrid EX ($30,990) adds leather seats, a 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat with four-way power lumbar support, a six-way adjustable front passenger seat with height adjuster, heated front seats and steering wheel, a surround sound audio system with 10 speakers including a subwoofer, and a navigation system with an 8-inch touch-screen color display, Sirius traffic, and an integrated rearview camera. You’ll also get a USB charger (center console, two ports), a rear 12-volt charger, acoustic front door windows, and an automatic windshield defog system.

Available features in the EX trim are numerous. They include lane departure warning, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, advanced smart cruise control, a 10-way power-adjustable front passenger seat with two-way power lumbar, cooled front seats, and heated rear seats. In the EX trim, all active safety technology becomes available with the Technology package for $5,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

See 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2017 Kia Hybrid Optima is a compelling mixture of excellent highway fuel economy, a smooth ride, and a comfortable interior. It lacks any standard active safety features apart from a rearview camera. However, that’s an issue shared by other midsize hybrids. The Optima Hybrid has a low starting price and good standard infotainment features, making this a compelling choice.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Automakers are stuck between a rock and hard place with hybrid vehicles. On one hand, efficient hybrids are a necessary evil – for lack of a better phrase – to hit increasingly stringent CAFE standards. But on the other hand, low fuel prices mean it takes an increasingly long time for consumers to see a return on the investment of a hybrid's price premium. These factors have pushed automakers even harder to squeeze every mile per gallon possible out their hybrid offerings. That's inevitably led to powertrain innovations designed to maximize just how long and how far hybrids can run on pure electric power and how often the gas engine can shut down. Occasionally, this doesn't work out all that well – as is the case with the new Nissan Rogue Hybrid, for instance – but there are companies getting things right. Kia, with its 2017 Optima Hybrid, is one of them." -- Autoblog
  • "The South Korean automaker has rewritten its history books, with recent chapters featuring a long list of accolades, particularly of the best-in-class variety. The 2017 Optima Hybrid, however, does not fit the bill. In fact, against likeminded model-year competitors, Kia's version lands in the middle of the pack when it comes to EPA estimated fuel economy." -- New York Daily News
  • "Kia's emphasis on value has softened as of late, as evidenced by this hybrid. While it starts at an attractive $26,845 ($3595 less than the base Accord hybrid), that's for a relatively sparsely equipped model without items such as power seats or blind-spot warning. A loaded Optima EX hybrid like the one we drove crests $37,000, which is nearly $6000 more than an equivalently equipped Optima EX with a 2.4-liter engine. That's a tough pill to swallow, especially when gas is cheap-a headwind that all automakers selling electrified vehicles are fighting right now. Beyond the price premium, however, the Optima hybrid demands few compromises compared with the standard model-so few that it's easy to forget you're driving a hybrid. With an impressive blend of practicality, refinement, and style, the Optima is a solid contender among mid-size hybrid sedans, particularly for those who don't look solely at the EPA numbers." -- Car and Driver
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