Pros & Cons

  • Lots of standard features
  • Top safety score
  • High-quality interior materials
  • Unimpressive fuel economy for a hybrid
  • Rough transition between electric and gas power
  • Regenerative brakes have numb pedal feel
  • Small trunk




Critics' Rating: 7.5
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 9.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview

Critics said the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid’s drivetrain is fairly powerful, but doesn’t transition between electric and gas power as smoothly as they would like. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Kia Optima Hybrid gets 34/39 mpg city/highway, which is low for a hybrid. Test drivers wrote that the Optima Hybrid rides over rough roads comfortably, and they said its steering is quick, but lacks feedback. The Optima Hybrid’s brakes stop the car quickly enough for most critics, though they said the brake pedal feels numb.

Reviewers wrote that the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid’s interior design and materials are impressive for the class. Head- and legroom in the front and rear seats are adequate for most critics, although they noted that ordering the sunroof could limit headroom for taller occupants. The Kia Optima Hybrid’s 9.9-cubic-foot trunk is smaller than most rival hybrids’ trunks, and much smaller than the trunk in the gas-only Optima. The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid has a long list of standard features, including Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, a cooled glove box and dual-zone automatic climate control. Available features include an Infinity audio system, navigation and leather upholstery.

The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid has an excellent safety score for a 2012 affordable midsize car.

Other Cars to Consider

Reviewers said the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid’s powertrain offers strong acceleration and transitions smoothly between gas and electric power. Unlike the Optima Hybrid, they noted that the Fusion Hybrid’s regenerative brakes bring the car to a stop smoothly. The Fusion Hybrid also gets better gas mileage than the Optima Hybrid. We named the Ford Fusion Hybrid our 2012 Best Hybrid Car for Families and our 2012 Best Hybrid Car for the Money.

The 2012 Toyota Prius has significantly more cargo space than the Optima Hybrid, and it gets fuel economy estimates that are among the highest in the class. Test drivers were impressed with the Prius’ comfortable ride and roomy seats.

Compare the Optima Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid and Prius »

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