The Kia Optima gets electrified two ways for 2017. In addition to the conventional hybrid, there's a new plug-in version as well – makes sense, since the Optima's corporate sister, the Hyundai Sonata is offered with both options.

The new Kia Optima Hybrid ditches the larger 2.4-liter internal combustion engine from the previous model in favor of a smaller 2.0, good for 154 horsepower, and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that does away with the torque converter in favor of an electric clutch, with electric water and oil pumps to help optimize efficiency. Working in tandem with the 38-kW electric motor and juiced by a 1.62-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, the powertrain delivers a total of 193 horsepower while targeting a 10 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the previous Optima Hybrid.

Not enough? Tew Optima PHEV that uses the same 2.0-liter four, but instead of 38 kW (51 hp), the plug-in's electric motor produces 50 kW (or 67 hp), and instead of 1.62 kWh, the PHEV's lithium-ion battery pack is rated exponentially higher at 9.8 kWh. It's said to travel for 600 miles before needing to stop, or up to 27 miles on electric power alone. And of course it can be recharged directly from the socket, taking less than nine hours on 120 volts and less than three on 240.

If those powertrain components sound familiar to you, that's because they're identical to those offered in the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid from Kia's sister brand Hyundai. Only here they're packaged into a more angular, less curvy form and capped by a Kia badge and tiger-nose grille. Interested? There's plenty more to digest in the pair of press releases below.

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
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ALL-NEW KIA OPTIMA HYBRID UNVEILED AT 2016 CHICAGO AUTO SHOW
Enhanced HEV Blends Sophisticated Design and Premium Driving Experience with Focus on Efficiency

- New powertrain targets 10 percent improvement in fuel economy over outgoing Optima Hybrid
- 2017 model infuses aerodynamic form and function into Optima's sleek, modern design
- Gas-electric sedan touts intelligent use of technology to deliver comprehensive driver-assistance features

CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2016 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid (HEV) at the Chicago Auto Show. The Optima HEV enjoys the same full redesign – inside and out – as the conventional gas-powered model, the all-new fourth-generation Optima sedan, bringing with it a new hybrid powertrain that targets a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy over the outgoing model. The enhanced HEV blends modern styling and a premium driving experience with an even more intense focus on efficiency and is being introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand.

"Kia is pursuing a bold initiative to increase fuel efficiency by 25 percent across our entire model line-up by 2020, and new models like the Optima HEV and PHEV will be critical to realizing that vision," said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, KMA. "The brand's commitment to sustainability, coupled with our history of delivering premium amenities and value, has never been more evident than in these all-new hybrid vehicles, which are world-class examples of green engineering, advanced technology and design."

Enhanced Hybrid Performance

Targeting a 10 percent increase in fuel economy, the Optima Hybrid replaces the previous generation's 2.4-liter engine with an efficient and compact 2.0-liter GDI four cylinder – estimated at 154 horsepower – coupled with a hybrid starter generator and tied to an upgraded, smooth-shifting six-speed transmission. A 38 kW electric motor and clutch replaces the traditional torque converter to provide strong off-the-line acceleration and power assistance to the engine when necessary. Energy flow is fast and seamless between EV mode and hybrid mode. Total combined output for the Optima Hybrid is estimated at a robust 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Also adding to the equation is a new electric water pump and a new electric oil pump, which help improve overall fuel economy.

Giving life to the electric motor is a more compact, lightweight, high-density lithium-polymer battery pack with a 13-percent increase in capacity to 1.62 kWh. With improved packaging, this more potent energy source now fits neatly underneath the trunk floor without encroaching into cargo space. The revised battery configuration results in a larger, more practical load area and allows the integration of 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

All-new Eco-DASi (Driver Assistance System) features Kia's first application of Coasting Guide. This feature aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake via an icon in the Instrument Panel that blinks for four-seconds and sounds a one-time audible alert.

The Optima Hybrid features a uniquely engineered body that combines various high-tensile strength steel alloys, creating a stiffer, more durable chassis with more than 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) construction. In addition, a significant increase in hot-stamped components and greater use of structural adhesive improves NVH and contributes to structural rigidity. This new body structure helps provide crash protection and better driving dynamics and is the foundation for a quieter ride.

Aerodynamic Form and Function

Although the new Hybrid boasts the same bold styling as the redesigned 2016 Optima, it offers distinctive design features and exterior elements that differentiate it from the gas-powered models in the Optima range, while also achieving a coefficient of drag that is among the lowest in the segment at 0.24 Cd. Featuring an active grille, which automatically opens and closes at high and low speeds, the Hybrid is able to improve aerodynamics while optimizing engine bay cooling. Numerous other styling differences include a model-specific front air curtain, a beveled rear bumper, a rear diffuser designed to streamline airflow by shrouding the exhaust tip, and an aerodynamic alloy-wheel design. These are complemented by modern LED lighting, satin finish accent trim and special 'EcoHybrid' badging.

