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Road Test: 2018 Kia Optima PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid)

2019 Kia Optima PHEV

When You’re Not Fairly Prepared For A Battery Electrical Automotive

Surveys present that increasingly more American drivers are contemplating battery electrical automobiles (BEVs) however are nonetheless hesitant in making the acquisition. There are a number of causes, certainly one of which continues to be “range anxiety.” That’s the worry of depleting the battery’s electrical energy, leaving one stranded in the midst of who is aware of the place.

When you like the thought of an electrical car however are holding again, you need to think about a plug-in electrical hybrid (PHEV). It’s two automobiles in a single; a brief vary electrical car and a hybrid car. Meaning when the battery is depleted a gasoline engine mechanically takes over and operates as a regular gasoline-powered hybrid. Thus, vary nervousness is not a problem.

Sure, like an electrical automotive the battery must be recharged, both from a regular electrical outlet or house charger or, from a public charging station. If the battery is not delivering electrons, simply carry on driving and fill the fuel tank till you’ll be able to recharge.

2018 Kia Optima PHEV

The Kia Optima plug-in was launched for the 2017 mannequin yr. For 2018 there are not any main modifications; simply paint and trim colours.

2019 Kia Optima PHEV

Somewhat electrical, however much more miles general 

Like final yr, the 2018 Kia Optima PHEV is hundreds of dollars lower than different comparable fashions within the phase together with the Ford Fusion Energi. Though just one trim degree exists for the automotive, the EX trim, it’s at a degree that the majority consumers shall be on the lookout for.

When combining the plug-in Optima’s electrical driving vary with the hybrid vary, the automotive can journey as much as 610 miles. On simply electrical energy alone, it could actually go so far as 29 miles earlier than needing a recharge. On gas-powered efficiency, it’s EPA rated at 40-mpg mixed metropolis and freeway, whereas its electrical energy financial system is 103 MPGe (Miles Per Gallon equal). That alone is an effective sufficient purpose to examine the automotive out and take a check drive.

As a plug-in hybrid, the 2018 Kia Optima PHEV has two energy sources: a 2.Zero-liter gasoline-powered engine with 154 horsepower and a 66 horsepower electrical motor. Beneath acceleration, the engine and electrical motor pool their assets to offer a mixed system output of 220 horsepower. That places it proper in keeping with conventional gas-powered automobiles in its phase.

What distinguishes the Optima plug-in from different PHEVs is its six-speed automated transmission, a relative anomaly some drivers will favor over a constantly variable transmission (CVT) extra widespread to hybrids. Whereas different carmakers have gone as far as to simulate stepped gearing of their constantly variable automated transmissions, Kia presents the actual factor, making the car really feel very similar to a standard gas-powered automotive.

Exterior and Inside

When Kia redesigned the Optima in 2016 they took a step again from the forward-looking, forward-thinking instance of daring and aggressive design of the earlier model. The look is conservative and mature. With the Optima PHEV, the automaker put type within the service of perform — higher aerodynamics that matches the Tesla Mannequin S electrical sedan’s drag coefficient of simply Zero.24 Cd.

From the surface, the plug-in Optima’s shapely hood, elongated dimensions, sloping roofline, and curves trace at a sportier mission. The automotive has Kia’s recognizable sporty honeycombed entrance grille together with chrome-accented exterior trim.

2019 Kia Optima PHEV

Nice for individuals; much less so for cargo

Inside, the conservatively laid out driver’s quarters options merely organized buttons and knobs, and occupant area back and front that’s roomy and cozy. Nevertheless, the sloping roofline cuts into rear head area, however extensive door openings assist taller passengers enter and exit with out a lot fuss. There’s simply sufficient head room for six-footers, however taller passengers might need to think about calling shotgun—or taking the keys altogether.

I gave the plug-in Optima an enormous demerit for cargo capability. There’s much less cargo area within the trunk than on most compact hatchbacks — simply 9.89 cubic ft. If it’s meant to be a household automotive, it’s for one which doesn’t want to hold any child stuff past a diaper bag.

2019 Kia Optima PHEV

This Optima has plug energy

Specification ranges are excessive with the only EX trim degree. Choices embrace cruise management, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, heated steering wheel and leather-based seats with heating for the entrance row and 10-way energy adjustment for the driving force.

The 2018 Optima Plug-in Hybrid continues Kia’s knack for creating robust showroom attraction by together with hot-button options as commonplace. These embrace Kia’s UVO’s infotainment telematics system with an eight inch show display. It consists of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to Bluetooth hands-free cell phone linking, satellite tv for pc radio and a rear-camera show. Add to the listing an auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface for iPods and different digital media, plus a tilt/telescoping steering wheel fitted with audio, Bluetooth, and cruise controls. A bonus is the usual Harman Kardon 10-speaker audio system.

