Kia has launched its first plug-in hybrid with the Optima PHEV, with an all electric range of up to 33 miles quoted and CO2 emissions of 37 g/km. The model – currently only available as a saloon – is eligible for the UK Government’s Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG), and comes as Kia and sister firm Hyundai start a huge green model roll-out.
The official fuel economy figure is quoted at 176.6 MPG and the Optima PHEV can be driven in all-electric or hybrid drive modes. Power comes from a 154bhp 2.0 litre petrol engine and 50kW (67bhp) electric motor, for a combined maximum power output of 202bhp and 375 Nm of torque. The electric motor is run off a 9.8kWh lithium-ion battery and power goes through a six-speed automatic gearbox – with the electric motor replacing the transmission’s torque converter.
Helping the car make the most of that power is a more aerodynamic exterior, which includes an active air flap behind the front grille. The car’s batteries have been fitted behind the rear seats and in the spare wheel well, which means just 15 litres of load space have been lost when compared to the conventionally powered Optima.
Equipment levels are good with the Optima PHEV a stand-alone model in the range. As such, the standard equipment includes an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, Bluetooth, and TomTom mapping. There is a harman/kardon audio system, USB sockets, wireless smartphone charging dock, and reversing cameras. Because of the plug-in elements, there are specific electric vehicle elements too that show range remaining, nearby charging points, and driving tips.
To charge the Optima PHEV, Kia has fitted a Type 2 inlet – as opposed to the Soul EV’s Type 1 set-up – with no rapid charge option, which isn’t unusual. The Optima PHEV saloon will cost £31,495 (including PiCG), and all models include Kia’s seven year warranty.