CleanMPG Reviews the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. RichXKU

    RichXKU Well-Known Member

    Landon, I know this wasn't directed at me, but what about the Insight? It would be more versatile than the Civic (or even Optima since the seats don't fold down), gets 40/43 and is priced at or below the Civic.
     
  2. landongolf

    landongolf Active Member

    The only problem is the back seats, one almost rips oen head off to get in the back seat, ,other than that its a nice car.... jack
     
  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Not to mention that in the hands of an efficient driver the Insight would deliver way more than 40/43.

    And whatever you buy, wait as long as you can. The key, I think, is the Prius. Once supply has been back to normal for a month or two there should be some downward pressure on every other efficient car out there.
     
  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A little trip into the heart of downtown Chicago with the Kia Optima Hybrid for a Radio Interview with Bill Moller of WGN this morning. Temps heading out were in the 73 to 75 degree range so no A/C was needed. Traffic was relatively congested but still moving after the 6+ inches of rain that was dumped on Chicago last night. A lot of lane closures. Coming home, temps were in the 85 to 88 degree F range and I used A/C with the following results…

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid’s trip into downtown Chicago

    [​IMG]
    63.0 mpgUS displayed (59.0 mpgUS actual) Home to downtown Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

    [​IMG]
    A little sightseeing right next door to the Radio Station… Who Dat ;)

    [​IMG]
    61.0 mpgUS displayed (57.1 mpgUS actual). The Drive home w/ A/C in Auto at 74 degrees F.
    Notice that the A/C light is not lit but cool air was coming out of the vents the entire drive home.​

    Performance with or without A/C? Excellent! Handling is really good even though I have yet to perform the accident avoidance maneuvers. Ride? That could use some work as the suspension is really stiff. I can understand that to give the Optima a sporty ride but you pay for it with cabin NVH.

    Hybrid drivetrain action in the inner city. Actually, Hyundai/Kia improved upon the prototype I drove earlier this year. You can run through at least 4-gears vs. 2 or 3 previously before the ICE spins up. Although that can still be a problem from light to light, I have a technique for that ;)

    Auto P&G is still the best solution I have ever seen in a hybrid drivetrain. Glides are as good as the VW system and better than HSD by a long shot. The Optima Hybrid could still use some programming to remove a slight shift shock that occurs mostly when you just take off from cold in first and between first and second.

    While an FFH, Prius and CT200h will take it out in heavy urban centers like downtown Chicago, it is on the highway where the Optima Hybrid still rules the midsize sedan category.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    In addition, I took the Kia Optima hybrid grocery shopping today and needless to say, while the trunk at 9.9 cu. ft. is big enough for most small items, it will not hold $288 worth of groceries :(

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid – Grocery Shopping

    [​IMG]
    Fully loaded Sam’s cart would not quite fit into the trunk.

    [​IMG]
    Trunk hinge interference with groceries :(

    [​IMG]
    Last of the groceries into the back seat.​

    Wayne
     
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jack:

    While I am a Honda fan and have to in the drive, that was the past. The all-new 2012 Civic interior/exterior styling needs work and so do the prices. That said, if it were a conventional drivetrain, the 11 Elantra offers up a lot more size, features and Fuel Economy for < $’s.

    For maximum FE, the more expensive 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid would do wonders although with a price that is approaching that of the Optima or Sonata hybrid ($24,050 for the base w/out some of the features included with the Optima/Sonata Hybrids); it is up against a lot of headwind.

    Wayne
     
  7. landongolf

    landongolf Active Member

    Wayne thanks so much,Jack

    You mentioned that you had a technique from light to light, can you share.

    Hybrid drivetrain action in the inner city. Actually, Hyundai/Kia improved upon the prototype I drove earlier this year. You can run through at least 4-gears vs. 2 or 3 previously before the ICE  spins up. Although that can still be a problem from light to light, I have a technique for that
     
  8. landongolf

    landongolf Active Member

    Another question? What do you think us mere mortals would obtain in MPG in the Hybrid, with 50/50 hwy, city driving with a light foot? Jack
     
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    An area where the Kia Optima just like the Hyundai Sonata excels is in seating room for the taller folks. If you cannot fit in the front and the rear, you are either to tall for your own good or should be playing for one of the professional basketball teams! On the passenger side with the seat placed as far aft as it can go, my toes could not even reach the firewall!

    [​IMG]

    The Kia Optima Hybrid certainly feels like a much larger than the Mid-size rating it was given by the EPA from the interior!

