On the outside, the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid has a striking, head turning design. If it wasn’t for the Kia emblem you could easier confuse it with a much higher-end luxury vehicle. The engineers have done a really good job, I think, improving the aesthetics of this vehicle with balanced proportions, elegant shapes and stylish curves. Chrome accent door handles and a unique front grille design is another feature that makes it stand out from the crowd.
Here’s something I think you’ll like, key-less entry; if you walk up to the car with the key fob in your hand and the door is locked, no worries. You can open the door just by pressing the small black button on the door handle. It’s as simple as that.
On the inside you’ll find many features typically found in much more expensive vehicles such as a leather seat trim, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob and so on.
The Optima has a push button start with your smart key which I really like. And because it’s a Hybrid, it’s hard to know when the engines on but a simple way to know is looking for the green ready light within the instrument panel.
You have dual zone automatic temperature control, heated and cooled front seats and if your hands are cold or if it’s cold outside, there’s a heated steering wheel option.
My test vehicle comes with the Premium Technology Package which includes navigation system, back up camera, and bluetooth wireless connectivity; which was really easy to pair with my Droid and outlets for additional audio devices.
It’s extremely spacious for both the driver seat and the passenger and it’s even bigger in the back. This is truly a vehicle that you can take long road trips in. Leg room is terrific and the panoramic sunroof creates the illusion of even more space.
Under the hood, the Optima has a 2.4 liter, 4 cylinder hybrid engine paired to an automatic transmission for a combined power output of 206 hp with 195 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy estimates put the Optima at 35 miles per gallon in the city and up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
Safety wise, the Optima has just about everything you could ask for; dual front advance airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, an anti-lock brake system, hill start assist, a traction control system. A few of the things I think it’s missing are a blind spot warning and intervention system and lane departure warning and prevention; safety features that would really make it a must have.
In the end, I really liked the style and look of this vehicle. It gives the impression that you paid a lot more money than you really did. The manufacturer suggested retail price is $25,700. My tester was closer to $32,500.
I wasn’t a big fan of the wheels but that’s a personal preference and there’s the acceleration lag but that’s to be expected with a hybrid. At least it doesn’t have a CVT. With fuel economy numbers in the mid to upper 30’s, economically, the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid makes a lot of sense to me.
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