Quiet EV Newcomer, The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid Taken Out For A Spin – Video

3 months ago by Mark Kane 6

To say that the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid is being launched without a lot of fanfare, would be an understatement. By a raising of hands, how many know that:

Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

A) the Kia Optima was getting a plug-in version and,
B) that it is scheduled to arrive in the US a few weeks (~December 2016)/out in limited quantities in Europe now?

If you went two-for-two, and also know that Mercedes currently makes a plug-in GLE as well, you are a master of obscure knowledge…and please feel free to email us about a writing gig here at InsideEVs!

Fortunately, Fully Charged’s Robert Llewellyn got an early copy of the car from Kia (for a couple of days!) and took the Optima Plug-In Hybrid for an extended review.

And despite heading into the review without high expectations and/or enthusiasm, the Kia Optima PHEV made a great impression on Robert; and turns out to be a very sophisticated plug-in car.

A sentiment we can agree with, as a member of the staff here picked up one of the first copies of the Hyundai Sonata PHV to use as a daily driver and it performs as admirably as Mr. Llewellyn discovers in this review.  (As one might surmise, the Hyundai Sonata PHV and Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid are badge-engineered copies of each other).

Sister-car to the Kia, the plug-in hybrid Hyundai Sonata

Sister-car to the Kia, the plug-in hybrid Hyundai Sonata

In the UK, pricing on the plug-in Optima starts from £31,495 (39,185) after the £2,500 plug-in car grant as been applied.  US pricing has yet to be released, but given it’s Hyundai twin is priced from $34,600…a few bucks cheaper than that seems in order.

Obligatory "trunk shot" of the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Obligatory “trunk shot” of the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

“The very sophisticated Kia Optima won me over. At first I was unimpressed, just another plug in hybrid, big petrol engine, all the usual caveats.

However after many miles driving it, I started to appreciate the effort that has clearly been put into this car to make it stand out.

And yes, it’s the CLIFTON suspension bridge, not Bristol… duuuur, everyone knows that.”

Check out Kia’s brochure/spec sheet on the 2017 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid here.

Quick specs:

  • 9.8 kWh battery and 27 miles expected EPA range (54 km / 33 miles NEDC)
  • 0-60 mph in 9.1 seconds
  • 50 kW electric motor and 2.0-liter “Nu” four-cylinder GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, power output is targeted for a class-leading 154 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • estimated 600 miles of total driving range
  • Full charge in less-than 3 hours via a 240V (Level 2) charger
  • segment’s lowest coefficient of drag, tied with the Tesla Model S at 0.25 Cd

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7 responses to "Quiet EV Newcomer, The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid Taken Out For A Spin – Video"

  1. DJ says:

    Looks like a nice car but really I would hope for 40 or 50 real world miles.

  2. Mikael says:

    Scheduled to arrive? It’s been out since September…

  3. Bill Howland says:

    Great!!!

    33 miles that Robert obtained is (not what I would like, but realistically) just fine for the typical driver.

    My Nephew driving the old Volt is probably pretty typical – he likes the VOLT seeing as it is quiet, peppy, and doesn’t use much gasoline. He doesn’t care that it is an electric, he just likes that he doesn’t have to put much gas in it. We drive the car about 1/2 and 1/2, and he Always is the one to buy the gasoline since I religiously NEVER run the engine – I always make sure the car has enough charge to complete whatever commute I’m doing.

    But he doesn’t care that much. He just likes that fact that at least 2/3 of the miles he drives doesn’t use any gasoline and he may therefore get effectively 90-100 mpg. Whereas with me it is thousands.

    So this car would fit the typical mindset very well – especially in a European country where electricity isn’t too pricey and gasoline is $8 per US 128 ounce gallon.

    Those in the UK – How many ounces are in a British Gallon? I used to think there were 5 quarts imperial to 4 quarts US, but then a Canadian friend tell me that the QUARTS are different – ours are 32.. Hopefully the ounces are the same – which would make sense since that would mean a fluid ounce of water weighs about one ounce.

    1. Miggy says:

      Petrol/Gas in the UK is sold by the Litre.
      See Robert fill up the car in the video.

  4. Murrysville EV says:

    “(As one might surmise, the Hyundai Sonata PHV and Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid are badge-engineered copies of each other).”

    The only badge-engineering between Hyundai and Kia is in their drivetrains, mostly. They don’t share any body panels or interior parts.

    I’m disappointed in the poor throttle response of the car in this test. My 13 Optima Hybrid has a sometimes-dangerous throttle delay that I hoped would be corrected in the newer designs.

  5. PHEVfan says:

    “Class leading 154 hp” – that is for the ICE only. They underpowered the electric motor (50kW, 67hp) and made the ICE more powerful, then claim “class leading”.
    Isn’t the purpose of a PHEV to use the electric motor more? Somebody’s got this a little backwards.

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