Kia Optima Hybrid - Review

I just spent the last week driving around in a Kia Optima Hybrid. I actually remember when the first Kia cars hit the USA. They weren't very impressive. Apparently Kia has been doing their homework, because I'm not even sure where to begin to tell you how impressed I am with the Kia Optima Hybrid!
I've never driven a hybrid, so I was kind of intimidated at first. I thought maybe it would mean I had to plug it in somewhere to charge it. Lucky for me, it's as easy as driving any other car, because the car runs on both gas and electricity. The electric part of it charges itself as I drive.
I love the sleek look of the car. Even though it's a four door sedan, it doesn't look like the old "company cars" that I remember my dad driving. The Kia Optima Hybrid has an aerodynamic shape so that it drives smoothly and saves on gas. It's even got a little spoiler on the back!
There is no ignition for the key. It's not really even a key. To unlock and lock the doors, I just push a button on the key fob. The key fob also has a button to open the trunk. Inside the key fob there is a key-like metal stick that will open the door if for some reason the key fob doesn't. Pressing the lock button on the key fob also sets the car alarm.
To start this car (without an ignition or a key) there's a start button inside. Yes really, a single round button on the dashboard. I just put my foot on the brake and push the button. It runs so quietly I wasn't even sure it was running.
Even more amazing, when I push the start button, the driver's seat automatically moves forward toward the steering wheel. When it's turned off, the driver's seat moves backward, giving the driver plenty of room to get out comfortably and easily. Once you set your driver's seat exactly where you want it with all the fancy power buttons on the side of the driver's seat, the Kia Optima Hybrid actually remembers where you set it and that's where it moves to when you get in the next time.
So, why a Hybrid? Well, besides the obvious benefits of a smaller footprint on our environment, when I got in the car the first time and turned it on, I noticed something else. On the dashboard behind the steering wheel, there is a digital mileage counter of how many more miles I could drive before I had to stop to fill it with gasoline. The dashboard said I had 500 miles to go! That's nearly 40 miles per gallon! Plus, as I drive, the Hybrid switches back and forth from gas to electric on its own, knowing exactly which option is most economically advantageous depending on driving in town and on the highway.
The electric part of the car's engineering is located in the trunk, as it is in most hybrids, but Kia has made the electric driving component so compact that it barely takes up any trunk room. This trunk is as big as any other car I've ever driven and I got a week's worth of groceries in the trunk with no problem, and I shop for a family of four plus four daycare kids.
The steering wheel can also be adjusted up, down, forwards, backwards, wherever I would possibly want it to be. There are cruise control buttons on the steering wheel, as well as media volume control buttons. The horn is nice and loud, just like it should be! It's got a five star safety rating for frontal crash for driver and passengers, a five star rating for rollover crash, a five star rating for side crash (passenger) and three star for side crash (driver).
There is plenty of room in the front and the back seats, and is big enough for my two tall 18-year old sons to sit comfortably in the back. Even the glove box is plenty big and if I want to keep an extra water in the glove box, the air conditioner will help keep it cool in there. There are lots of built-in cup holder spots in the car too.
There are pockets in the back of the front seats, for storing great things like hand-hand game devices, snack bags, and handguns (this is Texas, you know). Between the front seats there is a console with a lift-up cover for storing extra gun clips or makeup.
The panoramic sunroof is so awesome. Inside the car, I can open just the inner part to let sunlight in over the front and back seats, or I can completely open the sunroof over the front seats to let the beautiful Texas air blow in through the roof. It all happens with the push of a button!
(If you look carefully at the photo above, you can see where I photobombed my reflection in the car window while trying to get roof shots.) It was so much fun driving around with the sun roof open! It reminded me of the convertible my mom owned some 35 years ago!
Sitting inside the car is an exciting experience all in itself. It has Sirius Satellite Radio and AM/FM radio, or I can hook up my Apple Devices and play music through the car speakers. It also has Bluetooth Wireless technology so I can even let the car be my phone. Incredible!
The radio (or what would normally be the radio) is more like a computer. Everything operates on it by touchscreen and it was a lot easier to use than I ever dreamed it would be. It even has a built in GPS system and as soon as I turned it on, it showed me right where I was in my driveway.
Whenever I needed to back up, the screen became a rear camera display and showed me an actual live shot of what was behind the car. What a fabulous idea! I'd never have to run over a bike or a skateboard again.
In short, I totally love the Kia Optima Hybrid and I almost wrestled them for the key fob when they came back to pick up the car. I really loved driving it and got lots of compliments from my friends. It's far easier to operate than I thought a Hybrid would be and I would absolutely love to own one.
Find out more about the Kia Optima Hybrid at 


  1. Lisa what a Awesome review. I did the KIA Hybrid not to long ago and I have to say...I darn near cried when it came time to turn it in. Its a great performance car and the saving on gas was even better.

  2. That is a really sweet ride, love it!! How fancy! I test drove a kia suv not long ago, very nice

  3. I wondered about the electric part also-where you had to re-charge it--good to know it re-charges itself as you drive! It really is a nice looking car and I will be sure to look at them when I am in need of a new vehicle!!

  4. I bet you had a fun week! A sun roof is a must for me. The touchscreen radio looks cool.

  5. 1) I love the gas mileage on hybrid cars. 2) I love how this car looks like a "normal" car and not dorky like my Prius. 3) I would be sad to have to return this. The sun roof is awesome!


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