Kia has released its first plug-in hybrid model in the UK in the form of the 2017 Optima PHEV, complementing the local launch of the Optima Sportswagon.
The launch of the cars comes on the back of the company’s commitment to reduce the CO2 emissions of its range by 25 per cent by the end of the decade. With this in mind, the Optima PHEV has been created to offer fuel-efficient driving and a purely-electric driving mode while the Sportswagon adds some extra versatility to the range.
Priced from £31,495 ($41,670), the Kia Optima PHEV is powered by a 2.0-liter direct injection petrol engine delivering 154 hp. That powertrain is supplemented by a 67 hp electric motor driven by a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. All told, the model generates 202 hp and 375 Nm of torque and in the NEDC combined test, returns 176.6 mpg and is capable of a 33 mile range of all-electric driving while emitting just 37 g/km of CO2 emissions.
Helping the model to achieve such high fuel efficiency figures are its redesigned aerodynamics. Most notably, there is an active air flap in the front grille which when closed, drops the car’s drag co-efficient to just 0.25. Elsewhere on a styling front, the car is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels shod in 215/55 R17 tires at all four corners. It also includes LED daytime running lights and headlights as standard, a reversing camera and a number of active safety systems such as hill-start assist.
Inside, the Optima PHEV comes standard with a selection of systems, including Kia’s latest 8.0-inch touch infotainment and navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Complementing this setup is the 10-speaker sound system from Harman Kardon and a DAB digital radio.
Alongside the brand new drivetrain, the suspension of the Optima PHEV has been refined to compensate for the additional weight of the battery pack and electric motor. More specifically, the springs, dampers and alignment have all be retuned to offer agile handling and better ride comfort than any other Optima model.
Interestingly, the Optima Sportswagon will only be sold in Europe and thanks to its 552 liters of cargo space (1,686 liters with the rear seats folded down), comfortably offers more room than its sedan sibling.
The only available engine for the Optima Sportswagon is Kia’s 1.7-liter CRDi turbodiesel. It develops 139 hp and 340 Nm of torque and when mated to a manual transmission, emits 113 g/km of CO2 emissions and returns 64.2 mpg over the combined cycle. Emissions rise slightly for the dual-clutch equipped car to 120 g/km while fuel efficiency drops to 61.4 mpg.
Three different trim lines for the car are available: 2,3 and GT-Line S. The entry-level 2 model includes a 7.0-inch navigation system and a host of creature comforts like a reversing camera, leather-trimmed steering wheel, heated folding mirrors and 17-inch alloy wheels. Key upgrades for the grade 3 trim include an 8.0-inch touchscreen, driver’s memory seat, heated front seats, 18-inch wheels and dual project headlights.
The range-topping GT-Line S then welcomes a selection of safety features like autonomous emergency braking, a smart powered tailgate, blind spot detection and a smart parking assist system.
Prices for the entry-level 2 grade model start at £22,295 ($29,497), increase to £24,495 ($32408) for the manual-box 3 grade, £25,895 ($34,260) for the dual-clutch 3 grade and £30,595 ($40,479) for the GT-Line S.