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2014 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview
While there’s been no official word, we can reasonably assume that the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid will receive at least those subtle upgrades to sheet metal and cabin appointments that are ballyhooed for its non-hybrid sibling. Otherwise, this 5-passenger gas/electric midsize sedan keeps on truckin’ with a battery pack that was updated in 2013, as well as a few tweaks to a hybrid powerplant that also debuted in the 2013 edition.
Trims are, as of now, expected to remain the base Optima Hybrid LX and the upscale EX, though a shuffle has been instituted for the non-hybrid Optima trim lineup that may trickle down to the Hybrid offerings. Thus, such added amenities as LED foglights and taillights will doubtless come along for the ride. Meanwhile, this lithe 4-door should continue to offer a handsome alternative for the family, with unexpectedly upper-crust features that belie the automaker’s somewhat humble beginnings. Its 10.8 cubic feet of trunk space, alas, might be a bit of a letdown, as will the lack of truly neck-snapping power, but the slower pace might allow bystanders to get an eyeful of the Optima Hybrid’s beauty, while fill-ups should take less and less out of the family budget.
Anyhow, look for the retuned variable-valve-timed (VVT) 2.4-liter gas/hybrid inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine to make a return, and to once again mate with a 47kW electric motor to put out a total of 199 hp. Again under the management of the standard 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission, the gas/electric system is geared to offer power from the electric battery alone for short distances, as well as regenerative braking to juice up the battery, and auto stop-start technology that saves idling your gas away. Oh, and the new lithium polymer battery weighs only 91 pounds while putting out a shocking 270 volts. Altogether, this works out to an estimated 36 mpg city/40 highway.
Standard appearance goodies found in the entry-level LX should again include 16-inch alloy wheels, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors and a rear spoiler, while cloth upholstery, full power accessories, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and simulated alloy cabin bling is expected to remain adorning the interior. Additionally, cruise control and telescoping tilt-wheel steering should return for the 2014 Optima Hybrid LX, as should the standard rear-view camera, the cooled storage compartment and Bluetooth hands-free calling. Entertainment, meantime, looks to include once again a single-CD/MP3 player with 6 speakers and USB-interfaced auxiliary iPod input.
The 2014 Optima Hybrid EX, as befits its elite status, is expected to retain 17-inch alloy wheels and a power sunroof outside, with heated power-adjustable front seats, driver's memory settings and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror again adorning the interior. And let’s not forget the universal remote garage door opener and the standard Infinity audio system with its 8 premium speakers, or the traditional voice-activated navigation system bearing real-time traffic info. Also expect 2013’s updated and upsized touchscreen displays to make a return in the flagship 2014 EX.
Again this year, the LX is expected to gain several of the items found standard in the top-shelf EX as options, while both trims can be accessorized with added cargo management tools and carpeted floor mats.
Finally, standard safety equipment of note includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Each trim also carries standard daytime running lights and front fog/driving lights, as well as turn-signal-integrated mirrors and a remote antitheft alarm. The EX, meanwhile, additionally flaunts standard xenon high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.