2012 Kia Optima Hybrid (935)


This week we’re looking at the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid sedan that was introduced in 2011 and there are no significant changes for 2012. This Hybrid can operate in full electric / battery mode up to 62 mph or gas / electric mode at any speed. It seats 5 and is a really an all around nice car with an especially noticeable smooth ride and a surprising passing speed is quick.

The overall rating from consumers is very high and in keeping with the Summer Olympics you’ll notice mostly 9.9s. So the Gold goes to Kia Optima.

General Information:

Parts from the US / Canada 1%, Korea 90%. It is assembled in Korea Classification is Midsize. Cars from Kia: Forte, Forte Koup, Optima, Optima Hybrid, Rio, Rio 5, Sedona, Sorento, Soul and Sportage.

Handling & Performance:

Perfect midsize sedan for 5 seating coupled with ease of handling, responsive power and the Hybrid gives it great fuel economy numbers. It is fantastic to get 500 plus miles on a tank of gas but the real performance is when you pass more gas stations than you will with the average car.

It delivers an impressively smooth ride and that compliment came from a BMW 7 series owner who took a lengthy trip up the coast with me. We both agreed the seats could be a little more comfortable for the long drives.

I did notice some power shift hesitation at low speed but it was not a significant irritation so I hesitate even mentioning it.


Beautiful looking automobile that will keep its youthful look many years into the future.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.


It is encouraging to be able to have a fuel efficient vehicle with an affordable price tag. Volt is the obvious example of how expensive electric cars can be. This Kia is the less expensive option. However, you can do as good on fuel economy with a far less expensive Non-Hybrid compact. You’ve seen those in my column that I have been doing a lot of lately because of the anticipated gas prices going even further through the “O” Zone.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the good stuff for safe driving, and not too bad on the road for comfort but questionable on the long hauls sitting over 2 hours. You get a little numb or at least figitty. I hate to nit-pick but I had difficulty resetting the trip computer. I never got it figured out and refused to open the manual. If I can’t do it without research it gets poor marks as far as I’m concerned. If other car companies can do it Kia should be able to as well. On the other hand the Bluetooth set up was VERY user friendly and I set it up in seconds.

Consumer Recommendation:

With the rising fuel prices and no let up expected any time soon, you will need to give serious consideration to moving up to cars such as this Kia before others make their move. You’ll get more for your old lower MPG number car if you do it now.

I also suggest you include some Non-Hybrid models that are high mileage cars as well. Some recent ones that I have tested include the Kia Soul – 34 mpg highway; Hyundai Accent at 40 mpg; Kia Sorento at 32 mpg; Nissan Cube at 31 mpg; Subaru Outback at 29 mpg and Hyundai Veloster at 40 mpg.

Recognized Competition:

Kia Optima $26,000, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid $26,000, Ford Fusion $29,000, Nissan Altima Hybrid $27,000, Chevrolet Volt $39,000, Toyota Camry Hybrid $26,000, Toyota Prius V $27,000, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $,000.

Good News:

Well priced Hybrid, lovely styling, great fuel economy with a very smooth ride and powerful.

Bad News:

A slightly noticeable power shift at low speed.

Standard Equipment:

2.4 liter 4-cylinder 166 hp Hybrid engine, 6-speed sportmatic transmission, motor driven power steering, front, side and side curtain airbags, Child LATCH system, ABS braking system, traction and stability control, hill start assist, tire pressure monitor, climate control, power windows, locks and mirrors, audio system with SIRIUS Satelite radio, USB, AUX and Bluetooth systems, smart key with push button start / stop, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel & shift knob, fog lights, o/s mirror turn signals.

Gas Stats:

$3.97/ Gal avg. August 13, 2012


For more information.

35 City and 40 Highway MPG


MSRP $25,700.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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