For many who need the newest in complete security tech, there’s the Non-compulsory Know-how Package deal. It provides autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, ahead collision mitigation, rear park help, LED headlights with dynamic bending mild, panoramic sunroof and LED inside lighting. You additionally get ventilated entrance seats, a 10-way energy entrance passenger seat and heated rear seats.

On the Road

Driving the 2018 Optima Plug-in Hybrid is a soothing respite to the bustle and hubbub of metropolis visitors — properly soundproofed, luxuriously appointed and nice to drive. Kia’s cause for selecting an automated transmission moderately than the extra widespread hybrid constantly variable transmission (CVT) was to deal with the grievance that hybrids have been boring to drive.

2019 Kia Optima PHEV

Loads of energy if you want it

Mash the throttle and the six-speed transmission winds properly towards prime rpm, shifting every time someplace round 6,000 rpm, when the complete tug of torque appears able to run out. So it might appear that Kia’s objective of attaining a driving expertise that intently parallels a standard automotive is completed.

As for dealing with, the automotive has balanced agility for the hybrid sedan class and the suspension retains every thing safe. The experience consists and cozy with the suspension absorbing potholes and tough pavement.

My favourite facet of the Kia’s street manners is its responsive steering. It has a fast and exact feeling, is balanced and agency, however by no means twitchy. Regenerative and hydraulic braking play a task within the electrical hybrid system and the brake pedal felt agency and simply hauled down velocity.

Accelerating reasonably and retaining tempo with 70-75 mph freeway visitors, after diving 236 miles in our EX check automotive almost equally between metropolis and freeway driving we averaged 42.eight mpg. What probably helped beat the EPA score was the hybrid system’s capacity to journey on electrical energy at 70 mph, one thing I discovered pretty straightforward to do.

Within the Market

The 2018 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid faces off towards a number of mid-size sedan rivals. These embrace Kia’s sister firm’s Hyundai Sonata PHEV, Toyota’s Prius Prime, the Ford Fusion Energi, Honda Readability PHEV and Chevrolet’s outgoing Volt.

At $35,210, the 2018 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid is priced competitively. Hyundai’s Sonata PHEV is priced from $33,250 to $38,850, whereas the Prius Prime costs vary from $27,300 to $33,300. Ford provides three trim ranges for the Fusion Energi with a worth beginning at $33,400 to $41,400.

Honda’s Readability PHEV is available in two flavors, Base and Touring, with a sticker worth of $33,000 for the bottom trim and $36,600 for the Touring. Chevrolet is ceasing producion of the Volt subsequent February, so anticipate closeout costs quickly. Within the meantime the Volt has a worth of $33,220 for the LT trim and $35,570 for the Premier trim.

2019 Kia Optima PHEV

Competitors’s on the market, however Kia has an edge

Every of the above PHEVs have totally different electric-only driving ranges in addition to totally different hybrid-only driving ranges in addition to totally different normal and non-compulsory options. So, it’s necessary to take a look at the small print.

However the 2018 Optima Plug-in Hybrid presents a compelling purpose to  purchase — Kia’s guarantee. Primary protection is five-years/60,000-miles bumper-to-bumper, and 10-years/100,000-miles for the hybrid powertrain, which incorporates the battery pack, electrical motor, gear drive unit, electrical energy management unit, onboard charger, the works.

Then there’s the guarantee knockout punch—a lifetime guarantee for the battery pack. If the lithium polymer battery fails, Kia will exchange the battery and canopy recycling prices of the previous battery pack freed from cost to the unique proprietor.

That’s spectacular and reassuring. If for no different cause than the guarantee, if in case you have determined it’s time to maneuver to a plug-in hybrid, the 2018 Kia Optima PHEV ought to be in your buying listing.

Associated Tales You May Take pleasure in—the PHEV Challengers

Information: 2019 Ford Fusion Energi Will get Extra Vary

Information: 2018 Hyundai Sonata PHEV Will get Worth Minimize, Extra Vary

Road Check: 2017 Hyundai Sonata PHEV

Flash Drive: 2018 Toyota Prius Prime

Road Check: 2017 Ford Fusion Energi

Road Check: 2018 Honda Readability PHEV

Road Check: 2019 Chevrolet Volt.


Clear Fleet Report is loaned free check automobiles from automakers to guage, sometimes for every week at a time. Our street exams are based mostly on this one-week drive of a brand new car. Due to this we don’t handle points comparable to long-term reliability or complete value of possession. As well as, we are sometimes invited to producer occasions highlighting new automobiles or know-how. As a part of these occasions we could also be provided free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our greatest to current our unvarnished evaluations of automobiles and information irrespective of those inducements.

Our focus is on automobiles that provide one of the best gasoline financial system of their class, which leads us to emphasise electrical automobiles, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and diesels. We additionally function these environment friendly gas-powered automobiles which might be among the many prime mpg automobiles of their class. As well as, we goal to supply critiques and information on superior know-how and the choice gasoline car market. We welcome any suggestions from car house owners and are devoted to offering a discussion board for various viewpoints. Please tell us your views at [email protected]