Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Kia Optima HybridKia puts its own spin on a hybrid sedan.
Kia wants in and the biggest trend in cars today namely 40 MPG. One way they join that club with the not miniscule Optima Hybrid. Let's check the tech. The Optima Hybrid is the Sonata Hybrid's sister. Mechanically, they are peas in a pod, but stylistically miles apart. Kia is setting out to capture hipper urban crown, and in doing do, rules in a little more standard tech than the Sonata, but non of the matters if it doesn't just pain drive well and sip gas. Now since in an Optima Hybrid, there's a lot of hybrid stuff going on in the interface, you won't see on a standard KIA Optima even in standard Sonata. Fuel economy, this gives you a set of 2-1/2 minute time slices of how greenly you drove in that in that wind though. The more does the leaps, the better obviously. Energy flow is one of those things you won't see in a few years. It explains what a hybrid does. Eventually everyone will understand this and we want the silly diagram. It's not that interesting. Car is the one that tells you what your eco level is in the driving session. More bars are better. They get green towards the right. If you fill this all the way up and light up every bar with your light footed driving, you end up getting a point over here on total echo score, which mines currently at 40. See, the car is a big video game. It hits certain levels and you get point. The last one that I have no idea what it does is earth. This is telling me apparently that my engine and my electric motor are contributing to turning the earth. I think that's the case. Now, we've got a button down here that is kind of part of all this. It's active eco on or off. When it's on, of course the car behaves very differently. It's more [unk] to give you power. It also is [unk] as hard as it can. It's in a full kind of power conservation mode, but the response to performance does change a bit. We'll find that when go on the road a little bit. You've got your battery charge gauge over there on the left side, your fuel on the bottom right, and if I roll through all these screens, there's that eco score, my video game total. Instantaneous fuel economy is that ring. Average fuel economy is the one in the middle, the number. Let's get to the head unit and we've got a nice navigation system in this car, which is not the same, I'm saying it's gonna blow your mind. It just works really well. It's rather basic. The map resolution is good. It's quite clear. I don't have problem reading any street names. I zoom in and out with this actual on screen buttons right here, but there's no nonsense like a birds eye fly over. No 3D building rendering. No satellite photo overlay. None of that stuff. It's serviceable and it does the important stuff right, but notice this, and this I think very is important. Lightning faster response to touchscreen buttons. You'll never sit there and hit it twice or wonder if you got to press it harder or some other nonsense. I have never seen a more responsive touchscreen in the production car. Our media sources are AM and FM, but there's no HD radio on this guy. Satellite radio, Sirius, of course same as our traffic service. Under media, you've got several choices. Here's our single slot CD above there. No DVD playback, iPod got back connected right now. That used this one of these proprietary cables they make. It's standard Apple on one end, but you've got this dual pigtail thing on the other end. And I've got my Bluetooth streaming here. This got all connected when I did my Bluetooth calling. Not all cars do that. Sometimes, they make you do 2 separate operations. We do have an optional audio system here, which gives us Infinity sound and 8 speakers. Again, they are infinity branded instead of 6 speakers and generic audio. Here's my backup camera. As you can see, I've got some distance markings in color, but there's no trajectory or alternate views, again playing the hits. Now, as part of a real chunky premium package, it rolls at tons of stuff in including navigation. You've got these panoramic roofs. One front, one rear. They are on the same roll back curtain. You see I've got a nice big moving panel on the front, the usual fix over the rear, but kind of a nice city for a car in this class. Now, the Optima is a good size car, but you're not gonna be putting a lot of good size things in its trunk. It's a normal size trunk. Don't get me wrong, but check it out. There's no fold platter, just barely past through [unk] is normally when consider that because along here in the middle and middle left is where the Lithium Polymer battery lives, but between that and that big dock there for some rear ventilation or AC just stuck with the trunk just never becomes a holler. Okay, under the hood on this Optima Hybrid we begin with a 2.4 liter in line 4. It's add consume cycle. That means it spent time so that it burns fuel completely, but at the expense of some torque. You get 206 horsepower total, 195 foot-pounds of torque of this configuration that includes the electric motor, which accounts for 40 horsepower and 151 foot-pounds of that torque, really don't just add simply. This is gonna give you zero to 60 time of question mark. We don't know yet. The testing isn't done from the various places that do that and we don't have track to do it ourselves, but it got the MPG for you. It's 35-40; it's a good number, better than Camry for example, while it's costing less, but how does it drive. Let's go find out. This car drives like it's really well built together. That's the overall right quality, feels rather heavy when it's not a terribly heavy car. It bothered me over and over and the time I was driving it is this disconnected nature, the power train. There's an awful lot of stuff going on here and it let's you know it. That's the problem. I think I'm feeling the electric motor kick in and out. I'm feeling the transmission hunt around from the 6th to third sometimes trying to find the right gear when I step on it. I'm feeling the engine got less, but trying to do what it can when revs up from near an idle and cruising. Bottom line is you step on this car. You don't get just linear power. You get all kinds of things that happened that either delay or segment the delivery of power. Now, when you step on it, you get plenty of power, absolutely, like almost any modern car, but what I need is responsiveness more than just power. Power without that kind of a drag to drive. So, I think this power train needs more refinement before I'd find it enjoyable to drive not just satisfactory. They say it can get up to 62 miles an hour in EV mode, in other words running electric, never approached that. You got to really, really feed it on the pedal to keep this guy on electric and then big EV like comes on right there big square one to let you know when you got the engine shut down. So it's very clear. Overall, I average something in the low to mid 30s MPG depending on the day and that include mixed diving on a number of hills. This is San Francisco after all. Consider that a Camry Hybrid only promises 35 highway, this guy is doing pretty well. Okay, what do you pay for a Kia Optima Hybrid? Well it's 27,200 that includes destination. Not a lot of options. Certainly now when you wanna go CNET style, you either do or don't get the hybrid premium package, $5000. Like I said it's chunky, but everything is rolled in there. That's super quick touchscreen GPS navigation, the Infinity sound system, this panoramic roof, 17-inch wheels, and high intensely discharged lights as well as a bunch of other niceties, but it can't be ones you choosy on. You take the whole package or you don't.