Kia Optima Hybrid to start at $26,500

Posted: May 11, 2011 10:56 a.m.

Demand for fuel-efficient cars is high, especially since gas prices are up and Japanese automakers are still experiencing production shortages. Car shoppers aren’t out of luck, however, as the Kia has announced a starting price of $26,500 on the new Optima Hybrid. “Set to hit showrooms in June, the Optima Hybrid employs a Kia-developed powertrain that includes several innovations, including advanced lithium polymer batteries from LG Chem, to deliver up to 35 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 miles per gallon on the highway,” says Kia in a press release.

Along with improved fuel economy, the Optima Hybrid will be similarly equipped to the $18,995 Kia Optima LX, but will also add standard features such as dual-zone climate control, push-button start, leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat.

The Optima Hybrid will also be the first Kia to feature the automakers UVO infotainment system. “This system follows the same vein as Ford’s Sync, but with a unique layout and design found only in the UVO offering,” says Left Lane News. “UVO offers Bluetooth-based wireless connectivity to enable drivers and passengers to operate their phone, receive and respond to text messages and access music with voice commands and simple button commands.”

The Optima Hybrid shares its drivetrain with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, but costs more than its corporate cousin after destination charges. “While all trim levels of the gasoline-only Optima are priced lower than comparable Sonatas, this is not the case with the hybrids,” writes Car and Driver. “The Optima hybrid is priced $705 more than the Sonata hybrid, which starts at $26,545.”

Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.