February 21, 2018

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid

The 2012 KIA Optima Hybrid is a sleek, sporty looking car. On the inside and out it is modern and stylish. You can’t help but love a car that offers a roomy front and back seat and trunk yet manages to contain its outward appearance. Full of great standard features like a rearview camera, satellite radio, Bluetooth, push-button start, leather wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob and a USB jack the Optima Hybrid will delight you in many ways.

The exterior of the Optima Hybrid, the only hybrid in the KIA line, has a rear lip spoiler, 17″ Alloy wheels, front fog lights, LED tail lights and the outside mirrors have turn signals built into them. Trunk space is 15.4 cubic feet making it larger than most cars in this class. I managed to fit a weeks worth of groceries in it along with a Target run.  The Hybrid has a 2.4 liter four-cylinder gas engine that works with an electric motor. Together they make up 206 hp and 195 of torque. It can go from 0-60 mph in about 8.4 seconds. I can attest to that from my drives on I-95 during the week I had it. This makes it feel slightly more zippy than other hybrids I have tested. However, like other reviewers I found the transition from gas to electric to jerk you around when it kicks in. I can’t help but wonder how a regular Optima handles acceleration.  Beyond that the Optima offers a fairly smooth ride.  Neighborhood speed bumps can be somewhat tough but many mid-size cars handle the same way.  Like the KIA Sorento the brakes are quick and the steering is responsive.  I didn’t notice numb steering which has been an issue with some drivers.


On the inside the Optima Hybrid boasts push button start with Smart Key, dual-zone automatic temperature control with rear vents and power lumbar support for the driver. The car I drove also had the options of heated front and back seats, which is a nice touch, especially when combined with a heated steering wheel.  UVO in car Infotainment System, leather trim a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, rear camera display and cooled front seats were all tucked inside too. The layout on the centerstack is easy to reach and isn’t complicated.  Whether you are using the navigation system or working the radio you can do it without having to take your eyes off the road and spend a lot of time trying to learn how to use the car.   The ride is comfortable and looks good too.  I enjoyed my time in the Optima Hybrid. It was perfect for running around town, shuttling kids to school and driving solo on a commute. I was able to fit two boosters or a booster and a car seat into the back seat without feeling cramped.  The leg room in back is more than adequate for adults too.   My one issue was that as a hybrid this car is quiet but in terms of ride it isn’t as quiet as I would like. .  Once speeds reach 45 mph you begin to get more outside noise.  KIA, like other car companies should take note that not just luxury cars can offer a truly quiet ride.

The Optima Hybrid fuel economy is estimated by the EPA at 34/39/36 mpg.  Safety-wise the car has dual front advanced air bags, and full-length side, front seat mounted side airbags.  Anti-lock brakes, a tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control work together to create a safe ride.  IIHS crash test data was unavailable but it received a 5 star rating in all categories from the NHTSA crash tests.

Base price for the KIA Optima Hybrid is $25, 700.  My fully loaded model had an MSRP of $32,500. It comes with a 10 year/100,000 mile Limited Powertrain Warranty or 5 year/60,000 mile Limited Basic Warranty and 5 year/60,000 mile Roadside Assistance.  View all options for the KIA Optima Hybrid on www.kia.com.

MPR Rating: Four Stars.

Disclaimer: MPR was not paid for this post. Products received are for review purposes only.  Opinions are MPR’s only.





*Interior Image from Motor Trend.