Kia continued its eco-onslaught today at the Chicago Auto Show when it introduced the 2014 Optima Hybrid. It features a revised exterior design similar to the refresh the base gasoline sedan just received heightens the visuals, while some specific hybrid additions increase aerodynamic efficiency. Tons of high-tech equipment and increased levels of safety make this Optima Hybrid sedan ready to storm the market.
The new Optima Hybrid’s gas-electric combination powertrain is good for 199 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to this hybrid setup, Kia is promising an EPA-estimated 36 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and a combined overall fuel economy of 38 mpg.
The latest Kia Optima sedan has been garnering lots of praise since its refresh this year, and it is nice to see this same level of refinement being applied to the Hybrid . The new design is both and refreshing in a world of “me-too” sedan styling.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid.
The new exterior features many of the same visual upgrades that the standard Optima sedan was gifted a few months ago, but with some added Hybrid punch.
A unique front bumper is loaded with extra vents that reduce drag and increase airflow around the car. The all-new wheel designs are more aerodynamic to reduce drag and they weigh less than the outgoing models. Hybrid-exclusive LED lighting and a bespoke grille finish out the defining visual features.
2014 Kia Optima Hybrid - Exterior Dimensions:
|Track (front/rear)||63.0 in./62.6 in.|
|Ground clearance||5.12 in.|
The interior has a more upscale feel, thanks to high tech extras like push-button start, LCD instrument cluster, and an available eight-inch navigation unit. That eight-inch unit comes with UVO eServices, HD Radio compatibility, SiriusXM satellite radio and SiriusXM traffic. An eight-speaker sound system from Infinity is also included with the navigation.
2014 Kia Optima Hybrid - Interior Dimensions:
|Headroom (front/rear)||40.0 in. / 37.6 in.|
|Shoulder room (front/rear)||57.3 in. / 55.7 in.|
|Legroom (front/rear)||45.5 in. / 34.7 in.|
|Hip room (front/rear)||54.7 in. / 54.5 in.|
The heart of the new Optima Hybrid combines a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with a 47-horsepower electric traction motor. The result is a combined 199 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission available is a 6-speed automatic.
The electric power for that hybrid motor is stored in a high-tech lithium polymer battery with a 47 kW power output. Lithium polymer is far more expensive than other battery types, but it has distinct advantages in size, weight and power density. The whole battery that powers the new Optima Hybrid only weighs 91 pounds.
2014 Kia Optima Hybrid - Drivetrain Specifications:
|Output (HP @ RPM||199 @ TBA|
|Torque (LB-FT @ RPM)||235 @ TBA|
The new Ford Fusion Hybrid looks like a million dollars and boasts a fuel economy rating of 47 mpg in both city and highway driving. It makes for a strong case against the Optima Hybrid. The Kia does have a lot more horsepower though, so it may be better to drive.
Just as the Camry is the yardstick by which all midsize sedans are measured, the Camry Hybrid continues that tradition in the hybrid market. The new SE Limited Edition increases the visual presence of the Toyota , but it still lacks any real exciting exterior design. It does match the Kia on power, but if the Optima can arrive with a lower price, it will make a good alternative to the Toyota.
The Kia Optima Hybrid offers a great level of equipment, technology and fuel economy in a stylish package, that will likely carry a bargain-level price tag. It is still fighting an uphill battle though. With Ford’s breakout success with the new Fusion and Toyota updating the Camry Hybrid, there are lots of great options for hybrid buyers right now.
- Looks better than ever
- Premium interior equipment
- No increase in fuel economy
- Not enough of an evolution
Gallery Kia Optima Hybrid
Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the 2014 Optima Hybrid mid-size sedan as one of three eco-friendly Kia vehicles introduced at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2014 Optima Hybridbuilds upon the advancementsof its award-winning gas-powered sibling, which went on sale in late-fall of last year. Debuting with its own exclusive enhancements, including front and rear fascia updates designed to increase aerodynamic efficiency, new wheel designs, and unique grille and lighting elements, the 2014 Optima Hybrid improves upon its predecessor, which was named one of the “Top 11 Most Fuel-Efficient Sedans for 2013” by Edmunds.com.
“The Optima Hybrid is an important and integral component of Kia’s advanced propulsion story,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, KMA. “It’s unique in its segment because it not only gives owners savings at the gas pump and a smaller carbon footprint, but it also delivers world-class design, robust performance and an upscale personality, making it a truly attractive and well-rounded hybrid offer.”
Available in LX and EX trims, the 2014 Optima Hybrid features carryover refinements for smoothness and drivability, including a robust 47 HP electric traction motor, a strong Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) and a powerful 47 kW lithium polymer battery. The combined gas-electric 199 horsepower rating and combined 235 lb.-ft. of torque remain, resulting in a responsive and enjoyable driving experience. The LX model achieves an EPA estimated 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined , while the EX model delivers an EPA estimated 35/39/371.
Design Enhancements for Better Fuel Efficiency
The dynamic and sporty design upgrades on the gasoline-powered 2014 Optima are retooled for the Hybrid to increase fuel efficiency. Contributing to improved aerodynamics area series of additional vents in the Optima Hybrid’s unique front bumper, increasing airflow and reducing drag.Newly designed andmore aerodynamic 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels(LX and EX, respectively) reduce weight and drag while superbly integrating with the Optima’s eye-catching new design elements.
In addition to those elements designed with fuel efficiency in mind, the 2014 Optima Hybrid also boasts a unique new front grille design, Hybrid-exclusive front LED lighting, new Hybrid fender badges and an attractive and upscale optional white leather package. Technological improvements to the gasoline-powered 2014 Optima carryover within the cabin of the Optima Hybrid, as drivers are greeted with more upscale and high-tech amenities. Activating the Optima’s push button ignition brings two displays to life: a 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster and optional high-resolution 8-inch navigation and telematics screen, featuring UVO eServices, an 8-speaker Infinity® sound system, HD Radio™® , SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic™4.
Advanced Safety Features
The 2014 Optima Hybrid is equipped with an impressive array of standard safety equipment. All trims come standard with driver and passenger advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel Antilock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Traction Control System (TCS) and Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) also come standard on all models.