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2017 Kia Optima PHEV

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The 2017 Kia Optima PHEV Review: Plug-in Hybrids address two concerns. First, they help reduce carbon emissions by limiting gas consumption. With an 18-mile commute each way and a charger at work, I drove my Snow White Pearl test car to the office and back all week, burning exactly zero gasoline, thanks to the Optima’s 27 miles of all-electric range. The second concern is limited ability to take long trips. But with the Optima PHEV, if I suddenly decide to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles on the weekend, I can, without stopping to refuel. The total gas plus electric range is more than 600 miles!
The EPA gives this efficient model numbers of 38 City, 43 Highway, and 40 mpg combined. But the number EV enthusiasts care about is 103 MPGe. I earned 99.9 mpg on the gauge over my test week, a great achievement, without any special effort.
The Kia Optima PHEV is part of Kia’s EcoDynamics sub brand, which also includes the regular Optima Hybrid and the all-new Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle (HUV). Of course, Kia is also home of the Soul hatchback, which comes in an all-electric model too.
The Optima is a midsize sedan that competes with the perennial favorites - the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. It wears a distinctive look while avoiding over styling, important in this segment, and has loads of room inside.
The plug-in hybrid version looks pretty much like the gas and regular hybrid models, but sports special aerodynamic alloy wheels. Up front, you’ll find a unique “air curtain” and an active grille that opens and shuts to balance optimal aerodynamics with efficient engine cooling. A beveled rear bumper and rear diffuser add to the aerodynamics, helping deliver a Tesla matching low co-efficiency of drag at just 0.24 cd.
The hybrid blend includes the 2.0-liter “Nu” four-cylinder engine that puts out 154 horsepower and 140 lb.-ft. of torque. The 50-kW electric motor it’s mated with chips in 66 horsepower, so combined, the 3,788-pound sedan has 202 horsepower and 276 lb.-ft. of torque on tap.
You can control which power source is doing the work, depending on your situation. In town, put it in EV Mode and use the electric motor exclusively. On the freeway, switch it into Hybrid Mode and save your battery power for in-town driving later. There’s also a Charge Mode, which directs more energy to the battery as you’re driving, filling it up more quickly for urban motoring later.
Part of the fun, and reward, of driving a car like this is monitoring your green driving progress, and Kia provides a rich set of displays. The colorful screen shows energy flow between the engine, motor, and battery. Click a tab to see battery information, including total range for electric and gasoline. The Eco Level screen shows the Optima against a tree made up of dots. The more dots are illuminated, the better you’re driving, and you get a rating of 1 to 8. I proudly earned a 7.
You can also see your driving style in percentages, including Economical, Normal, and Aggressive. I drove in Economical mode about a third of the time, with the other two thirds in Normal, with just a few percent Aggressive. Your numbers may vary.
Another useful screen shows EV Range, and location of the closest charging stations. Of course, with a plug-in hybrid, you don’t ever have to seek out a charger with a gas engine under the hood. When you do charge you can fill the 9.8 kW lithium-ion battery in three hours on a 240-Volt Level 2 charging system, or nine hours on standard 120-Volt household current.
So, if you’re on the go, a standard charging station will do it during part of your workday or shopping trip, while at home, you can charge overnight, at the lower rate, and don’t have to install a home Level 2 charger in your garage.
The Harman/Kardon QuantumLogic Premium Surround Sound Audio is a worthwhile option if you plan to take advantage of that 600-mile range. It features 10 speakers, 630 watts of power, and Clari-Fi technology to thrill your mind as the miles fly by. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

The 2017 Kia Optima PHEV Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The Bottom Line: The new 2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid is quite comfortable inside and out, is very practical for everyday use, and can get up to 600 miles and a full charge and a tank of gas. Although the trunk is a little battery-constrained, you still have nearly 10 cubic feet of capacity, and passengers can spread out in the roomy back seat.
The Optima PHEV retails at $36,105, including shipping. Sold in EX trim only, it’s full of virtues, including all the high-tech wizardry you expect for active and passive safety and entertainment options, so you don’t need to add on any special packages. The bottom line is the 2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid is a major step towards an all-electric future, with zero sacrifice. And maybe, just for those reasons alone, you should Drive one, Buy one, Today ©.  This Bottom Line Review is provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net  - And remember: “You Are What You Drive ©

Column Name: Plug-in Hybrids address two concerns
Topic: The 2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Word Count: 962
Photo Caption: The 2017 Kia Optima PHEV
Photo Credits: Kia Internet Media
Series #: 2017 - 28

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