2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

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$26,500

starting MSRP

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid trim comparison will help you decide.

2011 Kia Optima Hybrid review: Our expert's take

By Carrie Kim

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:


With sporty styling and a sophisticated interior, the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid doesn’t look like a run-of-the-mill midsize sedan or even a hybrid for that matter.

The Optima Hybrid has a youthful, fresh style that’s a lot more fun than its sister sedan, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It’s also an exciting change from the seriously played-out Toyota Prius.

I’m not a hybrid “hypermiler” and I don’t believe in locking gazes with the information screen that charts my mpgs. I drove the Optima Hybrid like I would any other car, and it responded like a real car would. Breaking the stereotype of hybrids being slow and not fun to drive, the Optima Hybrid has slightly more horsepower than the non-hybrid Optima. The turbo four-cylinder Optima has all of them beat, though.

During my test drive, I averaged 26 mpg in combined city/highway driving. That falls far short of the Optima Hybrid’s EPA-estimated 35/40 mpg city/highway. Maybe I should have tried hypermiling.

The Kia Optima Hybrid starts at $26,500, but my test car — equipped with the premium Technology Package — cost $32,420.

EXTERIOR
This midsize hybrid features details and styling that set it apart from a boring, traditional sedan. The optional black-glass panoramic moonroof paired with my test car’s Snow White Pearl body paint created a sharp contrast in the Optima Hybrid’s appearance. With added details like a bold black grille and interesting alloy-wheel design, the Optima Hybrid has the ability to make its competitors look downright frumpy.

Besides looking pretty, the Optima Hybrid also can handle family duty easily. There should be no issues entering or exiting for passengers big and small; the sedan’s low step-in height helps the kiddos out, and an average door height keeps groans at bay for taller adults who fear hitting their head on the frame.

A small gripe about the Optima Hybrid’s exterior would be directed toward the awfully low front bumper. I feared scraping it up (or worse, ripping it right off) in parking lots with lots of speed bumps. It was slightly nerve-racking, and I held my breath each time I attempted to clear one. Thankfully, the bumper made it through the week unscathed.

The Optima Hybrid isn’t exactly swimming in innovative storage solutions, but you can still bring along most anything you’d like for a ride. Just a heads up: The trunk size is small because of the lithium-polymer battery that’s mounted behind the rear seats. There is definitely less space when compared to the non-hybrid model, but rest assured that a stroller and grocery bags still fit in it. In the hybrid, the rear seats don’t fold down, but there is a pass-through to the cabin.

With a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine and a 30-kilowatt electric motor, the Optima Hybrid’s EPA-estimated 35/40 mpg seemed achievable. I never managed to get close to returning those mpgs. Of course, I never once had to visit the gas station during my busy week with the Optima Hybrid, which is no small feat in my book. When it is time to hit the gas station, the Optima Hybrid uses regular gas.

SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times

INTERIOR
Kia went all out when it came to the Optima Hybrid’s interior. It has a sporty but upscale cabin with dual-zone air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Heated and cooled front seats and heated rear seats are optional. Cloth seats are standard.

The Optima Hybrid’s graphics are particularly impressive. I was more than amused while watching green leaves flutter by an animated image of the car on the multimedia screen. In the instrument cluster, flowers “bloomed” the more efficiently I drove. It put those dot-matrix green graphics on another popular hybrid to shame.

Families will find the cabin to be roomy enough to comfortably accommodate child-safety seats or teens in the backseat. There are plenty of cupholders and storage spaces in this five-seat sedan, eliminating most backseat bickering.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair

SAFETY
The 2011 Optima Hybrid has two sets of lower Latch anchors in the backseat. Unfortunately, access to the anchors is a challenge because the seat cushions are stiff, making it difficult to reach them. There’s plenty of room in the backseat for a rear-facing child-safety seat.

The 2011 Optima Hybrid hasn’t been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA has crash-tested the 2012 Optima Hybrid and it received five out of five stars overall.

The 2011 Optima Hybrid has standard front-wheel drive, all-disc antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, an electronic stability system with traction control, hill start assist and six airbags, including side curtains for both rows. Optional safety features include auto-leveling headlights and a backup camera.

Get more safety information about the 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid here.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.5
  • Interior design 4.8
  • Performance 4.0
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.8
  • Reliability 4.5

Most recent consumer reviews

2.4

Biggest piece of crap ever

Bought brand new in 2012. It was great...for 100,000 miles. First it was a bad steering stem, then the brakes locked up, then it was the cv axles, and today the engine shot a rod through the side. This car was taken excellent care of. Oil changed every 5,000 miles as well as all other basic maintenance. Kia needs to learn to build a car that can last. They’re junk

4.7

So far we love it

We have had this car for two weeks and have already taken a 350 mile trip one way and drove all over the city of Chicago! It gets great gas mileage but takes getting used to to be able to maximize the savings, but you will figure it out! It’s a little slow getting out of the gates if you want to meet the advertised gas mileage but worth it! I found the brakes to be very good not slow to stop like others have suggested! It can be a little sluggish at first switching from electric to gas, but like I said you will figure this out! I love the way the car handles and it feels very sporty and luxurious inside and out! Backseat is surprisingly roomy and comfortable. Trunk has sufficient space. We will see how many miles we get from it! I bought this one used for my 15 year old daughter to learn to drive in and it came with 55000 so time will tell. Overall great car if it serves her well they high school we may look to adding a newer Optima hybrid to the family in a few years.

5.0

Great mileage with lexus like luxury

Great family hauler with style. Navigation and panaromic roof are unmatched. Hybrid ensures upto 38mpg in real life driving. Leather and Infinity stereo on fully upgraded trim are icing on cake.

See all 20 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Kia
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 years or newer/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles
Powertrain
10 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
165-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2010

Scion xD

$14,900

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2011

Toyota Camry Hybrid

$27,050

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2011

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

$25,795

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