    Wayne
     
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

    [​IMG]
    (2) 12V Outlets up front.​

    When I had the Garmin NAVI and the Phone plugged into their respective outlets, the tray was nto big enough for the cabling, the charger(s) ends and the phone NAVI to fit in the space provided easily.

    Wayne
     
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    And let me know what you think of the Kia Optima Hybrid displays and controls vid I have been putting together all night :rolleyes:

    [flash]http://www.youtube.com/v/RnKIcTJdjgM?version=3[/flash]

    Wayne
     
  12. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid – Features

    [​IMG]
    Driver side door pockets, controls, chrome door handle, fuel and rear trunk opening buttons.​

    The fuel tank door and trunk opening switch seemed a bit out of place but worked well once you got used to their location.

    Chrome door handles simply spiced up the interior some.

    Cloth inserts helped as well but with a number of different types of plastics and colors from top to bottom, the “design/style” was overreaching imho.

    [​IMG]
    Glove box was large enough for std. items and included a cooler vent to keep beverages cool when stowed.​

    The next one is going to be a bit hard to visualize but if your head could rest on the inside front window glass and you were looking up and back where the headliner meets the roof and window glass, this is what you would see in the Kia Optima Hybrid.

    [​IMG]
    Headliner rolled over the edge at the front windscreen.​

    Something few notice but I was impressed with was the rolled over edge of the headliner. A very HQ touch considering most mid-size competitors simply glue the leading edge to the upper roof window edge. In addition, the headliner material felt both durable and HQ.

    The A-Pillar however was a plastic piece. Most include the same while some use the cloth material on the A-Pillar cover as well.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Last 20-mile drive :(

    [​IMG]

    Wayne
     
  14. landongolf

    landongolf Active Member

    I just test drove the Kia Optima Hybrid and the Kia Optima, I did the same route roughly 12 miles of 70/30 of Highway(Speed Limit 55)/City driving....
    The Regular Optima averaged 29.3
    The Hybrid Optima 30.3

    So here is my delema, Why should I buy the Hybrid.....am I not driving it properly? I never hit the gas hard, glided when I could and never went over the speed limit....What's Up! Give me advise....Which car would you buy? Thanks Jack:D
     
  15. RichXKU

    RichXKU Well-Known Member

    A dealer demo car could have been sitting for a few weeks, with a poor battery SoC. Tires probably underinflated, A/C on (the light does not illuminate in auto mode), and starting off on a cold engine sounds like the worst case scenario unfortunately :(

    Also: did you use Econ mode?
     
  16. landongolf

    landongolf Active Member

    I'm not sure about the battery, but the car was in eco mode, and at times I pumped the brakes to make sure EV was on.
     
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Jack:

    I had the wife run a gauntlet of lights and signs far beyond what the FTP-75 incurs over an 8-mile distance with A/C at max and her "uncontrollable accelerator pedal" driving style. The display revealed an ugly 30.4 when she arrived at the grocery store. It is all in how you drive it. Race out and to the lights, you will get hammered. Take advantage of what the Optima Hybrid has to offer and it will kill the conventionally powered Optima quite easily. It simply has too much potential in the driveline for the std. AT to compete in any driving scenario I can think of.

    I had my mom take a city/suburban drive with a number of full stops within (2) harbor’s in the Kenosha, WI area and an ice cream stop. After 20-miles, 42.2 mpgUS was displayed.

    The only Optima that has a chance against the hybrid would be the stick and you would have to be so "on it" and only on a light suburban/Intersate drive cycle. There are maybe 5 in the country that would drive the stick to the potential needed and it could get tiring real quick for those not attune with the techniques that need to be evoked at the appropriate times. The heat alone would take its toll for the stick driver as the Optima Hybrid was on Auto at 74 degrees during the day and 2 to 4 on the vent fan at night. The non-hybrids would more than likely incur a 25 to 30% hit by comparison to the excellent results the KOH provided.

    Overall impressions, competitive comparisons, ride and handling

    Other than a slight oscillation in first and between first and second when it is dead cold (not really cold in 70 to 90 degree temps but cold for an ICE and AT on initial start), the OH acts like a hybrid should 99.9% of the time. Leaving the drive, AutoStop works, glides work and the HSG along with the ICE-On is prepped to charge the Li-Po if SoC is low. When leaving a light or sign even with a SOC below half, the OH is programmed to keep the ICE-Off up to 10 to 15 mph depending on your acceleration demand. The FFH once warm will accomplish the same and the TCH once really warm will also. The OH simply does it sooner.

