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Kia Optima Hybrid Review

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid ranks 17 out of 18 Affordable Midsize Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Kia Optima Hybrid, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid is ranked:

The Kia Optima Hybrid falls behind its hybrid rivals with worse fuel economy and uneven power delivery, reviewers say, though they praise its luxurious, roomy interior.

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid has a four-cylinder engine, electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission. At 36/40 mpg city/highway, the Optima Hybrid’s fuel economy is low compared to what its midsize hybrid rivals get. Many test drivers are disappointed with the Kia Optima Hybrid’s powertrain, saying it lacks power, has jarring transitions between power sources at times and delivers a noticeable delay of power from a stop. On the other hand, some critics think the transition between gas and electric power is smooth and they think the Optima Hybrid has plenty of power. Reviewers like that the Kia Optima Hybrid has a comfortable ride, somewhat sporty handling, accurate steering and regenerative brakes that feel similar to the brakes in a non-hybrid car.

Reviewers are happy with the high-end materials and spacious, comfortable seats in the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid's cabin, though some note that headroom is limited in the back seat because of the sloping roofline. They wish the trunk was larger, and although the back seat doesn’t fold down when you need to haul large items, there is a pass-through. Test drivers like how simple the Optima Hybrid’s infotainment system is to use. Standard features include satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary jacks, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control and a cooled glove box. Optional features include leather upholstery, heated front seats, a cooled driver’s seat, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, an Infinity audio system, navigation, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, power-folding side mirrors and a panoramic sunroof.

  • "… this car hits the bullseye with an urbane cabin and many unexpected options, including cooled front seats, a heated rear seat, and a heated steering wheel." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "All the parts of this car that are regular Optima are satisfying, but the purpose of a hybrid is, well, that it’s a hybrid. Until the powertrain woes are sorted, that more expensive Fusion is going to look like the far better choice in this segment." -- Car and Driver (2011)
  • "Kia's first-ever hybrid offering in the U.S. embellishes all of the impressive visual and functional elements that constitute the new Optima formula. …" -- Kelley Blue Book (2011)
  • "It's hard not to look at the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid through the lens of the plain-Jane non-hybrid Optima. This stablemate does everything better than - and looks every bit as good as - the hybrid, and does it for a substantially lower purchase price." -- Edmunds (2011)

Kia Optima Hybrid Pictures & Videos

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Other Cars to Consider

The Honda Accord Hybrid’s fuel economy estimates are significantly better than the Optima Hybrid’s. Test drivers like the Accord Hybrid’s abundant power, agile handling and comfortable ride.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid has smooth transitions between gas and electric power and a quiet powertrain, according to reviewers, and its city fuel economy estimate is much higher than the Optima Hybrid’s. The Fusion Hybrid also has a bigger trunk than the Optima Hybrid.

Compare the Optima Hybrid, Accord Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid »

Details: 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid is available in base and EX trims. It has a four-cylinder engine, electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission. The Optima Hybrid debuted for the 2011 model year and since it sees no changes for 2015, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 through 2015 model years.

See 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid specs »

Review Last Updated: 2/20/15

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