Intelligent Technology

The new Optima Hybrid makes intelligent use of technology to deliver a host of comprehensive driver assistance systems and convenience features. The HEV now offers Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)ii, which, under appropriate conditions, will bring the vehicle to a complete stop to potentially avoid a collision or reduce damage. Other key driver assistance systems include Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Front Collision Warning System (FCWS)2.

To make life on the road easier and more enjoyable, the Optima Hybrid brings convenience offerings such as the Hands-free Trunk Open feature with Smart Key, a Wireless Phone Charger and Surround View Monitoring (SVM) to aid parking maneuvers.

Kia's cutting-edge connectivity system with smartphone-projected navigation, UVO3iii, comes standard with UVO telematics, and is enhanced with Androidiv Auto™ and Applev CarPlay®, which allow drivers to access a suite of core functions from their smartphones. There's also an upgraded AVN 4.0 Navigation system combined with the Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic™ Premium Surround Sound Audio Systemvi, which includes 10 speakers, Clari-Fi™vii technology and a 630-watt digital amplifier. Clari-Fi is a patented music restoration technology that rebuilds audio signals that are lost in the digital compression process.

Refined Cabin

The Optima Hybrid's passenger compartment is larger and more comfortable with an innovative and functional cabin that is well-appointed with class-up touches. Drawing inspiration from Kia's premium sedans, the Optima Hybrid features its own model-specific instrument panel gauges and utilizes more soft-touch materials throughout. Obsessively crafted with an impressive attention to detail, the interior features real stitching along the dash and doors.

Overall, the driver-oriented cabin has been simplified with a cleaner, more unified design than the previous generation. A stronger horizontal plane and a wider center console help create a greater sense of space. By grouping and reducing the number of functional keys and buttons, Kia's already-superior ergonomics are markedly improved.

The interior design team also paid particular attention to seat comfort with a stiffer seat frame that reduces vibration, as well as greater use of soft foam in the headrest and upper back, and denser, more supportive foam in thigh-support areas. For extra convenience, heated and ventilated front seats are available with power adjustable driver and front passenger seats. The 2017 Optima Hybrid also offers a height-adjustable front passenger seat, a feature normally found only in premium vehicles.

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ALL-NEW 2017 KIA OPTIMA PLUG-IN HYBRID MAKES GLOBAL DEBUT AT CHICAGO AUTO SHOW
Kia's First Plug-in Hybrid Showcases Advanced Efficiency and Boasts Technological Refinements


- Advancements in Kia's hybrid system and increases in electric power combine for increased range and improved driving dynamics
- Packed with new technology, the Optima PHEV arrives with a new suite of ECO telematics and infotainment upgrades, including Android Autoi and Apple CarPlayTMii

Chicago, February 11, 2016 – Kia Motors America (KMA) today unveiled the all-new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) at the Chicago Auto Show. Kia's first PHEV joined two other fuel-efficient additions to the brand's growing line-up of eco-friendly vehicles, including the all-new 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV) and all-new 2017 Optima Hybrid (HEV), all three of which are being introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand. A host of new technologies and features in the Kia Optima PHEV, including a more powerful hybrid engine, a smarter and more robust telematics system, exterior design enhancements, and greater interior refinement, all combine to deliver a superior hybrid drive experience.

"As part of our bold initiative to increase fuel efficiency by 25 percent across the entire Kia model line-up by 2020, a plug-in hybrid was a critical addition to our offering. The Optima HEV adds hybrid efficiency to the standout styling and vehicle dynamics of our all-new Optima, and the PHEV takes things one step further with all-electric range that is among the best in the segment," said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America. "All three of the vehicles being introduced here at the Chicago Auto Show are emblematic of Kia's commitment to sustainability and our philosophy that you shouldn't have to accept compromises when making a green choice."

The all-new 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid is crafted with many of the same luxurious appointments of its gas-powered sibling, along with numerous Hybrid-exclusive touches, including a distinctive instrument cluster and unique exterior design elements and specially designed alloy wheels. The Optima Plug-in Hybrid, available in one trim, EX, will be built at Hwasung, South Korea, and is expected to go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

High-efficiency Hybrid Technology

The all-new 2017 Optima PHEV was engineered with a dual focus on efficiency and driving dynamics. Utilizing Kia's highly efficient 2.0-liter "Nu" four-cylinder GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, power output is targeted for a class-leading 154 hp @ 6,000 rpm. Electric power is produced by a transmission-mounted 50 kW motor, which is 42 percent more powerful than in the previous Optima Hybrid to allow for greater all-electric capability. This hybrid system provides a fast and seamless transition from EV to gasoline to hybrid modes, as well as more refined shift quality. Overall engine efficiency is also improved by the introduction of a High Voltage Electric Oil Pump, replacing the combination mechanical oil pump and low voltage electric pump found in the outgoing Optima Hybrid. Transmission cooling changes from natural air to water. These engineering enhancements yield an expected engine efficiency improvement of more than 20 percent.

