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Car Review: 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid EX

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The 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid EX rides on the redesigned Optima from back in 2013 and debuts a super-jump in mileage with the new hybrid version. We tested the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid EX for a week and the range on one tank of gas in more than impressive. Simply put, Kia’s Stylish hybrid midsize sedan returns with improved aerodynamic design and technological enhancements that take this car up a few notches.

EXTERIOR

Taking a great looking car like the Optima and improving on those looks while also making it more fuel efficient is not easy. The dynamic and sporty design upgrades on the gasoline-powered 2014 Optima are retooled for the Hybrid to increase fuel efficiency. Contributing to improved aerodynamics is a series of additional vents in the Optima Hybrid’s unique front bumper, increasing airflow and reducing drag. Newly designed and more aerodynamic 17-inch alloy wheels as tested (LX and EX, respectively) reduce weight and drag, while superbly integrating with the Optima’s eye-catching new design elements.

In addition to those elements designed with fuel efficiency in mind, the 2014 Optima Hybrid also boasts a unique new front grille design, Hybrid-exclusive front LED lighting, new Hybrid fender badges and an attractive and upscale optional white leather package. The smoky blue paint was crisp and very easy to keep a clean appearance.

INTERIOR

The roominess is noteworthy because often with sleek-looking designs, interspace can sometimes be compromised, but not in the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid EX. The white leather package in our test model was very luxurious. Technological improvements to the gasoline-powered 2014 Optima carryover within the cabin of the Optima Hybrid, as drivers are greeted with more upscale and high-tech amenities. Activating the Optima’s push button ignition brings two displays to life: a 4.3-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster and optional high-resolution 8-inch navigation and telematics screen, featuring UVO eServices, an eight-speaker Infinity sound system, HD Radio , SiriusXM Satellite Radio and SiriusXM Traffic4. One of the interior highlights was the enormous panoramic sunroof, which brought in as much sunlight and fresh air that one could expect from anything but a convertible.

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PERFORMANCE

Power is plentiful, and the engine is so quiet that there are times where you can’t tell whether you’re in hybrid or gasoline engine mode. Available in LX and EX trims, the 2014 Optima Hybrid features carryover refinements for smoothness and drivability, including a robust 47 HP electric traction motor, a strong Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) and a powerful 47 kW lithium polymer battery. The combined gas-electric 199 horsepower rating and combined 235 lb.-ft. of torque remain, resulting in a responsive and enjoyable driving experience. The LX model achieves an EPA estimated 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 38 mpg combined, while the EX model as tested delivered an EPA estimated 35/39/37. The range of approximately 600 miles per fill-up is such a welcome change to those who appreciate and value fuel efficiency.

The 2014 Optima Hybrid is also equipped with an impressive array of standard safety equipment. All trims come standard with driver and passenger advanced front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, four-wheel Antilock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Traction Control System (TCS) and Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) also come standard on all models.

OVERVIEW

In the ever-crowded midsize car segment, you have to come hard or don’t compete at all. The 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid EX brings so much to the table, including a sleek design, upscale interior, a range of approximately 600 miles per fill-up and a price tag as tested of $34,695. We realize that on most trips to the auto dealer, you aren’t going to find what the 2014 Kia Optima Hybrid EX offers for this price point, and when folks get inside and test drive this car, they will probably be driving one off the lot for keeps!

  

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