Kia’s U.S. operations are aloof over 20 years old. In that time, it has become the eighth-best-selling cast in the country, aloof abaft accumulated affinity Hyundai. If Hyundai isn’t careful, it could be surpassed by its own kin.
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From abaft the caster of any Kia, though, the success isn’t surprising. From the Soul, a 10Best Trucks and SUVs winner, to the Optima amalgam activated here, Kias are affluent with quality—a chat that was adapted abandoned for acerb punchlines about Kia two decades ago. Similarly, the automaker produced its aboriginal amalgam abandoned six years ago but now ranks amid the industry leaders in the agent type.
Plus, aback it comes to design, Kia is killing it. No best does an Optima attending like it’s aggravating too adamantine to angle out in a chic of, let’s face it, about arid ancestors sedans. It is a 18-carat beholder with brittle curve and aloof abundant beautification to emphasis its styling, like a red-carpet celebrity cutting all the appropriate accessories. One could altercate that those abundant looks were adulterated in the action of authoritative this amalgam alternative as glace as accessible by abacus grille shutters in a redesigned avant-garde fascia and tacking on aero-friendly auto and a low-drag rear fascia. All the assignment nets a low 0.24 accessory of drag, but it does abrade some of the acumen from the presentation.
A 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle inline-four, acceptable for 154 horsepower, and a 50-hp electric motor amalgamate for 192 ponies aback alleged on. Maximum accumulated torque of 271 lb-ft is baffled through a six-speed automated chiral to the avant-garde wheels. From a standstill, the Kia will hit 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is lazier by added than bisected a additional than the class-leading Honda Accord amalgam and Toyota Camry hybrid, although the Optima never feels slow. Not that any amalgam buyers are acceptable to go attractive for the cornering limit, but the Optima’s crabbed dispatch maxes at 0.81 g. Braking from 70 mph requires 175 feet.
What stands out in the Optima isn’t the appearance or the achievement as abundant as the able execution. While Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7.0-inch infotainment interface (which grows to 8.0 inches with the EX trim level, as activated here) appear standard, the absolute standout accepted appearance are the burke adjustment and aggregate of adorning to abrasion braking. These qualities are amid the best amid all hybrids. The abstract tuning, which added than a few adjustment engineers no agnosticism sweated, won’t be absent on bodies who affliction added about how a car drives than its EPA rating. A Ford Fusion amalgam was in our agile at the aforementioned time, and the Optima’s above amalgam affiliation was acclaimed with abruptness by abounding editors.
The Optima’s powertrain layout—essentially a motor/generator and clamp demography the abode of a torque convertor—is abundant simpler than the power-split two-motor transaxle cum CVT in the Fusion. Even after the complexity, the Kia matches the Fusion’s EPA accumulated account of 42 mpg. We able boilerplate abreast that, however, averaging 31 mpg over about 900 miles, or 4 mpg abbreviate of the ability of what we able in the Chevrolet Malibu amalgam (a two-motor setup) and the Honda Accord amalgam (a two-motor, no-transmission arrangement).
Our analysis car came absolutely loaded. A abject Optima amalgam starts at $26,890 and comes with manually adjustable bolt seats and 16-inch wheels. In the aggressive set of amalgam ancestors sedans, abandoned the Fusion amalgam starts cheaper, at $26,170. Spending addition $4995 on the EX trim brings covering and calefaction to the avant-garde seats (and ability to the driver’s seat), 17-inch wheels, a 60/40 split-folding covering aback seat, and a 10-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. The abandoned advantage on the EX is a $5000 Technology package. It includes aerial avant-garde seats and a ability avant-garde commuter seat, acrimonious rear seats, a behemothic dual-pane sunroof, and a host of avant-garde assurance technology appearance (automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control). Kia additionally offers a constituent adaptation with a 202-hp amalgam powertrain and a 9.8-kWh array backpack that, according to Kia, allows it to biking up to 29 afar on electricity alone. It starts at $36,105 in EX trim.
The accomplished active acquaintance lacks best of the amalgam idiosyncrasies—CVT behavior, electric-motor hums—to which we’ve become accustomed. Wondering if we had absent it, we put this approach to the analysis by plopping an biting acquaintance in the driver’s seat. The amalgam abstinent had no clue he was active annihilation but a accepted Optima. That may not be what Kia was activity for, but it’s a campanology endorsement for addition who wants a amalgam after any compromises to the active experience. To us, that makes the Optima amalgam astute above its years.
VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED: $36,885 (base price: $26,890)
POWERTRAIN: DOHC 16-valve Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter inline-4, 154 hp, 140 lb-ft; permanent-magnet ancillary AC motor, 50 hp, 151 lb-ft; accumulated output, 192 hp, 271 lb-ft; 1.6-kWh lithium-ion array pack
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automated with chiral alive mode
DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 110.4 inLength: 191.1 inWidth: 73.2 in Height: 57.5 inPassenger volume: 105 cu ftTrunk
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