Car Buyers Guide

Kia Optima PHEV

September 2016


  • Traditional profile looks more like an everyday car
  • Hybrid powertrain offers excellent economy
  • Plenty of interior space
  • Relaxed driving experience


  • Boot isn't as large as rivals
  • Only one electric engine setup to choose from
  • May not have the badge appeal some may want
  • Electric-only range won't stand up to heavy driving
The Optima PHEV is Kia's newest entry into the plug-in hybrid sector. However, it's more conventionally-styled than some hybrids that you'll find on the market, and still retains many of the features that come from the standard Optima. However, extra styling touches - and a more aerodynamic body - help the PHEV stand out a touch from the rest of the range, as well as making it more efficient.

The inside of the car can still seat four in comfort, and there's a boot that's of a reasonable size. It has all the trademarks of a fairly standard car - but thanks to a 2.0-litre petrol engine linked to a 50KW motor it's anything but that. Kia has done well to toe the line between funky and traditional styling, and looks as if it's got the balance just right.

There's all manner of technology on board, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted as standard. This makes pairing a smartphone even easier, and it means that apps can run through the car's screen. With the car running whisper-quiet for most of the time, it puts a paramount on interior quietness. Thankfully, the Optima PHEV is solid and well-built with no squeaks or rattles.

There's just the one powertrain on offer, but thanks to petrol and electric engines working together it produces 202bhp and 375Nm torque, which is more than enough for day-to-day driving. Economy is around 176.6mpg, which should mean trips to the pump are few and far between. It's also got an all-electric range of around 33 miles, though those with heavy right feet may see this figure tumble.

The PHEV starts at GBP31,495, and looks to take on the likes of the Toyota Prius and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Like the Outlander, the Optima has siblings utilising more standard powertrains. That full price is taking into account the Government plug-in grant, making the Optima PHEV excellent value for money. Most of the equipment that you could want comes as standard, too.

Our verdict on the Kia Optima PHEV
The Optima PHEV is a perfectly viable choice for those looking for a comfortable and easy to live with hybrid. There's plenty of room inside, and though the boot's size is slightly restricted thanks to the placement of the batteries, it's easily large enough for a large shopping trip. The ride is good, and definitely on-par with rivals. Plug-in technology affords the car a greater range, which will appeal to those who are thinking of travelling greater miles while still trying to save money.