2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

The Kia Optima Hybrid ranks in the middle of the competitive midsize car class. The Optima Hybrid has a lovely interior, user-friendly features, refined driving dynamics, and excellent safety scores. However, its middle-of-the-road predicted reliability rating keeps the sedan from ranking higher.

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome interior
  • User-friendly tech features
  • Excellent safety scores
  • Pleasant ride and handling
  • Snug rear-seat headroom




Critics' Rating: 8.2
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.7
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview

Is the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid a Good Used Car?

Yes, the Kia Optima Hybrid is a fine pick if you’re shopping for a used midsize car.

The 2018 Optima Hybrid has many highlights:

  • Handsome interior with five seats
  • Easy-to-use touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Available luxuries like sunshades and heated rear seats
  • Delightful ride quality and handling ability
  • Hybrid system delivers spry acceleration
  • Excellent safety scores
  • Many available safety features
  • Lower-than-average asking prices for used models

It does have a couple drawbacks:

  • Fuel economy trails rival hybrids
  • Limited rear-seat headroom for adults

Give alternatives like the 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid and 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid a look if you want a midsize sedan with better gas mileage.

We review the nonhybrid Kia Optima separately.

Compare the Optima Hybrid, Accord Hybrid, and Camry Hybrid »

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve analyzed 21 Kia Optima Hybrid reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability ratings and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid?

Based on listings for the 2018 Kia Optima and Kia Optima Hybrid on our site, the average list price is $17,400, which is lower than average for a midsize car. Prices range from $13,700 to $24,300 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location. Hybrid models tend to be on the higher end of the price range.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Cost to Own?

At the time of writing, we do not have enough data to project the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid’s five-year costs for fuel, insurance, repairs, and maintenance.

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

The price of a 2019 Kia Optima Hybrid starts at around $28,000, but it can top $35,000 in its highest trim level. You can save a lot of money with a very similar 2018 or 2017 Optima Hybrid. The 2019 Optima Hybrid only saw minor updates. Blind spot monitoring and rear parking sensors, which were previously optional, became standard.

Read about the new Kia Optima Hybrid »

You can save even more money by shopping for a used 2014, 2015, or 2016 Optima Hybrid. These models are part of the Optima’s previous generation. They have upscale cabins and user-friendly infotainment systems, but they lack key convenience features such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, forward collision warning with brake assist, and adaptive cruise control. These features can only be found in models from 2017 and later.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Optima Hybrid »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Optima Hybrid a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Read more about Optima Hybrid reliability »

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Recalls

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Optima Hybrid:

  • The voltage protection device may cause the car to stall (plug-in hybrid only)

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Kia Optima Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Used Kia Optima Hybrid Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid is available in three trim levels: base, EX, and Plug-In Hybrid EX. The base model is a good pick for most shoppers, given its many standard tech features. You’ll need to opt for a higher trim if you’re looking for advanced safety features, though.

  • Kia Optima Hybrid: The base model Optima Hybrid has a 192-horsepower hybrid powertrain, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, six speakers, Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera, keyless entry, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth seats, heated side mirrors, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
  • Kia Optima Hybrid EX: The uplevel EX trim includes an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, a 10-speaker stereo, leather upholstery, heated front seats, split-folding rear seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, and 17-inch wheels.
  • Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid EX: This plug-in hybrid model comes with a larger battery pack and a charging port on the side of the car. This allows the Optima to drive up to 29 miles on electric power alone.

Available features include a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and rear sunshades. The Optima’s active safety features are optional only on the EX trims. These include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and adaptive headlights.

See 2018 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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 Optima Hybrid an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Optima received five stars in the frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Optima a 2018 Top Safety Pick+, the agency's highest accolade. The car earned a top rating of Good in six crash tests, and properly equipped Optimas received a top-rating of Superior for front crash prevention. The Optima got mixed reviews for how well its headlights illuminate the road ahead. Models equipped with the Technology package picked up the highest rating of Good, while models outfitted with LED headlights received the second-best rating of Acceptable. With standard halogen headlights, the Optima received the lowest rating of Poor for forward visibility.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • rear parking sensors
  • blind spot monitoring
  • rear cross traffic alert
  • forward collision warning
  • automatic emergency braking
  • adaptive cruise control
  • lane departure warning
  • automatic high-beam headlights
  • adaptive pivoting LED headlights

See Optima Hybrid safety scores »

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid or 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a lot in common with its Optima Hybrid cousin, as Hyundai is the parent company of Kia. These midsize cars have the same hybrid systems, which yield similar fuel economy and acceleration. Both also have comparable interior dimensions, balanced handling, and user-friendly infotainment systems. Choosing between the two may come down to styling preferences or available features. The Sonata comes with a few features that the Optima doesn’t, such as lane keep assist, a driver drowsiness monitor, and wireless device charging.

