Green continues to be the color of choice among automakers, i.e., more hybrids and electric vehicles. Some of the application for being mindful about the environment, though, seem odd. Case in point: the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid.
The Kia Optima Hybrid debuted brand-spanking new in 2010, so few changes were expected for the 2013. The two major ones include an updated engine and a new trim. Kia tweaked the Optima Hybrid’s powertrain so the engine produces 47 more extra ponies than last year’s engine. Yet, interestingly, overall horsepower for the 2013 Optima Hybrid drops from 206 to 199. Not a big difference, and we doubt buyers will notice.
They will notice, though, the jump in the hybrid’s acceleration. Kia has retuned the sedan’s torque from 195 lb.-ft. to 235. The practical effect is the Kia Optima Hybrid be leaving competitors in its dust a little bit faster – and more often – than usual. Kia hasn’t released any revised zero-to-60 figures for its hybrid, so we’re assuming it’s not a big enough of a difference to affect a stopwatch. Still, that’s an impressive 20-percent jump in low-end acceleration.
Here’s the kicker, though. Kia’s tampering – and extra power – actually increased fuel economy in the 2013 Optima Hybrid. The base model now gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg city/40 mpg highway/36 mpg combined. In comparison, the 2012 model received 34 mpg city and 39 mpg highway, with combined mpg to be identical. Kia also carved more trunk space in its hybrid by repositioning the batteries.
Kia doubles the Optima Hybrid trim with the addition of the more luxurious EX trim to the base model. The EX offers more premium features including a better audio system, heated and cooled seats, infotainment package, and nicer wheels.
Full spec info including pricing will be released later this year.