    The drivetrain engineers at Hyundai/Kia have done some work on the Hybrid drivetrain vs. the 99.7% production ready prototypes I have driven in the past. The only area where you have to be careful is the short distance, heavy traffic light to light to light traffic scenario. With a decent SoC in the competitors, you can maintain ICE-Off without much thought. The OH requires some finesse and some interesting techniques that I will have to keep under the radar for the time being until I have another opportunity to hone them in the heart of a major city like Chicago. I should have spent more time down there with the tough traffic and pedestrian situation but I needed to get back.

    The only real competitors to the Optima Hybrid (OH) are the FFH and TCH with the Sonata hybrid essentially being a duplicate drivetrain. Around town, the FFH/TCH can best the 11 Kia OH but open it up a bit with a light suburban or interstate drive and the OH pulls away. It is on the cost front and equipment levels where the other two brands get into a little trouble. The all-new 2012 TCH is just a few weeks away (we’ll be driving it in Seattle this Thursday) and along with its always perfect ergonomics and quiet and compliant ride (not very sporty), I suspect Toyota may be upping its own game and providing competitive EPA and overall numbers for the average consumer to experience. That however is simply speculation because as of today, a highway driver is going to have to consider the Optima hybrid as their vehicle of choice if they want to save fuel and the ease at which it can and does do exactly that. The way in which the OH P&G’s the Li-Po is simply a thing of beauty. It is seamless and nobody that rode in it during the week we had it even knew it was transitioning from ICE-On to ICE-Off. Not once!

    Did I just mention how the seamless transitions while auto P&G’ing the Li-Po was a thing of genius? I just did it again. To get the most out of it however, you have to allow the SoC to come back up as quickly as possible. Keep using assist for power around town or on the Interstate and you are throwing a lot of its potential away under any driving regimen.

    Appearance - As mentioned previously, the OH has a very Altima/Z “esque” exterior appearance with a somewhat traditional interior. I prefer the HSH interior/exterior better whereas others have stated they like the OH’s better. A matter of personal preference indeed.

    Displays - While easy on the eyes, I do not think the OH provided the feedback one really needs to take advantage of the car’s capability. Better put, I should say “understand” its capability. The aFCD does not match reality since it is mostly pegged from fourth through sixth even while accelerating and charging the Li-Po hard. The SG-II after a 24% calibration offset was reading a much more believable 20 to 23 mpgUS. The odometer offset almost matching the HSH to one-tenth of one percent was pretty cool. The aFCD being off by 6.3% and the tach by almost 10% at lower speed was not a good thing vs. the HSH and especially the FFH which for all intents and purposes is dead on. The tach display is also too small. The way in which the OH manages SoC and P&G’ing the Li-Po, an ICE-On threshold bar would probably not be needed for the average Joe or Jane Q. Public?

    There is a lot of information in front of the driver but the inaccuracies other than what appeared to be the SoC and speedo (speedo at 60 was about ½ mph under reporting) display, I had to use the SG-II to see and understand what was going on as far as how hard the ICE was accelerating the car vs. charging with LOD.

    Fit and Finish – The gaps for the hood, front quarter, front door, between the front and rear door at the B-Pillar, rear door and crease separating the steel side body panel from the lower rear quarter plastic rear bumper shroud were all very uniform but not uniform with one another. The rolled edge of the headliner is a HQ touch and one I doubt anyone really cares to take notice of. I did and I liked it! The plastics while softer than some still incorporated a very open grain. I like the tighter grain plastics of luxury offerings but it a simple personal objection and I would be glad to have one sitting in my drive for the next 5-years.

    Ride Comparisons

    It rides better than the Prius of course and is much quieter during accelerations with the ICE-On too. It is too bad the Prius is the gold standard for hybrid comparison but it is what it is. Against the TCH and FFH, I would give the competitors the leg up. Both are slightly quieter than the OH and when the pavement gets rough or when encountering an entry curb, the OH’s rear suspension feels as if it bottoms out with harshness up against the bump stops. On smoother suburban pavement, the kind we all drive, the OH is quiet enough to have a conversation in without having to raise one’s voice and is very well composed. The heavy on-center feel I wrote about in a previous post is more than likely synthetic but works well. In addition, I suspect alignment after almost 7,500 miles of journalists beating it to within an inch of its life, their maybe some toe work needed as it was drifting slightly to the left out on the super slab when simply allowed to go where it wanted to go.

    Seats - The entire true mid-size class has almost perfected this and I felt the Kia OH was similar. I was in it for no more than 2-hours at a stretch and was not fatigued in any way. The standard 10-way electronically adjustable driver seat is easy on the butt and the back and I would have loved to keep on driving!

