2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

As Kia’s first hybrid car, reviewers said the 2011 Optima Hybrid adds great fuel economy to all of the gas-only Optima’s favorable traits. On the other hand, they thought the Optima Hybrid’s powertrain wasn’t as good as the powertrains in other midsize hybrid cars.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy interior with lots of tech features
  • Sporty styling
  • Good fuel economy
  • Coarse hybrid drivetrain
  • Smaller trunk than competing hybrids
  • Unresponsive brakes




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership:
This model has never been fully tested for total cost of ownership. Its overall score is being calculated without total cost of ownership.
Safety: 9.4
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview

The Kia Optima Hybrid was a new model for 2011, and auto critics liked its practicality, handsome style and numerous standard tech features. The interior’s high-quality materials, roomy seats and good craftsmanship also received high marks. The Optima Hybrid has high safety ratings and gets 34/39 mpg city/highway, which is competitive with other hybrid 2011 midsize cars.

While the 2011 Optima Hybrid delivers great fuel economy, test drivers agreed that it made too many compromises in terms of performance. They thought the Optima Hybrid’s acceleration and power were okay, but said that the transitions between electric and gas power were unrefined. They also disliked the Optima Hybrid’s regenerative brakes, noting a delayed response when the brake pedal is pushed. Additionally, the Kia Optima Hybrid has a small trunk, even for a hybrid. 

The 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid has a four-cylinder engine, electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission. Keyless entry, a power driver’s seat, automatic headlights, push-button start, a backup camera, a cooled glove box, Microsoft’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, Bluetooth, satellite radio and a USB port came standard on the Optima Hybrid, while an option package included features like heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, navigation and an upgraded stereo. Safety features include six airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and traction control.

See the full 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid's fuel economy is topped by the 2011 Optima Hybrid. When the Camry Hybrid was new, reviewers liked its quiet, comfortable ride and they said it drove remarkably similar to a gas-only Camry. Like the Optima Hybrid, the Camry Hybrid has a spacious cabin and intuitive controls.

The 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid beats the Optima Hybrid with better combined fuel economy estimates. Additionally, test drivers liked the Fusion Hybrid’s high-quality, comfortable interior and driving experience, which is similar to the gas-only Fusion.

Compare the Optima Hybrid to the Camry Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid »

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