2018 Kia Optima Introduction

When it was redesigned for 2011, Kia’s midsize Optima established a trend toward sedans that stand out in styling, unlike the often-dowdy four-doors of the past. Reworked again for 2016, the Eurostyled Optima enhanced that perception.

Little has changed for the 2018 model year, except for adding a sportier-looking Optima S trim level, at a particularly tempting price. In addition, several valuable active-safety features are now standard or available for more models. All Optimas now have blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, plus rear parking assistance. A rearview camera also is standard.

Base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection, standard in LX, EX, and new S trim levels. Developing 185-horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, it works with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Optional on the LX is a more fuel-efficient 1.6-liter turbo, rated at 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, mating with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. In Optima SX trim, a 2.0-liter turbo produces 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet, driving a 6-speed automatic.

In the Optima Hybrid, a 154-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine is coupled to an electric motor and 1.62-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, achieving a combined fuel-economy estimate of 42 mpg. Total output from the Hybrid powertrain is 192 horsepower. The Hybrid can travel short distances, at low speed, on battery power alone.

The Plug-in Hybrid, which can be recharged at an electrical outlet, couples the same 2.0-liter engine to a stronger (9.8-kWh) battery and electric motor. Combined output, at 202 horsepower, is slightly higher than the regular Hybrid. Weighing about 250 pounds more than the Optima Hybrid, the Plug-in can travel up to 27 miles on battery power alone. It’s EPA-rated at 103 MPGe (equivalent), or 40 mpg Combined when running on gasoline.

All Optimas have front-wheel drive. Each promises comfort and satisfying ride/handling qualities, though none qualify as sporty in nature. The new Optima S looks a bit more sporty, with its own front bumper, decklid spoiler, and 17-inch wheels.

In addition to greater availability of advanced safety features, led by automatic emergency braking, Optima has earned top crash-test ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the 2017 Optima a Top Safety Pick+, after it earned top Good scores on every crash test, and also for headlights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2017 Optima a five-star rating overall, and in each crash-test conducted.

* MSRP is the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the vehicle. Unless specifically indicated in the advertisement, MSRP does not include taxes, fees or other charges. Actual dealer pricing may vary. Consult your dealer for more information and complete details.

* The dealer advertised price may not reflect specific dealer offers, and may be subject to certain terms and conditions as indicated in the advertisement. Consult your dealer for more information and complete details.

* Images and options shown are examples, only, and may not reflect exact vehicle color, trim, options, pricing or other specifications.

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