2016 KIA Optima PHEV review

2016 KIA Optima is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack,27 miles(43 kilometers) of all-electric range and six-speed automatic gearbox.

12/7/15 4:00 am chumakdenis 1

2016 KIA Optima PHEV is expected to be sold from the late summer of 2016.

Detailed vehicle’s specifications were about to be revealed by that time.

However, the company decided to ‘pamper’ us a little bit and revealed full details on 2016 Optima PHEV.

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Moreover, KIA Motors Corporation did even more – they’ve allowed us to test drive a car.

What a great decision of them.

Let’s learn more.

Hybrid powertrains
Innovative new hybrid powertrains will be a key feature of Kia's new D-segment saloon, which will offer both hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric power within the next 12 months.

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The innovative powertrain employs Kia's efficient 2.0-litre 'Nu' four-cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injection) engine at its core, expected to generate 156 ps and 189 Nm. The engine is coupled with the electric motor, which allows the car to operate in charge-sustaining mode (just like the current Optima Hybrid) once the battery runs out of charge. The powertrain's total power output is 205 ps at 6,000 rpm, with the application of the electric motor facilitating an immediate engine response to throttle inputs.

This power will be applied to the road through a smooth shifting six-speed automatic gearbox and the transmission-mounted 50 kW electric motor, which replaces the traditional torque converter in non-hybrid Optima models. The Optima PHEV will offer a seamless blend of highly-efficient electric and internal combustion power and a consistently high level of performance.

10% improvement in fuel economy
The new Kia’s hybrid will offer buyers substantial improvements over the existing Optima hybrid, with a larger battery pack, more powerful electric motor and revised transmission. These changes are expected to contribute to a 10% improvement in fuel economy over earlier versions of the Optima Hybrid.
Here's what written on the official site:
"The next-generation Optima PHEV will feature a 9.8 kWh lithium-polymer battery back - roughly six times the energy output of that found in the current-generation Optima Hybrid. Paired with a 50 kW electric motor - itself 42% more powerful than in the previous Optima hybrid version - the combination allows the Optima PHEV to operate in pure electric mode at higher speeds. Engineering teams working on the Kia Optima PHEV are expecting the car to go on sale with the ability to travel up to 27 miles(43 kilometers) on electric power alone, placing the Optima PHEV among the leaders in the D-segment for pure electric range."

Amazing 119 MPGe
Based on internal tests, the KIA Optima PHEV is expected to deliver 119MPGe combined, while engineers are targeting 48 mpg combined in charge-sustaining mode. Once plugged in, the PHEV will recharge in less than three hours at a 240V Level 2 charging station, or nine hours from a standard 120V power outlet.

*MPG stands for miles per gallon gasoline equivalent.

Exterior

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To ensure the PHEV will stand out among the Optima range, the car boasts a series of visual modifications. These include a charging port integrated into the driver-side front panel (LHD vehicles), chrome side sill moldings, new wheel designs and 'EcoPlug-In' badging.

Interior

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In the cabin, the PHEV model is equipped with a distinctive instrument cluster, which displays information about the car's functions and powertrain status, while a charge indicator on top of the dash allows drivers to easily see the state of charge from outside the vehicle (for instance, while it charges outside a home).

Fuel economy thanks to new engine

At the heart of the new Optima PHEV is a 156 ps 2.0-litre 'Nu' GDI engine, coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. The improved transmission houses a 38 kW electric motor and clutch to replace the traditional torque converter, delivering the same responsive and engaging driving characteristics that Optima PHEV owners would expect. The combined power output of the Optima Hybrid's upgraded powertrain is 195 ps at 6,000 rpm. The transmission also uses a new electric oil pump, contributing to the increase in fuel economy.

Transmission and motor
Backing up the engine, transmission and motor is an upgraded lithium-polymer battery pack, with a capacity of 1.62 kWh -- an increase of 13 percent. The battery pack now fits underneath the boot floor, rather than infringing slightly on the luggage space available, resulting in a more practical loading area and enabling the use of 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Visual and aerodynamic upgrades



The Optima PHEV will offer its own distinct styling features differentiating him from other models in the all-new Optima range. While the new Hybrid models boast the same modern styling which has proved so popular with buyers around the world, they each receive an active grille, engineered to balance improved aerodynamics with optimized engine bay cooling. A number of exterior elements – on the rear bumper, grille surround and wheel arches – feature chrome and a clean metallic blue finish, as well as special 'EcoHybrid' and 'EcoPlugin' badging.

High-class cabin, improved refinement and new technologies for all-new Optima.

Some other exterior and interior upgrades

Beyond specific upgrades to the exterior and interior, both the all-new Optima PHEV and Optima HEV will continue to offer the same modern exterior styling and a bold interior design with more space for all occupants.

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Combined with an array of new technologies, and retaining the sporty image that has helped the Optima become one of Kia's best-selling models worldwide, the all-new Optima range offers greater refinement, improved ride and handling and higher quality over the outgoing model.

Driving experience

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The vehicle that has been driven is a prototype, so a definitive conclusion is hard to draw.

However, we’ll try to do it.

On its own, the petrol engine produces mere 154bhp and 139lb ft, but when combined with the battery pack, the number rises to 202bhp – with that much juice you can drive at a more than adequate pace.

The standard six-speed automatic gearbox also works reasonably unobtrusively, making for a nicely refined drive.

The 0-60mph sprint feels adequate rather than startling while the vehicle’s inert steering and additional weight mean that driver engagement is in short supply.

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Inside, the KIA Optima PHEV is spacious.

The driving position is good, and the range of adjustments enough to allow any shape or size of the driver to get comfortable.

That said, both the Passat GTE and A3 e-tron are considerably more polished inside.

Visually, changes from the standard Optima are minor, but include a charging port integrated into the front bumper, chrome sill moldings, new wheel designs and a discreet badge declaring the car to be an ‘EcoPlug-In’ model. Inside, the only difference is a display that outlines the car’s electrical functions and powertrain status, plus how much battery charge is left.

Price&Production

The KIA Optima PHEV is basically a sister to the Hyundai Sonata PHEV, is priced at $34,000.

Probably, the 2016 KIA Optima PHEV will be priced similarly.

Exact production date is yet to be announced.

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