Poor Kia, always playing second fiddle to big brother Hyundai, including when it comes to Hybrids. Many months after the debut of the new Sonata Hybrid, the car’s twin, the new Kia Optima, now gets its own hybrid variant.
Using the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor and lithium-polymer battery, the combined output is 206-hp and 196 ft-lbs of torque. Fuel economy is projected to be 40-mpg on the highway says Kia, and if the package matches the Sonata Hybrid it will also get 36-mpg in the city. As a two-mode hybrid the system can operate on just electric power at up to 62 mph.
Unique to the hybrid model is a new front grille and 16-inch wheels, as well as headlights, fog lights, new front and rear lower bumpers and a rear spoiler.
Standard features include eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual zone climate control with rear vents, push-button start with smart key, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, automatic up/down on front windows, chrome interior door handles and a fixed rear seat with ski pass-through. An optional Premium Technology Package includes a panoramic sunroof, four-way power passenger seat, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, HID lights and a Nav system with 8-speaker infinity audio system.
Unique to the Optima Hybrid is a Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS), that plays an engine sound when in pure electric mode to notify pedestrians that the car is running.
Kia will also give the car an industry best 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
Click Here to Read AutoGuide’s Review of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Click Here to Read AutoGuide’s Review of the 2011 Kia Optima
GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Debut in LA
GALLERY: 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
Official release after the jump: