Kia glides into the green car market with the introduction of its very first hybrid car - the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid. Debuting at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, Kia finally has some firm details to share with all the green car shoppers out there. Keep reading to get an early look at Optima Hybrid photos, specifications and expected mpgs.
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Gas Mileage
First thing's first - Kia representatives promise the Optima Hybrid will earn an estimated 40 mpg. This figure would catapult the Optima towards the top of the list of fuel-efficient vehicles for 2011. To reach this number, Kia worked with LG Chem to create a lithium polymer battery that is lighter and more compact than the nickel-metal hydride batteries currently found on most hybrids.
This reduction in overall vehicle weight serves to increase gas mileage. Other weight-reduction methods have also been applied to the car - a tactic that results in a vehicle that is lighter than both the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid (two of the vehicle's closest competitors).
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Performance
The Optima Hybrid comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine that musters 166 horsepower. Add in the 40 hp offered by the electric motor, and the Kia hybrid is good for 206 horsepower (note: this same engine is also found on the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid). In comparison, the Fusion Hybrid delivers a total of 191 hp and the Camry Hybrid offers 187 horsepower.
Kia also foregoes the traditional continuously variable transmission (CVT) found on most hybrids in favor of a traditional step-ratio transmission. This rarity among the hybrid class just may help alleviate the artificial driving feel that is felt on some hybrid powertrains.
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Styling
The Kia Optima Hybrid looks nearly identical to the standard gas Optima. As a result, the hybrid boasts an exterior that balances muscular lines and a refined aura. Inside, the vehicle delivers a level of luxury that belies the Kia nameplate. Wrap it all up, and the Optima delivers a truly unique personality that helps distinguish itself from much of the competition. If you're looking for a stylish hybrid that also exudes an understated sense of testosterone, then this may very well be the model for you.
Unique styling cues present on the hybrid Optima include a 5mm reduction in body height, smooth underfloor panels and an active air flap in the front grille. Low-rolling resistance tires and low-drag wheels are also incorporated in an effort to improve aerodynamics.
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Prices
Kia promises that the Optima Hybrid will hit dealerships in early 2011. The sticker price to be displayed on the window has yet to be announced. However, given Kia's track record for value, shoppers can expect the vehicle to undercut pricing of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid (both start around $27,000).
The available features list has also yet to be announced. However, shoppers can expect the hybrid to be similarly equipped to the Optima EX trim. Standard features for the EX include automatic headlights, keyless ignition, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents, leather seats, satellite radio and iPod/USB audio interface.
Find a Kia dealer near you.