    Handling

    The competitors are not well suited to take on the latest form Korea. They have better rides but handling, I would have to give the Kia OH a leg up. It has a more sports car feel from behind the wheel with less body roll. At its limits, it actually over steered with the tail kicking out slightly so you will have to be careful with that one. Parking lot maneuverability saw the OH exceed expectations as the EPA was light at slow speeds. Hit the interstate and it tightens up nicely.

    Ergonomics

    The Fuel door and trunk release in the central driver’s side door takes some getting used to. Just like the Volt’s similar location but hidden releases, the OH is just different is all? I could have used another half an inch of telescopic but I am only lightly mentioning it.

    I wish the door sill and center arm rest were raised another inch or so but most cars fail in this regard for my more stretched out seating position.

    While I have read in this very thread one member had trouble getting into and out of the Kia’s rear seat, I thought it was one of the better entry exits in the mid-size class. Surprisingly too since it appears as if the rear angles would take you head off. Due to the massive amount of rear leg room, you are actually further forward when stepping in which I think helps? Once inside, my head was not anywhere near the headliner so Kia thought of that as well. It was roomy and comfortable for the short period I was back there.

    Infotainment

    UVO voice control was easy to use and master. Other than the ~ 4” base LCD screen not matching the rest of the car’s look, it was fine for a base model. I only wish I had the T-Bolt to stream Pandora through the system just to give it a go. I had one Bluetooth connection failure upon initialization with the Motorola and I am not sure if it was a onetime glitch. The sound is very average and could use better speakers and head unit. This OH was the base so I do not know what the upgraded Technology package with its Infinity Premium Sound would sound like? I wish I could have tried it out because I seem to remember the Ininity sounding great at the Auto Show Press Events when it was lit up.

    Hybrid Technology Option Package – While $5,000 appears to be a large sum on the surface, Kia throws in the works including an embedded 7” screened OEM NAVI, sunroof, HID’s, leather interior, upgraded sound and a number of added lux amenities mentioned in the spec sheet. Adding the same feature sets to its competitors, their prices climb by a similar or even greater amount.

    Conclusions

    This is one of the few cars I wish I had in my drive for the long haul. Any vehicle that can break 60 mpgUS in the summer as easily as the Kia Optima Hybrid did is worthy of my attention and I hope it is worthy of yours. The drivetrain is very well thought out, works good enough to provide excellent results for just about anybody and I really looked forward to pushing the Start Button each and every time I walked out to the drive. No wonder this companies fortunes have increased as fast as they have. Kia has provided a pleasant to drive mid-sized automobile that just so happens to provide it owners with great fuel economy and all at a “Best in Class” price. What more could you ask of an automobile today?

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

    [​IMG]
    The OH overlooking the fast approaching darkness on the western shore of Lake Michigan yesterday.​
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  18. sidewinder

    sidewinder Member

    I have been very interested in the Sonata Hybrid or Optima Hybrid, like you.
    But the more I read about the issues plaguing these cars, the more I realize this is not a hit and miss issue even after software updates in the car's computer. This thread at the Hyundai forums is now 12 pages and growing, and the word lemon is being thrown around more. http://www.hyundai-forums.com/t63621-st-220-engine-malfunction-light.htm

    A larger site really needs to bring this issue to light so Hyundai will break down and issue a recall.

    Personally I'm looking towards a regular Sonata or the Turbo, the 2012 has a little bump in its mpg rating, plus blue link. It is clear Hyundai has not thoroughly tested their first hybrid long enough. How the EPA gave the hybrid its rating makes one wonder how many miles they put on the car also.
     
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Sidewinder:

    I will makes some calls this week myself...

    Regarding the Optima Hybrid, it uses the same drivetrain and did not arrive or contain any CEL's. The SG-II indicated or displayed no codes either.

    This was the same in the 11 Sonata Hybrid I drove across the country.

    Regarding EPA ratings, they are given to the EPA by the manufacturers. The EPA verifies about 15% of the vehicle makes out there to make sure they are within compliance. As easy as it was to hit 60 + w/ A/C in the OH, 40 mpgUS is a solid number.

    Wayne
     
  20. landongolf

    landongolf Active Member

    Wayne thanks you so much for your detail review of the Kia Optima Hybrid, it was fantastic and as of last night I was all set to buy one today until I read the Sidewinders email about problems the sonata has been having. Now I am back to were I started. All I what is a reliable good looking car with great gas mileage. Maybe I should try and hold on to my 2003 honda accord with 122,000 miles for at least another year? Wayne and Sidewinder thanks for your help. :eek:
     

Share This Page