While some car manufacturers are already introducing 2014 models, the 2013 version of the Kia Optima Hybrid is just now hitting the market. Its supposed lateness can be attributed to a few things, but most importantly to Kia’s desire to improve its performance and fuel efficiency. Thats important because several new or updated competitors have entered the fray including the next generation Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Third Model Year
Kia introduced the Optima Hybrid for the 2011 model year, its first-ever gas-electric model. Both standard and hybrid models have received favorable press, although the hybrid has tended to trail its competitors in fuel economy. For 2013, Kia estimates that the standard Optima Hybrid will deliver 36 mpg around the city and 40 mpg on the highway for a combined 38 mpg.
The stylish Kia Optima Hybrid enjoys an updated powertrain, one that now features a 47 horsepower electric traction motor. This system is also outfitted with an improved hybrid starter generator and a lithium polymer battery with a 47 kilowatt output. Combined 199 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque help to move the Optima Hybrid with authority.
Two Trim Levels
Further changes include offering two trim levels, up from the previous single offering. Base and EX editions are now sold, the latter reducing fuel economy by 1 mpg as it is outfitted with 17-inch wheels. Standard models roll with 16-inch tires.
Kia carefully repacked the battery package with the 2013 Optima Hybrid, a move that frees up slightly more room in the trunk. If you want a standard navigation system with a backup camera, then choose the EX edition. You also gain an eight-speaker Infinity sounds system, heated and ventilated front seats and a panoramic sunroof.
Other changes with the 2013 edition include improved aerodynamics and the introduction of lighter weigh materials. The lower front and controlling arms, tie rods and rear knuckles now include more lightweight aluminum, while a slightly lower ground clearance and trim embellishments also make this sedan more slippery.
Safety and Warranties
Numerous safety features are standard across the Kia Optima Hybrid line. For 2013, you get front, side and side curtain airbags, a four-wheel anti-lock brake system, traction control, stability control, stability management and hill start assist. The Kia Optima is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+ for 2013, receiving the highest possible crash test ratings.
Kias generous warranty plans include a 5-year or 60,000-mile new car warranty that also includes roadside assistance. A 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is standard, with a 10-year, 150,000-mile hybrid system warranty available in most states. Rust protection is for five years or 100,000 miles.
See Also — Next Generation Kia Optima Bows in New York
Photo courtesy of Kia Motors America.