Which Is Better: 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid or 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid?

The 2018 Ford Fusion Hybrid is another fine option in the midsize car class. The Fusion has comparable fuel economy, and it’s available with many of the same active safety features. It also rides comfortably and handles well. The Optima has a ritzier cabin though, and its hybrid system delivers better passing power on the highway. It also has more standard features, like a touch screen and Apple CarPlay. The Kia is the better pick for most shoppers.

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

2018 Optima Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Drive?

The Optima Hybrid has nice driving dynamics. The sedan feels stable around turns, its steering is light and responsive, and its brakes provide fine stopping power. This Kia's ride quality is refined as well; the suspension glides comfortably over most road surfaces. All in all, the Optima drives more like a nonhybrid car, and its powertrain only enhances that feeling.

The Optima’s hybrid system consists of a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a six-speed automatic transmission. This setup operates smoothly, and it provides adequate power for driving around town. The Optima has zippy passing power on the highway, which can’t be said of all hybrids. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid is similarly energetic, though its larger battery pack allows it to drive for longer distances using electric power.

  • Base powertrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 192 horsepower
  • Available powertrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 202 horsepower (plug-in hybrid)
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Optima Hybrid gets good fuel economy for a midsize car.

  • Hybrid: 39/46 mpg city/highway
  • Plug-in hybrid: 103 MPGe and 40 mpg combined city/highway

For more information, read What is MPGe?

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Alternative Fuels and Charging

A fully charged Optima Plug-In Hybrid can travel 29 miles on electricity alone.

The charging time depends on the method used:

  • 240-volt charging station: 3 hours
  • 120-volt household-style power outlet: 9 hours

Read more about Optima Hybrid performance »

2018 Optima Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Optima Hybrid Seat?

The Optima Hybrid is a four-door sedan with five seats. The front seats are comfortable, so you'd have no problem taking this sedan on longer road trips. There's also adequate head- and legroom up front, even for taller drivers and passengers. The rear seats are cozy as well, but headroom is snug for adults because of the car’s sleek roofline.

The Optima’s cabin is handsome, and it’s trimmed with quality materials. The styling could even pass for that of an entry-level Audi. The interior is well-insulated and does a nice job of muffling wind noise, though there is noticeable road noise.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • leather upholstery
  • power-adjustable front seats
  • heated and ventilated front seats
  • heated rear seats
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid?

The Optima has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing car seats on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether anchor on the rear middle seat. For ease of use, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the setup the second-best rating of Acceptable. The system is fairly easy to use, but the lower anchors are set a little deep in the seat.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Features

The Kia Optima has excellent tech features. Its UVO infotainment system comes with a standard 7-inch touch screen, and an 8-inch touch screen is available. This system has crisp graphics and easy-to-understand menus. It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allow users to integrate their iPhone and Android apps on the screen. There are buttons and knobs for the core audio and climate controls, so you don’t have to tap the screen for every function. If there is a hiccup, it’s that the navigation system can be slow to respond.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, and six speakers
  • Available infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, an extra USB port, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, and push-button start
  • Other available features: a panoramic sunroof and rear sunshades

See 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid specs »

Read more about Optima Hybrid interior »

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Dimensions

Kia Optima Hybrid Cargo Space

With a battery pack beneath the trunk floor, the Optima Hybrid provides 13.4 cubic feet of trunk space, which is pretty sizable for a hybrid sedan. In the EX trims, you can fold the rear seats to fit longer items; the base model’s rear seats only have a slim pass-through area. The Optima Plug-In has about 10 cubic feet of trunk space due to its larger battery pack.

If you need more cargo space, consider a hybrid hatchback like the 2018 Toyota Prius or 2018 Hyundai Ioniq.

2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Length and Weight
  • Length: 15 feet, 11 inches
  • Curb weight: 3,486 to 3,788 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Kia Optima Hybrid Built?

Kia built the 2018 Optima Hybrid in South Korea.

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