2019 Kia Optima Hybrid

Performance


MSRP
$28,090
U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 Kia Optima Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.2

The 2019 Kia Optima Hybrid is composed around sharp turns and has plenty of power for merging and passing on the highway. Its hybrid components create a hushed ride, and its regenerative braking system is smooth, which is nice considering some of its rivals' systems are grabby.

  • "We'll start with ride quality. While the Optima Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid aren't exactly luxury-car smooth over bumps and pavement imperfections, they insulate you from the road surprisingly well -- noticeably better than the first generation, which always felt a bit too crashy for our liking. As for handling, the hybrid-powered Optima models offer a stable, strong feel with smooth steering and limited body roll. No, these aren't sports cars, but as driving experience goes, they're hardly at the bottom of their segment, either." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "A less obvious benefit of the six-speed automatic, of course, is that it leads to quieter operation. There's no rubber-band-like revving like you'd get with a CVT because the transmission can actually shift up a gear. Now, the Optima's 2.0-liter doesn't sound bad — we wouldn't complain about the noise if there was a CVT here — but the lack of noise is a pleasant side effect of the six-speed auto." -- Autoblog (2017)
  • It's all tuned for minimum drama, including the kind of drama we enjoy as car lovers. Whether you interpret that as 'smooth' or 'slow' depends on your attitude, but both accounts are objectively correct." -- Jalopnik (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Optima Hybrid comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This setup makes 192 horsepower and provides solid acceleration. The quiet, smooth-shifting transmission works well. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid also comes with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor, but it produces 202 horsepower.

The Optima Hybrid gets 39 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid gets 40 mpg combined city/highway when running on gasoline alone. It can travel up to 29 miles on electric power alone. Its MPGe rating is 103 combined. For more on MPGe, read What Is MPGe?

  • "Speaking of that hybrid powertrain, it hardly transforms the Optima into a sports car when it comes to acceleration, but the sedan isn't slow, either, regardless of whether you choose the Hybrid or the Plug-In Hybrid model." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "While most other hybrid systems use continuously variable automatic transmissions (CVTs), the Kia matches its 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a conventional six-speed automatic, with the electric motor and a clutch replacing the torque converter. This slightly unconventional setup pays off in terms of refinement, as it avoids the droning sensation present in many other hybrids when the powertrain is tasked with urgent acceleration." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "Kia didn't try to get too creative with the Optima Hybrid's powertrain ... There's a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder gas engine, a 38-kilowatt electric motor, and a 1.62-kWh battery pack. Total system output is 192 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. … That's all spiffy. But taking a six-speed automatic and replacing the torque converter with a clutch and the electric motor, Kia built a hybrid sedan that smoothly intertwines disparate power sources as well as a conventional hybrid like a Toyota Prius, while allowing the Optima Hybrid to take greater advantage of zero-emissions systems." -- Autoblog (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Optima Hybrid's performance is nearly identical to that of the regular Optima. Handling is poised, and this midsize car maintains a comfortable ride over most road bumps. Like other hybrids, this Kia has a regenerative braking system. Such systems often feel grabby in other cars, but not in the Optima Hybrid.

  • "Sophisticated drivers will notice that the sometimes discomforting regenerative-braking feel has been mostly eliminated, which means these models barely distinguish themselves from a gas-powered Optima when you're slowing down to a stop." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "The LX and EX are geared more toward comfort, which is no bad thing really. The good news is that superior handling doesn't come at the expense of a harsh ride." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • Small, high-frequency bumps are absorbed well for a decent, smooth ride. Larger undulations cause some jostling, but not significantly more than what you'd experience in other cars in this class." -- Edmunds (2018)
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2019 Kia Optima Hybrid

MSRP: $28,090 - $35,390

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