On an icy cold day in December a sporty new car landed in my driveway. As the keys were handed over I was given my mission: test drive the car for a week and report back. Not a bad task at all.
The car was a Kia Optima Hybrid  filled to the brim with all the bells and whistles. At first glance I was mesmerized by the sheer newness of this car. I’m on my own quest for a new car and have been on and off looking for the past six months or so. It’s been challenging to find a car that meets all of my criteria: a car with some redeeming eco-friendly features that fits a family of five, one dog and lots of ski, soccer, karate and baseball gear.
This was my first experience driving a hybrid and a Kia so I knew I was in for an interesting ride. Over the course of the week the car was mainly used for transporting my boys from point A to point B. Rarely were all five of us in the car together. The car worked perfectly for this. The best was when I drove the car alone. The stereo speakers were incredible-hopefully you didn’t see (or hear) me singing at the top of my lungs.
Interior of the Kia Optima Hybrid
Overall the interior of this car was pretty plush. A favorite feature was the heating and cooling seat options for both the front and back seats. It took a while to get used to the low bucket seats in this car. I’m an average height, coming in at 5′ 4″ on a good day, and the bucket seat on the driver and passengers side felt very low. The car was easily able to fit my three tall boys in the spacious back seat. They were seated next to each other which probably wouldn’t be ideal for a long trip.
The touch screen stereo system was a nice feature and very intuitive. I was able to get my fix of satellite radio. The navigation system was also very simple to use and aesthetically added to the loaded interior of the car. If you have a newer iDevice you will have to get an adapter to plug in-the car is fitted with an older plug.
Another favorite feature was the rear-view camera display which clearly showed when I was about to back into something. My kids were all over this.
The smart key remote system was incredibly convenient. The key never had to come out of my bag to start or unlock the car.
Exterior of the Kia Optima Hybrid
The car arrived all shiny and beautiful and left with snow and ice. The Kia Optima Hybrid is a sporty looking sedan with snazzy looking alloy wheels. The large sun and moon roofs allowed plenty of sunlight into the car. My one big complaint was the size of the windows. They felt extremely small and coupled with the low bucket seats they presented a bit of a challenge when checking my blind spots.
The true test was when it snowed and the roads were incredibly slippery. The Kia did very well with minimal slippage.
The car has heated side mirrors which were fantastic in the cold and snowy conditions.
Fuel efficiency and environmental performance
This car has great fuel efficiency. I was doing mainly city driving and it came in around 33 MPG. The expected range is about 34 MPG for city driving and 39 MPG for highway driving. Not bad.
The warranty on this car is fantastic. Kia offers a 10 year/100,000 mile limited warranty.
This was my first time driving a hybrid. It took a while to get used to the transition from hybrid to gas. I could actually feel the engine kicking over from one to the other. When the car was in hybrid mode it was extremely quiet. At various times I wasn’t sure whether or not the car was on. After driving the car a bit I began to figure out how it was operating.
Kia Optima Hybrid value
The MSRP of the Kia Optima Hybrid is $25,700. Add in the bells and whistles and your now up to $32,620. This car qualifies as a bit more than a commuter car. It’s a mid-sized sedan with a lot of perks.
Overall impression of the Kia Optima Hybrid
I could get used to driving a mid-sized sedan. The Kia grew on me as the week went by and I was sad to see it go. It’s not a practical everyday car for our large family, but it could easily work as a second family car. Overall the car was luxurious and comfortable. Tall family members had no problem with head or leg room. The fuel efficiency and other options made it a comfortable ride.
Disclaimer: The Kia Optima Hybrid was loaned to me from a 3rd party. I was not compensated or asked to write a favorable review. All opinions are my very own.