Altogether, the system works well and you can barely hear the motor turn on and off when cruising slowly. Only at full throttle does the engine sound a bit raspy and unrefined. Acceleration is decent, although a bit slower than we would expect for a car with over 200 horsepower. Ride quality and handling are quite good, although the car does feel a bit heavy on its feet and the brake pedal could use some firming up.
Our brief test didn’t allow for a thorough evaluation of the car’s fuel efficiency, but the EPA rates the Optima Hybrid at 35 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, figures that compare well with competitors like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid. At slower speeds the car switches over to EV, or electric-only operation quite regularly, and you can coast on electric power at speeds up to 60 mph. There is also an Eco mode, which changes the throttle response to encourage more frugal driving.
The Optima Hybrid starts at $27,250 and comes quite well equipped. Our loaded tester stickered at over $30k, but featured enough luxury options to justify the price. Like most Kia models, the Optima Hybrid should compare well on value with other hybrid mid-size sedans, and its more aggressive appearance might even convince a few car enthusiasts to take a hybrid for a spin.
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