With an estimated 600 miles of total driving range, the Optima PHEV's next-generation battery system features a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which produces roughly 60 percent more energy output than the battery pack found in the outgoing Optima's hybrid system, and is estimated to achieve 27 miles in full EV mode, placing the Optima PHEV among the segment leaders in all-electric range. To increase available cargo capacity in the trunk, the new battery pack is hidden behind the rear seat and tire well, giving Optima PHEV one of the largest cargo areas among all midsize PHEVs. This thoughtful change also provides the space needed to offer 60/40 split-folding rear seats, which significantly increases the vehicle's utility. Additional power to the battery system is generated from the vehicle's improved Regenerative Braking System, which maximizes regenerative torque through refined cooperative control between the hybrid control unit and the brake actuation unit, resulting in a 10 percent increase in regenerative energy. The Optima PHEV is equipped with a single charging port conveniently located in the driver's side front fender. A full charge can be achieved in less-than three hours via a 240V (Level 2) charger, and less-than nine hours via a 120V (Level 1) charger.

The all-new Optima PHEV provides its driver with options to reserve electric range via a plug-in hybrid mode select system. Exclusive to the PHEV variant of the all-new Optima, the system includes an all-Electric Mode (EV), which is suitable for short-range city driving, Hybrid Mode (HEV) for highway driving, and Charging Mode, which increases energy direction to the battery while driving at higher speeds. The energy produced while in Charging Mode can then be utilized in EV mode, extending the convenience of full electric power without stopping to charge.

All-new Eco-DASiii (Driver Assistance System) features Kia's first application of Coasting Guide. This feature aims at maximizing fuel economy by essentially coaching the driver on when to coast and brake via an icon in the Instrument Panel that blinks for four-seconds and sounds a one-time audible alert.

Aerodynamic Form and Function

Although the new PHEV boasts the same bold styling as the redesigned Optima, it offers distinctive design features and exterior elements that differentiate it from the gas-powered models in the Optima range, while also achieving the segment's lowest coefficient of drag, tied with the Tesla Model S at 0.24 Cd. Featuring an active grille, which automatically opens and closes at high and low speeds, the PHEV improve aerodynamics while optimizing engine bay cooling. Numerous other styling differences include a model-specific front air curtain, a beveled rear bumper, a rear diffuser designed to streamline airflow by shrouding the exhaust tip, and an aerodynamic alloy-wheel design. These are complemented by modern LED lighting, chrome side sill molding, and 'Eco Plug-In' badging. Similar to the gasoline-powered Optima, the PHEV's wheelbase has been lengthened by 0.4 inches (now 110 inches) over the previous generation Optima, and overall length has increased 0.4 inches to 191.1 inches.

Intelligent Technology

The new Optima Plug-In Hybrid makes intelligent use of technology to deliver a host of driver assistance systems and convenience features. Like the HEV, the PHEV offers Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)iv, which, under appropriate conditions, will bring the vehicle to a complete stop to potentially avoid a collision or reduce damage. Other key driver assistance systems include Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Front Collision Warning System (FCWS)4.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has the richest set of UVO telematics in any vehicle Kia has ever produced. With more than 30 features, the PHEV encompasses technology from Kia's flagship telematics vehicles, the K900 luxury sedan and Soul EV, and adds Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay. UVO EV Services includes LTE wireless connectivity that enables direct communication to the vehicle for features such as remote start/stop, remote preconditioning of cabin temperature, and remote lock/unlock via the UVO appv. Included in the app is a full suite of My Car Zone features, which includes curfew and speed alerts and Geofence settings, as well as Local Search powered by Google® vi, which allows users to easily search for POIs (Points of Interest).

Exclusive EV features for charging convenience include the ability to locate charging stations, an option to check your vehicle's charge status, as well as scheduling charge events. Adding hands-free connectivity is Google® Voice Recognition Local Search, which can search for POIs utilizing voice recognition technology. Additionally, within the Kia App Store, apps can be downloaded to the head-unit using the PHEV's Wi-Fi capability.

Available at no cost for the first three years of ownership with no subscription necessary, UVO EV Services utilizes an embedded connectivity solution powered by the Verizon®vii network and the UVO smartphone app to provide Optima Plug-In Hybrid owners with an innovative, real-time, in-vehicle connectivity experience.

Drivers are treated to an outstanding audio experience with the available Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic™ Premium Surround Sound Audio Systemviii, which includes 10 speakers, Clari-Fi™ix technology and an upgraded 630-watt digital amplifier. Introduced in the 2016 Sorento, Clari-Fi is a patented music restoration technology that rebuilds audio signals that are lost in the digital compression process.

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