The new 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid has been redesigned to look, feel and drive better than any other vehicle in its class; no small task given the heavy competition from established vets Toyota, Nissan and Ford. But where competitors stumble, the new Optima delivers, combining premium luxury styling and options with an intelligent new hybrid drive system engineered to outperform the field.
Stunning new sculpting characterizes the 2011 Optima. Longer, wider and lower than the outgoing model, the newest Optima features a broad, balanced stance, but an appearance and profile that’s ultimately leaner and more streamlined than in years past. Premium elements like large alloy wheels, sweeping chrome trim, high-intensity headlamps, LED taillights and a subtle rear lip spoiler suggest a sophisticated refinement typically reserved for far more expensive, full-size luxury sedans.
The most exciting addition to Kia’s midsize four-door is its new, state-of-the-art hybrid powertrain, known as the Parallel Drive System. The Optima combines an energetic 2.4-liter engine with a powerful electric motor and an advanced, lightweight lithium polymer battery; other hybrids, like the Camry, use larger, heavier and weaker nickel-metal hydride batteries. Kia’s lithium polymer battery also holds its charge up to 25 percent longer a nickel-metal hydride battery. The Optima can run exclusively on zero-emission electric power up to 62 mph with the gas engine kicking in at higher speeds and tougher conditions. The Optima Hybrid’s electric motor produces 151.2 lb/ft of torque by itself. When combined with the gasoline engine, the hybrid delivers a little over 206 hp and 195 lb/ft of torque, as well as an estimated class-leading 40 mpg (more than the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid).
Interestingly, the Optima Hybrid spurns the typical, hybrid-standard Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in favor of a more conventional, smooth-shifting six-speed automatic, resulting in a sporty twist and a much more rewarding and enjoyable driving
experience. This nonconventional hybrid driving experience is accentuated further by the Optima’s ultra-strong, high-tensile steel unibody construction, which gives the vehicle better lateral stiffness and stability, and interacts nicely with an independent front and rear suspension system for excellent handling precision and smoothness around corners and at high speeds.
Comfortable, roomy and modern, the hybrid’s cabin continues Kia’s habit of offering premium luxury amenities at a reasonable midsize price. The sedan’s available features range from heated and cooled leather seats to a heated leather steering wheel with elegant trim and a modern, attractive gauge and instrument design. Look for Kia’s new optional panoramic sunroof, as well as a new LCD display in the gauge cluster designed with an active EcoMinder® indicator, which encourages fuel-efficient driving.
For technology, expect available options like Bluetooth hands-free communication, easy MP3/USB connectivity, a premium audio option (like the eight-speaker Infinity® stereo), a pushbutton ignition and a navigation system with rearview camera. The Optima also promises to continue topping the class when it comes to standard safety with Electronic Stability and Traction Control, four-wheel antilock brakes with Brake Assist, Hill-Assist Control and six airbags.
The dramatic physical transformation of the all-new 2011 Kia Optima is merely the beginning; the release of its state-of-the-art hybrid powertrain promises to catapult the redesigned four-door to the top of the midsize segment. Contact us for the latest information about the new Kia Optima Hybrid’s availability.