KIA Optima Hybrid {love at second sight}

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Driving the KIA optima
by Tyler, editor and reviewer

When I get in the KIA Optima Hybrid, I get the sudden urge to just drive. Cross state lines and head out and see the world. There is something about having run your errands all week without filling up and still seeing 450 miles until empty that makes it feel like a challenge.

Go on, open up the sunroof and crank some tunes, because we have some driving to do.

Kia Optima sunroof

Infinity speakers
You may remember our KIA Optima Hybrid post from last year where we dubbed it the Road Trip Mobile, so you can imagine we were excited to test out the new 2013 KIA Optima to see what has been changed in the past few years. While the Optima hasn't been fully updated since we last tried it out, there have been some pretty significant changes.

It almost feels like Kia read our last review and then addressed exactly the issues we spoke of, the first of which being the transition between gas and electric modes. In the previous model there were times when the car could be a little rough switching back and forth, but with some new software updates this thing is now unflappable. Every transition was completely smooth even when I tried to duplicate the scenarios that were trouble previously.  Kia Optima Hybrid

While you could go check out all sorts of Kia specs on the Optima Hybrid, I thought I would share some of my favorite additions that sold me on the newer model:

They've added more torque! The first Optima Hybrid we tested already felt quick but now it is even more so with the extra power to get you moving off the line. Most people think of hybrids as being slow gas misers that plod along the road, but the Optima Hybrid is really a fun to drive sporty sedan that just so happens to get amazing mileage.

More trunk space! The battery has been reconfigured so that it takes up less space in the trunk. While it still has less space than the non-hybrid model, the battery layout is a lot smarter and more streamlined now to the fact that we were able to fit in our precious Britax double stroller easily in the newest model.

It’s stealthy, like a ninja. I love that the Optima Hybrid can be on and ready to go without the engine actually runnning. It even starts from most stops on electric power only, which is really fun to quietly drive around and see how far we can get before the engine kicks in. My favorite quote of the test drive was when my daughter said, “Don’t turn on the car yet,” and I replied, “It’s already been running.”

KIA Optima dashboard
While there are also a few minor cosmetic differences and some other little tweaks here and there, what really impressed me was that partway through the model cycle Kia made some real significant changes to the Optima Hybrid while still keeping everything we loved the first time around.

The Kia Optima Hybrid is one of my favorite cars I've driven in the past few years, with an amazing blend of sportiness, practicality, and comfort. Be sure to check out our previous Optima review for some more details on what we love about it, or go to to check one out for yourself.  Get in and drive

Tyler polaroid

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