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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kia’s Brand New Optima Hybrid

Kia is ready to talk pricing on its first ever hybrid vehicle in the States, the all-new Optima Hybrid, which we first saw at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. A sister model to Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid, with which is shares the same gasoline-electric powertrain, the Optima Hybrid will reach U.S. showrooms in June with a starting price of $26,500, not including a $750 destination and handling fee that lifts the cost to $27,250. By comparison, the hybrid version of the Sonata starts at $25,795, excluding destination charges.

The Optima’s parallel hybrid powetrain makes use of a modified 2.4-liter Theta II engine without direct-injection that runs on the Atkinson cycle and delivers 166HP and 151 lb-ft of peak torque. The four-cylinder gasoline unit is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor capable of delivering 40.2 horsepower (30 kW) and 151.2 pound-feet of torque when electric only. When in hybrid mode, the combined output of the two motors comes to 206.2 horsepower and 195.4 pound-feet of torque. A set of lithium polymer batteries from LG Chem completes the hybrid package.
Kia claims the Optima Hybrid can deliver up to 35 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
Standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, dual zone automatic temperature control with rear vents, push-button start with smart key and the company's UVO powered by Microsoft hands-free, voice-activated infotainment and communications system.
For an additional $5,000, customers can opt for the Hybrid Premium Technology Package, that ups the luxury ante with several comfort and convenience features. These include a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch alloys, four-way power adjustable front passenger's seat, driver's seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, HID headlamps with automatic leveling, leatherette-wrapped center fascia, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a navigation system with back-up camera and SIRIUS Traffic, and an upgraded eight-speaker Infinity audio system.


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