The Kia Optima sedan has long been favored by offering lots of features for the money, along with a quiet ride and a well-designed interior. Adding a hybrid powertrain that is more powerful and significantly more fuel efficient than a standard gasoline engine seems too much.
The biggest sacrifice for a hybrid powertrain is the loss of some trunk space, which drops 2.5 cubic feet. The 60/40-split folding rear seat available means there is some extra space. The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid is also limited to higher trim levels, so if you are looking for a basic hybrid, you might pass it.
The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid certainly found a place for itself in this segment. Even though we like the driving experience of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, its an older than Optima and clearly need refresher. The new Toyota Camry Hybrid is very efficient but offers fewer features and a less intuitive infotainment interface. The biggest rival is probably the Honda Accord Hybrid, which came fully redesigned this year: It is based on a favorite midsize sedan and does not lose cargo space in the conversion process.
The Optima Hybrid carries over with only minor changes to trim-level content and color options.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid is a five-passenger well-equipped midsize sedan that available in two trim level: Premium and EX. The gasoline-powered Optima is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment for the Premium trim includes 16-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a driver information display, a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.
The optional Convenience package adds rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, power-folding mirrors, laminated front windows to help noise reduction, a power driver seat with memory settings, extra USB ports and rear air vents.
The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid EX include the Convenience package content except for the blind-spot monitoring and parking sensors. Its also adds 17-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 60/40-split folding rear seats, navigation, an 8-inch touchscreen, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with HD radio.
For more luxurious, you can equip the Optima Hybrid EX with the Technology package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, automatic high-beam control, LED adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, ventilated front seats, a power passenger seat, rear side-window sunshades, and heated rear seats. Also include is rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Under the hood, the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor. Base power from the engine alone is 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque. Combined, the hybrid systems produces 192 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque. Power sent to the front wheel through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode.
You will not get the sizzling performance in the Kia Optima Hybrid, but that is the point of this sedan. Acceleration is sufficient, and when you need more power, the engine and the motor will respond well. In track testing, the Optima Hybrid accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds.
With a smooth shift of power between the engine and motor, the Optima Hybrid enable to reach 42 mpg combined (39 city/46 highway) of EPA rating. Models such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid are even more efficient.
Inside, the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid cabin is clean and open. Soft touch material and textured plastic visible throughout. Buttons, knobs and other controls dominate the center stack. Overall, the display is formal, even inviting. Even though it’s not the best interior in its class, it meets or exceeds expectations for mainstream midsize sedans.
Front seats offer plenty of room for larger passengers, and the adjustment range will accommodate short and high passengers. The rear outboard seat benefits from an abundance of legroom, but the headroom is only adequate for adults of average height. The trunks space is measured at 13.4 cubic feet, which is 2.5 cubic feet less than the standard model. The difference is attributed to the battery pack, since it sits behind the rear seat and only partially under the floor.
The 8-inch touchscreen has large, easy-to-press virtual buttons and sharp, readable graphics. The Kia Optima hybrid also uses physical buttons to navigate top-level functions, since they require less concentration to operate accurately and safely on the road. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are appreciated.
Release Date and Price
The official price for the base Optima Hybrid Premium starting at $26,890 (include an $895 destination charge). The EX carries a price-tag of 31,885.