2017 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid is first Plug In Hybrid vehicle, a virtue of electric and internal combustion propulsion. Supplied with 2.0 liter four cylinder to produce 154 horsepower, 67 horsepower by electric motor, combined they produced 202 horsepower, available 9.8 kWh lithium battery. Pairing with six speed automatic transmission with electric motor to drive front wheels. Internal combustion is supplied with an electric oil pump for efficiency. 9.8 kWh lithium ion battery gets you 33 miles in electric mode with speed upto 75 mph. 33 miles seems longer EV range but is short of 53 miles provided by Chevrolet's Volt and more than Toyota Prius Prime which gets 22 miles. Approximately nine hours for full charge with 120 volt and three hours using 240 volt charger.
Kia expects to reduce car dragging co efficiency due to automatic active grille shutters. Blue tint to headlights, exterior chrome work, lower front and rear bumpers. Equipment to display battery energy monitor, Economy Driver Assistance system is for visual and audible advices and can be switched off. Battery pack puts adds more weight, getting curb weight around 3800 pounds which is 302 more pounds than regular hybrid and 564 pounds more than Optima 1.6T. Cargo space is consumed by batteries though 13 cubic feet of cargo space is available.
Low speed operation remains dependent on electric power, hybrid mode remains default. Electric and gasoline sides of powertrain works seamlessly together. EV modes is good for eco awareness, sneaking up on pedestrians, lower carbon emissions. Initial acceleration is moderate under EV mode and takes too long to reach top speed of 75 mph, anything above this is going to fire gasoline engine. Grip is modest on low rolling resistance tires, vehicle struggles while cornering and on bumpy roads mainly due to spring and dampers struggle to control motions. Steering is without feel and seems overboosted.
Combined provide 99 MPGe and separate remains 34/40 mpg city/highway rating. Battery can be charged on move by keeping vehicle idle or moving with very low speed. Interior offers more space for four and plastics use is for durability, EX model for U.S. is expected to have good set of equipment.
For short distances Kia Optima remains acceptable.