2019 Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-In Review

Optima Hybrid Plug-In

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2019 Kia Optima Hybrid Plug-In Overview

Kia has expanded the Optima lineup to include the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV). It carries over for 2019.

The Optima Plug-In has a lower front fascia inspired by the Kia Stinger performance sedan along with unique headlights with blue projector frames and a character line that runs from the top of each headlight.

The Optima PHEV features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and an electric motor that make a combined 202 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. Power gets sent to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Optima PHEV has a full-electric range of up to 29 miles. With the electric range, the Kia Optima PHEV has an estimated fuel economy of 103 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). Once the electric range is exhausted, the Optima PHEV returns a combined fuel economy of 40 mpg. Using a conventional wall outlet, you can charge the Optima PHEV in less than nine hours. Using a 240-volt outlet, the battery can be charged in two and a half hours.

The interior of the Optima PHEV is similar to the conventionally powered Optima. A unique instrument panel inside the PHEV replaces the conventional tachometer with a hybrid status dial.

The PHEV is available in one trim, the EX, and comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, projector headlights, LED taillights, power-folding and heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, leather seating, a 12-way power driver's seat and 6-way passenger seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a leather steering wheel and shift knob. The standard 8-inch touchscreen in the Optima PHEV runs Kia’s UVO infotainment system and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The PHEV loses a few feet of cargo space due to the battery, dropping from 13 to 9.9 cubic feet.

The EX Technology Package adds a 10-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, overhead LED interior lighting, LED headlights, and a host of driver-assistance features.

The Optima PHEV comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, hill-start assist, and reverse parking sensors. The driver-assistance features available in the EX Technology Package include forward-collision warning and avoidance, lane-departure warning, adaptive high beams, and dynamic headlights.

The Kia Optima PHEV faces competition from other PHEV sedans like the Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid. However, the Kia Optima PHEV includes impressive overall fuel economy and a long list of standard features, making it a well-rounded plug-in hybrid designed for everyday life.


From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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