The 2017 Kia Optima seeks to deliver it all – sleek styling, pleasing ride and handling, and an accommodating cabin with the latest electronics. It also aims to compete with the likes of the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion lines with a choice of gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions within the Optima lineup. The all-new fourth generation Optima introduced in the 2016 model year brought styling and mechanical updates to the gasoline model plus the promise of an updated hybrid and all-new plug-in hybrid for 2017.
Part of Kia Motors’ environmentally friendly EcoDynamics sub-brand, the Optima seeks to provide an environmental edge with each of the vehicles in its lineup. Even the conventional gasoline Optima offers desired efficiency with 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo, 2.0-liter turbo, and 2.4-liter GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) four-cylinder engine options, with the 1.6-liter turbo delivery up to 37 highway mpg. The 2.0- and 2.4-liter engines connect to a six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic shifting, while the 1.6-liter gets a new seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) that improves both acceleration and fuel efficiency.
Kia has improved the Optima hybrid with a new 2.0-liter direct injected four-cylinder that replaces the previous 2.4-liter engine. The new 154 horsepower engine connects to a 51 horsepower electric motor and clutch that replaces the transmission’s traditional torque converter. A larger 1.62 kilowatt-hour, high-density lithium-polymer battery pack fits beneath the trunk floor without compromising cargo space or interfering with the Optima’s 60/40 split-folding rear seats. It is EPA rated at 39 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway
The Optima Plug-in Hybrid uses the same 2.0-liter engine as the Optima Hybrid but adds a more powerful 67 horsepower motor for better all-electric performance. With its 9.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack, the Optima PHEV can travel up to 27 miles on electricity alone. Total range for the model in electric and hybrid driving is more than 600 miles. As in the hybrid, the plug-in’s new battery pack is strategically placed behind the rear seat and tire well to avoid compromising trunk space. Charging the battery takes three hours from a 240-volt charger, or nine hours with a 120-volt charger. It nets 40 combined city/highway mpg and 103 MPGe on battery power.
Optima is available with the latest driver assistance technology either as standard or optional equipment. These include driver aids like a rear-camera display, 360-degree Surround-View Monitor, and a Rear Parking Assist System. Also available are Bi-Xenon HID headlights with Dynamic Bending Lamps and High Beam Assist. Advanced safety systems include Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front Collision Warning System, Lane Departure Warning, and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
The price of entry for the conventionally-powered Optima is $22,200 with the hybrid variant coming in at $25,595. Kia has not yet disclosed the MSRP of its coming plug-in model.