It used to be buyers chose hybrid models because of the improved fuel economy and not much else. Fortunately car makers chose to offer the market better designs and more features with these cars. The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid is a prime example of this. In many ways the hybrid is indistinguishable from the conventional vehicles of the Optima line. It features the same attractive exterior body style with plenty of nice accents. In the cabin, things are bit more upscale than one would expect with state of the art technology and good quality materials used in a more refined design than most other midsize sedans.
Of course the thing that really sets this car apart is it fuel economy thanks to the electric motor. For the buyer looking for an affordable hybrid that looks like it isn’t, the Optima Hybrid is worth a look.
New For 2012
For the 2012 model year there were a few changes to the Kia Optima Hybrid line. Take a look at the:
- Front seats redesigned for improved support and comfort.
- Some features have been moved around on trim levels and available packages.
- The Uvo voice command system is available on all except the base models of the Optima Hybrid.
Offered as a mid-sized sedan, the hybrid version of the Kia Optima is available in only one trim level, though there are a couple of package options for this model. This car is equipped with either 16-inch or 17-inch alloy wheels depending if an option package is chosen. The front end and grille of the Optima Hybrid looks just like its more conventional siblings. The grille has a distinctive, narrow shape with the Kia emblem just above the grille on the hood. The headlights slant away from the grille towards the front fenders, giving the model a more modern look. The Optima Hybrid features plenty of metal work along the hood and sides of the vehicle. The doors are scoped in a bit and the rear fenders are accented with decisive lines in the metal as well.
Interior & Cargo
Inside the cabin of the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid there is plenty of good quality materials used along with a decidedly more upscale design than most cars of this class. One of the first things a potential buyer is bound to notice is the spacious amount of room in the cabin. The front and rear of the cabin provide plenty of head and leg room. The rear seat is just fine for most people, but taller passengers might have a bit of a problem especially with models equipped with the optional sunroof. Like other hybrids, trunk space is limited because of the battery pack placement. The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid has about 9.9 cubic feet of available space.
The overall design for the interior, while it still has an abundance of hard plastic, has a more European feel than other models. The hard plastic is textured for a softer, more elegant finish. The plush seating helps give this affordable car the special treatment.
Electronics are featured in the cabin as well. This model is equipped with an interface system and the Uvo system. It controls voice commands to cell phones and audio devices as well as controls the function of the navigation system.
It’s good to know that the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid received high marks in the both independent and government safety crash testing. It was given five stars for frontal and side impact. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave this model a ""Good"" rating in roof and frontal, as well as side impact. This is the highest possible rating for the organization.
Obviously, the Optima Hybrid is equipped with plenty of standard safety features. It has four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction and stability control, and the full assortment of airbags. Airbags are located in the side curtain and side positions. This model also features hill start assist.
As a hybrid naturally things are a little in the powertrain than with conventional cars. The Kia Optima Hybrid is equipped with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain is capable of 206 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Of course it was designed for optimum fuel economy and the EPA gives this model an estimated fuel usage of 34/39 mpg city/highway.
Behind the wheel, the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid blows hot and cold. No one can deny the hybrid version of this popular sedan accelerates well and performs admirably in highway driving. However, at slower speeds the car’s transmission seems to be unable to decide which gear is correct and hesitates a great deal.
Key Competitors For The 2012 Kia Optima-Hybrid
- Ford Fusion
- Hyundai Sonata
- Nissan Altima
- Honda Accord Sedan