2013 Kia Optima Hybrid Review
The Kia Optima Hybrid’s powertrain falls short of critics’ expectations and its fuel economy isn’t as good as rival hybrids’, but its long list of standard features and long warranty may appeal to some shoppers.
The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid has a four-cylinder engine and electric motor paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. At 36/40 mpg city/highway, the Optima Hybrid’s fuel economy is good for the class, but among midsize hybrids, it isn’t very good. For example, the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid use less fuel. Many test drivers are disappointed with the Kia Optima Hybrid’s powertrain, saying that the transition from gas to electric power is jarring, and that it feels a bit lethargic when accelerating from a stop. Also, several test drivers say the Optima Hybrid’s regenerative brakes feel numb. Critics do say that the Optima Hybrid has composed handling.
Some reviewers are content with the materials and seat comfort in the Optima Hybrid's cabin, though some think the plastics aren’t up to the class standard and that the sloping roofline cuts into rear headroom too much. They wish the trunk was larger, but they understand that the battery pack limits the cargo area’s space. Although the back seat doesn’t fold down, there is a pass-through. Standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, a cooled glove box, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary jacks and push-button start. Buyers can upgrade with features like Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, navigation, a rearview camera, a panoramic sunroof, an Infinity audio system, a heated steering wheel and power-folding sideview mirrors. Though critics don’t discuss the Optima Hybrid’s features much, some are surprised that the car offers so many luxury features that are typically found on more expensive cars.
- "… 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
- "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)
Other Cars to Consider
If you do more city driving than highway driving, the Toyota Camry Hybrid gets much better fuel economy in the city than the Optima Hybrid does. Test drivers are impressed that the Camry Hybrid has a seamless transition from gas to electric power.
The Ford Fusion Hybrid’s fuel economy ratings blow the Optima Hybrid’s out of the water, as it has some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class. Auto critics like the Fusion Hybrid’s quiet powertrain, impressive power from a stop and roomy cabin.
Details: 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid
The five-seat 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid is available in two trims: LX and EX. 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 only minor changes for 2013, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 and 2012 model years, as well as the current model year.