BREAKING: Kia Optima Hybrid To Debut At Los Angeles Auto Show

BREAKING: Kia Optima Hybrid To Debut At Los Angeles Auto Show

While attending the launch of the 2011 Kia Optima, AutoGuide has just learned that Kia is planning to launch an Optima Hybrid, based on the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. The new model will make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, with sales beginning in early 2011.

Kia Motors America CEO and group president Byung Mo Ahn revealed the existence of the Optima Hybrid at the 2011 Optima’s launch in Southern California. The Hybrid will join the 2.4L and 2.0T four-cylinder engines in the lineup.

The Optima Hybrid should match the Sonata Hybrid’s figures of 37 mpg in the city and 39 mpg highway. Power will likely come from a 2.4L four-cylinder engine making 209 horsepower and 195 ft-lbs of torque, with electric driving speeds of up to 62 mph.

AutoGuide’s LA Auto Show coverage starts November 17th. Until then, check out our LA Auto Show Preview here.

Get more Kia Optima news and info at

  • Chad

    Who cares? Honestly, doesn’t every car maker have a hybrid now? This is not some new, fantastical technology anymore. Hybrid is old hat. It has become “just another car technology”. One that raises the cost of a car while not really delivering a great benefit to the drivers except higher MPG.

  • Derek Kreindler

    The Optima Hybrid will likely be the least expensive mid-size hybrid for sale. Enthusiasts may not be too interested but a lot of “A to B” drivers will be, as the Optima is a nicely packaged car that likely delivers close to 40 mpg in hybrid trim.

  • Chad

    For A to B driving, a Hyundai Accent gives nearly the same 40 MPG (at least when I drove one) at much lower base price.

    The biggest problem with the hybrids is that the price of the low end models doesn’t give the luxuries one would expect to be paying that kind of coin for. And if you really want to save money, you aren’t buying an expensive car. These hybrids don’t have a real place in the market, except the Feel-Good category.

  • Derek Kreindler

    Yes, an Accent might give you 40 mpg, but someone looking at a mid-size car likely has a family with a couple kids, and needs the extra passenger and cargo room that a mid-size sedan affords. Someone buying an Accent and someone buying a Sonata or Optima are two different people.

    You’re right about the feel-good factor, but if this car can legitimately offer the mileage of a subcompact while rivaling a Camry, it’s hard to see why people wouldn’t look at this, unless they had a die-hard ideological prejudice against hybrids.

  • Chad

    Okay, the stakes are upped. One wants an A-B FAMILY car. The base model Sonata is $20k for 35 highway MPG. The base model Optima is $18k for 32 MPG. If this is about saving money in the long-run, the hybrid loses, because the price premium it adds would buy years worth of gas for these family movers, and have a lower monthly payment.

    It comes back to the tree-hugger factor. That is the only reason to buy a hybrid. They aren’t cost effective. You pay more, for less features. Let’s be optimistic and say the hybrid Optima will only cost $25k, a $7k premium over the carbon-emitter. For that coin, you could splurge on the Hyundai Azera for more comfort and fit features than the Sonata offers, more engine, more everything. Or go SUV and get some AWD goodness. Sure, you sacrifice MPG, but you gain more overall features that benefit a family.

    Right now, hybrids are the play things for the upper-middle and upper class. It is feel-good tech for people that think they are saving the planet from destruction. When this tech reaches the lower and lower-middle class (which make up the majority of cars sales), THEN you will see true improvement in the emissions from cars and trucks.

    And there is still the issue of the weight of these hybrids. They weigh too much. Has anyone given thought to what effect this will have on the roads? More road repair = increased taxation.

    We need LIGHTER cars. The X Prize car winner proved that. An 800-lb carbon-fiber car that tells hybrids to shove off. The American population needs to be nudged towards smaller, lighter gas guzzlers. Not piggish hybrids.

  • Derek Kreindler

    What people buy and what makes sense are two different things. Car companies know this very well.

  • Jefe’

    “We need LIGHTER cars. The X Prize car winner proved that. An 800-lb carbon-fiber car that tells hybrids to shove off. The American population needs to be nudged towards smaller, lighter gas guzzlers. Not piggish hybrids.”

    Yeah, and when that Suburban slams into the side or back of your 800 lb. carbon fiber vehicle, let’s see if you survive. What we need are plug-in electrics like the Nissan Leaf or Prius EV that are the size of the Optima or Sonata. They’re a few years off, but coming soon. No emissions, no gasoline costs, but still weigh 3000 lbs. so a sudden gust of wind doesn’t blow you away.

  • Chad

    I ride a 700 lb motorcycle. A gust of wind doesn’t move me. It ain’t gonna move an aerodynamic 800-lb car. Read up on your science, Jefe. If a 4000-lb Suburban hits an 800-lb object, the 800-lb object will easily move, with that movement absorbing energy from the collision. This is the same tech that F1 cars use. If they can crash at 200 MPH and the driver walks away, imagine how much better it will be with a crash at 65 MPH. If EV was so good, why didn’t it win the X Prize contest?

  • MoxoM

    Chad, Your crash comparison doesn’t really hold water because the F1 cars all weigh approximately the same (a requirement)and they’re usually moving in the same direction on an open track with energy absorbing material placed strategically around the track.
    Now back to reality. If a much heavier vehicle such as a 6000 pound Suburban were to hit an 800 pound vehicle against a stationary object such as a wall or concrete divider, the lighter vehicle will not be able to “easily move”. It will get crushed along with everything in it.

  • xlthim

    Chad, some of your points are valid, but your comparisons are apples vs oranges. The Kia hybrid will cram as much luxury as Kia offers, so no comparing to base Sonatas. Find cars equipped the same.
    Also, I drive a 4 cylinder 2010 Sonata. A step above the base, but still comfortable. I squeeze every drop I can out of a tank of gas, and I can NOT get 35 MPG, more like 32 (the sticker rating when I bought it). I have a 120 mile round trip to work. I have run the numbers, and I have figured a savings of $4000 over the life of a 5 year loan. Model for model, hybrids add about $3500 to the price of a car (no base model hybrids, remember?). Even if we say it is a break even, after the loan is paid, then the hybrid starts paying itself off in gas savings. We’ll have to wait and see about maintenance costs.
    I am not a tree hugger. I’m just cheap. I see savings in this car for the kind of car I need – family of 4, so larger, older, so comfortable.
    You can’t judge drivers/buyers decisions because we are all different. There are a lot of cars that compare to my Sonata, but mine was built in Montgomery Alabama, of which I am a resident, so I figured why not keep someone in my state employed. I was thinking of the Sonata hybrid, but I like the looks of the Optima better.
    By the way, when you start talking about “nudging” people, you lose credibility. You sound like someone who is only going to be happy with a nation of SMART cars, which by the way, is talking about coming out with a hybrid. Is that why you don’t care about being broadsided by a 6000# Suburban? In your world, they won’t exist.

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