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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid
Kia rolls out its first production hybrid

Hyundai is really stepping up its game these days with fuel efficient vehicles like the 2011 Sonata family and the 2011 Elantra. Likewise, Hyundai is looking to make waves with its Kia brand as well. Kia today unveiled its 2011 Optima Hybrid which will join a field of competitors that include the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

The Kia Optima Hybrid uses the same powertrain as its platform-mate, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. As a result, the vehicle features a 166hp 2.4-liter gasoline engine which is used in conjunction with a 40hp electric motor. The electric motor is fed by a 96-pound lithium-ion battery pack which is mounted in the rear of the vehicle.

Thanks to its hybrid powertrain, the relatively lightweight (at 3,490 pounds) Optima Hybrid is expected to achieve EPA numbers of 36 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. This compares favorably to the Fusion hybrid which is rated at 41/36 and the Camry Hybrid which is rated at 31/35.

"Kia Motors is aggressively expanding its green car investments and R&D in much the same way we committed ourselves to the quality and design innovations over the last decade that have fueled our dramatic brand transformation," said Kia VP of Marketing Michael Sprague. "By adding our first-ever hybrid in the U.S. to the Optima lineup we are providing consumers with three powerful and fuel-efficient powertrain choices, and continuing Kia's philosophy of offering stylish, value-packed vehicles with outstanding fuel efficiency."

There is currently no pricing available for the KIA Optima Hybrid, but the vehicle is expected to be released sometime next year.

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Kia's are fine
By Ammohunt on 11/17/2010 5:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
Kia's aren't bad cars for the price. I had a Kia Sportage while working in Kuwait. 100mph(160K) is all it would do which was probably a good thing as top heavy as it was.

RE: Kia's are fine
By Samus on 11/18/2010 7:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
Your sportage probably had a Mazda 1.8l powertrain. It's probably what made it, like my 1993 Hyundai Sonata with a Mitsubishi 3.0 V6, so good.

However, the overall quality, although it has improved, still leaves a lot to be desired. Hyundai and Kia just recently started double weather stripping their doors, a welcome change since my Sisters 2003 Elantra is hissy as all on the highway. The overall ride quality of these cars, even the Genesis I rented a few months ago in San Diego, is good, but handling still leaves a lot to be desired. It's not as fun as a Mazda 6, nor as smooth and quiet as a Toyota Camry.

I did, however, like the electric-assist steering the Genesis had. It felt a lot more solid than the electric steering in a Ford Escape, but the Escape is a different class of vehicle so it's not a fair comparison. Overall, electric-assist steering offers a lot, such as pull-drift comphensation and improved fuel economy.

I'd consider a Kia Soul or something as a daily beater but these cars are still maintenance nightmares in the end. The steel quality is ultra-low requiring frequent replacement of normally reusable parts such as brake rotors and control arms (instead of just replacing bushings.) Truely disposable. I wouldn't be caught owning one more than 5-6 years old.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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