Kia Motors America (KMA) is one of the automotive industry's current fuel economy leaders, and that position was strengthened with the launch of the 2011 Optima Hybrid, the brand's first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. Designed to appeal to consumers looking for a stylish and well-appointed sedan that does not sacrifice style, comfort, performance or value for fuel efficiency, the Optima Hybrid offers the same combination of head-turning design and modern amenities that earned critical and consumer acclaim for the Optima following its debut, and adds a more fuel-efficient drivetrain and state-of-the-art lithium-polymer battery pack to deliver up to 34 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 39 mpg2 on the highway.
Available in two configurations – base model or with an advanced Hybrid Premium and Technology Package – all Optima Hybrids offer several features, including distinctive designs for the front grille and headlamps and 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, front and rear lower bumpers and side sills and LED tail lamp design. For 2012 the Optima Hybrid builds on an already solid platform with the addition of HD Radio and power folding outside mirrors to the Hybrid Premium and Technology Package.
State-of-the-art Hybrid Powertrain
All 2012 Optima Hybrid models feature a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gas engine that produces 166 horsepower connected by a wet clutch to an Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) synchronous electric motor producing 40 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque up to 1,400 rpm (in full-electric mode only). The advanced powertrain, mated to an efficient six-speed automatic transmission, delivers 34 miles per gallon in the city and 39 miles per gallon on the highway. The full parallel hybrid system can be driven in zero emission, full-electric drive mode at speeds up to 62 miles per hour or in blended gas-electric mode at any speed. When the car comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine shuts off to completely eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions.
To power the electric motor, the Optima Hybrid leverages a state-of-the-art, air-cooled 270V lithium-polymer (Li-PB) battery. Developed in partnership with LG Chem, Li-PB chemistry offers an optimum balance of power delivery, energy density, reliability and thermal stability. Compared to commonly used nickel metal hydride systems, Kia's Li-PB system is 20-30 percent lighter, occupies 40 percent less volume, is 10 percent more efficient, offers two times the power density, and holds a charge 25 percent longer than many comparable competitor systems. At only 95 pounds, the battery system is extremely durable with warranty coverage for up to 10 years or 150,000 miles.
Sleek and Aerodynamic Exterior
Maintaining the performance-oriented yet refined aesthetic of its non-hybrid siblings, the Optima Hybrid's world-class design combines a sleek silhouette and aggressive stance with sculpted elements that evoke passion and communicate the Kia Motors' philosophy of creating stylish and fun-to-drive vehicles. In keeping with Kia's visual motif, the Optima Hybrid proudly features a unique hybrid-specific black gloss and chrome version of the brand's signature tabbed front grille. Five millimeters lower than the non-hybrid Optima, the vehicle's coupe-like profile is accentuated by a sweeping chrome arc that flows seamlessly from the A through the C pillars, a distinctive design element that visually lowers the car while enhancing its proportions. Optima Hybrid's roofline connects with its pronounced shoulder line that leads to its sculpted flanks and extended wheelbase. Boldly flared wheel arches and a raked cabin create a graceful and muscular stance.
Every Optima Hybrid offers several enhancements to its exterior to improve aerodynamics, including a unique headlamp design that helps to channel air around the vehicle, rear spoiler, smooth underfloor panels that provide improved airflow under the vehicle, and smoother rear fascias (sides). The use of an active air flap system in the front grille helps to reduce drag by automatically opening or closing based on vehicle speed, engine temperature, and airflow in the front of the car. A lower ride height (five mm lower) and unique side mirror design also contribute to the Optima Hybrid's improved aerodynamic profile. Combined, all aerodynamic updates help the hybrid model achieve a 0.26 drag coefficient – a 10-percent improvement over non-hybrid models.
Every 2012 Optima Hybrid comes well equipped with numerous standard features, including hybrid-specific lightweight 16-inch alloy wheels, SX trim-inspired front and rear lower bumpers and side sills, unique LED tail light design, rear lip spoiler, single hidden exhaust tip, and a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that plays a pre-recorded engine sound during electric-only operation up to 12 miles per hour to help notify people outside the vehicle that it is approaching.
