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I was recently introduced to the Kia Optima Hybrid 2012 and my opinion has been forever changed. Its style, technology and power were much more impressive than I had expected from a hybrid. It's also the first hybrid that I would consider in our future purchasing decisions - should a sedan be on our list.
With a coupe like appearance, this midsize sedan is sleek and sporty. The aggressive front end is complimented by unique headlamps that allow air to flow around its sweeping profile.
The interior continues with the sleek feel. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat in addition to an instrument panel contoured toward the driver - create a comfortable driving experience. The push button start, with smart key, adds to its ease of use. I think my little passengers in the backseat enjoyed the panoramic sunroof the most.
If the Kia Optima Hybrid didn’t automatically play a pre-recorded sound when you started the vehicle – you wouldn’t be aware that it was on. It is so quiet that in order to let people outside the car know that it is running – it plays another pre-recorded engine sound during its electric only operation which is in effect up to 12 miles per hour.
The transition between electric and fuel operation is virtually seamless. Glancing at the dashboard, you are able to monitor the automatic conversion between electric and fuel use just as you would monitor your speed. You also have the option of completely operating the Optima Hybrid in fuel mode. Though, I’m not sure why you would ever want to turn that off.
When I was handed the keys to the Optima Hybrid – I was told that I wouldn’t be able to use an entire tank of gas in one week’s time. I was certain they were wrong and added a few extra outings to our week. The additional trips to see Christmas lights, enjoy some frozen yogurt and just see the sites of the neighboring counties weren’t enough to empty that initial tank of gas. I can usually count on filling my tank at least one time a week, if not twice. By my estimation (and based on current gas prices) that could save me over $3,000 per year in fuel costs.
The Kia Optima Hybrid I drove had an MSRP of $32,500 and some of the features were:
(You can of course choose an Optima Hybrid with fewer options to bring down the overall cost)
:: Driver’s seat memory
:: Heated and Cooled Front Seats
:: Heated Outboard Rear Seats
:: Heated Steering Wheel
:: Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel and Gearshift Knob
:: Leather Seat Trim
:: HID Headlights with Auto Leveling
:: 17” Tires with Alloy Wheels
:: Panoramic Sunroof
:: Navigation system with Back-up Camera & Sirius Traffic
:: Rear Camera Display
:: Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
:: Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags
:: Dual Front Advanced Airbags
:: Front Seat Mounted Side Airbags
:: Push Button Start with Smart Key
:: BLUETOOTH WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY
:: SIRIUS Satellite Radio with free 3-month subscription (You will need to speak with the dealer for more details)
:: USB and Auxiliary Input Jacks
:: AM/FM/CD/MP3 Audio System
The Kia Optima Hybrid was overall a great vehicle to drive around for a week. It is the perfect size sedan for a small family and it has a vibrant appearance which I loved.