2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid sits near the bottom of our highly competitive midsize car rankings. It doesn't really offer anything that you can't find in rivals, and many other cars in the class are more athletic, more upscale, or both.

Pros & Cons

  • Intuitive tech features
  • Smooth ride
  • Comfortable seats
  • Tight rear-seat headroom
  • Below-average trunk space
  • Poor fuel economy for a hybrid
  • Unimpressive powertrain


Rankings & Research

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Hybrid Cars category. Currently the Kia Optima Hybrid has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 45 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.3
Safety: 9.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview

Is the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid a Good Used Car?

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid is a good used midsize car. It has composed handling and a smooth ride over most road surfaces. This Kia's seats are comfortable, and its tech features are some of the most user-friendly in the industry. Fuel economy is above average for the class, but most hybrid competitors are more efficient.

It's not all good with the Optima Hybrid, and there are some downsides. The hybrid powertrain exhibits some lag after punching the accelerator. Inside, rear-seat passengers will find headroom to be tight, and the trunk is one of the smallest in the segment.

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Kia Optima Hybrid review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 45 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid?

Based on about 3,250 listings for the 2015 Kia Optima and Optima Hybrid on our site, the average price is $15,400. Prices range from $11,800 to $20,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location. Typically, hybrid models cost a bit more than their nonhybrid counterparts.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Cost to Own?

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid’s five-year costs for fuel, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $20,000, or $4,000 per year. That’s below average for a midsize hybrid car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Optima Hybrid?

The starting price for the 2019 Kia Optima Hybrid is around $28,000, which is significantly more than you'll pay for a 2015 model. Kia redesigned the Optima Hybrid for 2017, and the 2019 model shares many of the same updates, including a larger trunk and many new standard features, such as a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

The 2019 model also has active safety tech you couldn't get in the 2015, such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning. The new Optima Hybrid also offers both a traditional hybrid powertrain and a plug-in-hybrid variant, and each is more fuel-efficient than the 2015 model.

In short, the 2019 Optima Hybrid is clearly a better vehicle than the 2015 model, so you’ll have to decide if the difference in quality justifies the higher price.

Read about the new Kia Optima Hybrid »

With an average price topping out around $20,000, a 2015 Optima will almost certainly cost less than any new midsize car. The least expensive 2019 cars in the class start at around $22,000, and the cheapest hybrid models cost about $26,000.

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Which Model Year of the Kia Optima Hybrid Is Best?

The 2015 Optima Hybrid is part of a generation that spans the 2011 through 2016 model years. There were no major changes over that time. Kia rolled out a completely redesigned Optima Hybrid for 2017. It has a more responsive powertrain and better fuel economy, as well as a higher-quality interior. Also, the standard infotainment system has the popular Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems. You can likely save money with an older model, but you'll miss out on the improvements of the 2017 redesign.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Optima Hybrid »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid?

J.D. Power gives the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid a reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Optima Hybrid reliability »

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Recalls

At the time of writing, there are no recalls for the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid.

See more information on Kia Optima Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Optima Hybrid Is Right for Me?

Because the base Optima Hybrid doesn't offer many features, you'll want to step up to the EX trim. It includes the UVO infotainment system, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. Some EX models also have a panoramic sunroof and advanced safety features.

See 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid trims and specs »

What Does Kia's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Kia offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Kia’s certified pre-owned vehicles receive the balance of the original 10-year/100,000-mile new-car powertrain warranty, plus a one-year/12,000-mile comprehensive Platinum warranty on non-powertrain parts after the five-year/60,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Every CPO Kia must pass a 164-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Kia warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Kia has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Optima Hybrid?

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid earned a perfect overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Optima Hybrid a 2015 Top Safety Pick. This Kia received the top rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-highest rating of Acceptable in the driver-side small overlap front test.

The 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid doesn't come with any standard active safety features, but a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert are available.

See Optima Hybrid safety scores »

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid or 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid?

The 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid places higher in our midsize car rankings than the Optima. The Fusion Hybrid accelerates eagerly, has nimble handling, and it gets some of the best fuel economy estimates among hybrids in the segment. The Fusion Hybrid's cabin is modern and stylish, with comfortable, roomy seats in both rows. A long list of available safety features – including options the Kia doesn't have, like forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking – make the Ford even more enticing.

Which Is Better: 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid or 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is another rival that bests this Kia in our rankings. Both cars earn below-average fuel-economy ratings by hybrid standards, but the Sonata accelerates more quickly. While rear-seat headroom isn't stellar in either sedan, the Sonata Hybrid feels a bit more spacious. The Sonata Hybrid has more trunk space and a higher reliability rating as well.

Compare the Optima Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, and Sonata Hybrid »

2015 Optima Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Drive?

The front-wheel-drive Optima Hybrid features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 199 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard.

This Kia's powertrain is a mixed bag. Opinions are split about how powerful the Optima feels, and there's a bit of lag after hitting the gas pedal. On the bright side, this sedan rides smoothly and handles well on winding roads. While some hybrids' regenerative braking systems are too grabby or too spongy, the Optima Hybrid's regenerative brakes have a more normal feel to them.

Does the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Optima Hybrid gets 35 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Those are great ratings for a midsize car, but they're subpar compared to other hybrids.

Read more about Optima Hybrid performance »

2015 Optima Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 Optima Hybrid Seat?

The 2015 Optima Hybrid seats five on standard cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated front and rear seats, a cooled driver’s seat, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Both rows of seats are comfortable. The front seats provide plenty of head- and legroom. The rear seats also have enough legroom for adults, but taller passengers may long for more headroom.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid?

There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for installing child car seats on the Optima Hybrid’s rear outboard seats, as well as a tether anchor on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use. The IIHS says the lower anchors are set too deep in the seats.

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Features

Standard features include satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, an auxiliary jack, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a cooled glove box. Available features include Kia’s voice-activated UVO infotainment system, an Infinity audio system, navigation, and a panoramic sunroof.

The infotainment system in this Kia is user-friendly. There are physical controls, and the available touch screen is easy to see and responds well to inputs. The only real downside is that the backlighting on the steering wheel controls is weak, making things a bit hard to see.

See 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid specs »

Read more about Optima Hybrid interior »

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Dimensions

Kia Optima Hybrid Cargo Space

The 2015 Optima Hybrid has 10.8 cubic feet of trunk space, which is nearly 5 less cubic feet than the nonhybrid Optima. Hybrids typically have less trunk space than their nonhybrid counterparts because the battery takes up space, but the Optima Hybrid's total is below-average even by hybrid standards.

The Optima Hybrid’s back seat doesn’t fold down to extend trunk space, but it does have a pass-through for longer items.

2015 Optima Hybrid Length and Weight

The 2015 Optima Hybrid is about 16 feet long. It has a curb weight of 3,496 to 3,622 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Built?

Kia built the 2015 Optima Hybrid in Georgia.

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