Kia Expands Green Lineup with Updated Optima Hybrid and New Plug-in Hybrid

Kia is expanding its green car lineup, adding a plug-in Optima Hybrid with a 600-mile range to the mix.

Every single car the Korean automaker debuted at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show was green this year, with an updated Kia Optima Hybrid, an all-new Niro crossover hybrid, and the brand’s first plug-in hybrid making their debuts at the normally quiet show.

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The plug-in gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and a 50 kW motor that is 42 percent more powerful than the motor in the previous Optima Hybrid. The plug-in’s system is augmented by a 9.8 kWh lithium ion battery pack that allows the sedan to get an all-electric range of 27 miles. The batteries are stored under the rear seats so they don’t cut into cargo or cabin space. A full charge with a 240-volt Level 2 charger can be completed in less than three hours, while it takes about nine hours on a Level 1 120-volt charger.

ALSO SEE: Full 2016 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

The regular hybrid is 10 percent more efficient than the outgoing one. It’s powered by the same 2.0L four-cylinder as the PHEV with 154 hp, and a 38 kW electric motor tied to a 1.62 kWh battery pack. Total system output for the hybrid is estimated at 193 hp.

The PHEV Optima will have three driving modes: all-electric (suitable for short city trips), hybrid (highway driving) and charging modes. Both cars will also have a Coasting Guide, which coaches the driver on when to coast or brake to maximize fuel economy. The PHEV and the regular hybrid tie the Tesla Model S for aerodynamics, as both cars have a 0.24 coefficient of drag.

2017 Kia Optima Hybrid

Of course, the Optimas will offer the latest safety technology: autonomous emergency braking, blind spot detection, smart cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning systems, and a telematics system are all available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available, and the PHEV also gets a system that will help you find local charging stations.

The plug-in and hybrid Optima have a lot of similarities as the gas version, but will get unique instrument cluster, some different exterior design cues, and special alloy wheels. The plug-in model will only come in the EX trim level, and will go on sale in the last quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to its launch.

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