When equipped with the Premium Technology Package, 17-inch alloy wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, power folding outside mirrors, and HID headlamps with auto leveling are added.
High-tech and Modern Interior
Like all Optima models, the Optima Hybrid offers sleek modern lines and numerous well-positioned features inside the cabin and exudes a sporty, yet efficient layout designed with the eco-conscious driver in mind. From the instrument panel that's contoured toward the driver to create a cockpit-like feel to the precise gauges and engaging technology, the Optima Hybrid's interior provides a unique driver-centric experience without sacrificing passenger comfort or roominess.
The Optima Hybrid adds to the extensive list of standard convenience features and stylish appointments found on the well-equipped Optima LX A/T trim, with equipment including an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, electric dual zone automatic temperature control with rear vents, push-button start with Smart Key, Supervision™ meter cluster with unique LCD display for hybrid information, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, one-touch automatic up/down on front windows, chrome interior door handles, glove box illumination, rear reading lamps, and fixed rear seats with ski pass-through, a feature not found on most hybrid midsize sedan competitors. The Optima Hybrid's air conditioning system uses an electric compressor, reducing parasitic losses common in belt-driven systems and allowing cool air to flow even with the engine off in "idle-stop" mode.
The Optima Hybrid was the first Kia vehicle to offer the company's proprietary UVO powered by Microsoft®3 voice-activated infotainment system, which is paired with the AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sat audio system with SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capabilities with three months complimentary service4, back-up camera, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks for connecting with MP3 players and Bluetooth®5 wireless connectivity with steering wheel-mounted controls.
Consumers who select the Optima Hybrid with the available Hybrid Premium and Technology Package will enjoy additional comfort and convenience features, including a panoramic sunroof, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, a four-way power adjustable front passenger seat, driver's seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, HID head lights with automatic leveling, leatherette-wrapped center fascia, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink®6 and compass, a navigation system with back-up camera and SiriusXM Traffic™7, and an eight-speaker Infinity®8 audio system (these available features replace the UVO system), and power folding outside mirrors.
Building on a Dynamic Platform
The Optima's distinctive style and sporting demeanor is evident from its sheet metal down to its platform. Optima's low, aerodynamic and powerful stance is assisted through its overall length of 190.7 – an increase of 1.7 inches over the previous generation model – overall width of 72.1 inches and wheelbase of 110 inches and has a low ground clearance of 5.1 inches. The midsize sedan's lightweight design uses high-tensile-strength steel to enhance structural strength while also achieving high torsional stiffness, benefiting handling, ride quality and refinement. Additional measures to help improve noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) reduction qualities are fitted throughout the Optima.
The Optima Hybrid enhances the existing platform with features designed to reduce weight and improve efficiency. Lighter and more aerodynamic 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels are utilized to reduce weight and drag while low-rolling-resistance tires are used to lower the amount of friction generated when driving, which decreases fuel consumption. The extensive use of aluminum instead of steel for the lower front and rear control arms, tie rod ends, and rear knuckles helps contribute to the weight reduction of the Optima Hybrid.
Built on a unibody frame, the front-wheel-drive Optima Hybrid utilizes independent front and rear suspension systems. MacPherson struts are used in the front with a multi-link layout in the rear and are both joined with coil springs and front anti-roll bars to engage drivers with responsive handling and provide the utmost comfort whether the road is smooth or less than ideal.
Standard Kia Safety Features
The 2012 Optima Hybrid is equipped with a high level of standard safety features. All trims come outfitted with driver and passenger advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, first and second row side curtain airbags, front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). A four-wheel Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard.
An advanced Battery Management System (BMS) on the Optima Hybrid constantly monitors the hybrid battery and cuts output if an abnormality is detected.
The 2012 Optima Hybrid is covered by Kia's comprehensive warranty program9, which offers consumer protection at an exceptional value. Included in this program are a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan also is part of the comprehensive vehicle coverage.