2017 Kia Optima Hybrid: Upscale Green Sedan
The 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid (HEV) has been introduced at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. This way, the South Korean automaker entered the big scene. In order to accent the hybrid’s connection to the fourth-generation conventional powertrain model, the 2017 Optima Hybrid got the same redesigned exterior and interior. Of course, there are some distinctive details that differentiate the hybrid model from the conventional one.
But, regarding the more essential improvements, the new hybrid aims for ten percent better fuel economy than before, according to the automaker. The 2016 Optima Hybrid returns 36 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, so the estimations are that the 2017 model will be able to reach approximately 33 mpg/city and 36 mpg/highway.
New Hybrid Powertrain
That’s why they installed a new engine inside the sedan. Instead of the 2.4-liter engine, the new Optima Hybrid got a 2.0-liter GDI inline-four that delivers 154 horsepower. As if the engine change isn’t enough, they also made some additional powertrain improvements. By using a 38 kW electric motor and clutch, they replaced the old torque converter. Thanks to those substantial changes, the 2017 Optima Hybrid has better specs.
Although we don’t have the exact figures yet, it’s known for a fact that the redesigned hybrid is going to accelerate faster and use its overall 193 horsepower more efficiently. In order to achieve better test results, they installed a new high-density lithium-polymer battery pack. In comparison with the previous battery pack, this one is coming with a 13-percent increased capacity. Now, it’s 1.62 kWh.
Since the automaker has a plan to improve its vehicles’ fuel efficiency by 25 percent in the next four years, they must employ new fuel-saving technology. The Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System) has a Coasting Guide feature. With this interactive feature, the driver will be able to decrease fuel consumption.
The people at Kia are proud of the Optima HEV’s body structure. As expected, vast use of high-strength steel and other technological solutions makes this car safer, more efficient and comfortable. However, the car’s strength isn’t just hidden deep below the surface. Its exterior design should be credited for the Optima Hybrid’s fuel efficiency, too. According to the automaker, it reached 0.24 Cd thanks to the active grille, rear airflow diffuser, front air curtain and a lot of other clever details. Even its alloy wheels have a specific aerodynamic design.
Technology and Connectivity
As expected, the 2017 Optima Hybrid has a number of, more or less, usual driver assistance, convenience and safety technology systems installed. Equipped with blind-spot detection, cruise control, lane departure warning, front collision warning and autonomous energy braking systems, the sedan provides safety measures that can be matched with competitors.
It also has some very useful features, such as Smart Key trunk opening, wireless phone charger and surround view monitoring.
The 2017 Optima HEV has UVO3 connectivity system with UVO telematics, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. They also installed a premium 10-speaker Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic audio system supported with Clari-Fi and a 630-watt digital amplifier.
They officially stated that the interior of the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid has been “obsessively crafted with an impressive attention to detail”. It’s true that this car has a comfortable driver-oriented cabin that can be classified as upscale. With more elegant dashboard, all the soft foam and numerous options – such as heated and ventilated front seats – the attractive green sedan is going to satisfy even the most demanding customers.
Photos: Kia Motors America