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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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