2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Review

Optima Hybrid

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2015 Kia Optima Hybrid Overview

Kia rolls out new ergonomics and safety features for its midsize 2015 Optima Hybrid sedan. For safety, an acoustic-laminated, sound-dampening windshield becomes standard for all trims except the LX, for which it's optional. This windshield filters harmful UV rays to protect the interior and passengers, and would-be thieves will also not like its durability.

With driver ergonomics in mind, cruise-control buttons have been relocated to the right steering-wheel spoke. This makes the feature much easier to operate, because you never have to take your hands off the steering wheel to use it. Drivers will be able to learn to use the system without having to look down to find the controls, helping minimize the already numerous distractions on the road.

For even more safety, the UVO2 telematics system will receive additional software updates for the coming year as well. Parents will be glad to know the car now offers curfew reminders and speed alerts for their teen drivers, helping to keep them safe. A handy and especially sneaky Geo-Fencing feature has also been added, which sets virtual boundaries via GPS and sends alerts if the vehicle goes beyond those points.

Sitting right at the heart of this hybrid is a dependable 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine, along with a 47-kilowatt battery. Well suited for everyday excursions and road trips, and getting a very modestly green 36 mpg city/40 highway, you’ll save time and money at the pump. The 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive transaxle perform brilliantly to deliver acceleration of 0-60 mph in a very competitive 8.8 seconds. Unfortunately, though, no all-wheel-drive trim is currently available for the Hybrid.

Amenities abound for both the EX and LX trims inside the 5-passenger Optima, and style, too, as long as you don’t mind a few cheap plastics here and there. Nevertheless, found throughout are quality materials and plenty of welcoming space. Up front, even tall drivers will feel comfortable with an ample 40 inches of headroom and 45.5 inches of legroom. In the back, due to the low roofline, rear passengers may find headroom and getting in and out of the vehicle challenging. Trunk space is a bit tight also, but still reasonably accommodating at 15.4 cubes of hauling capacity.

Last face-lifted in 2014, the Optima still rests atop the same front strut and multi-link rear suspension. It still effortlessly navigates wide-open highways or tough urban thoroughfares, however the Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200 are still a tad more nimble. With a complete redesign on the horizon, next year’s model may be able to catch up.

It may have an aged design, but when something’s good, you usually don’t change it. A family sedan at heart, the Kia Optima Hybrid has been leading the pack in many of the categories that are most important, such as safety, reliability, efficiency, and resale value. With so many other well-balanced, 4-door midsizes in the market, it’s hard to make the right choice, but Kia is vying for your attention and doing it well with the updated Optima.

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Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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