Kia Makes Performance, Efficiency Improvements to Optima Hybrid

Sections: Fuel Economy, Powertrain

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Press photo of the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid

Despite having fewer horsepower than the 2012 model, Kia says the 2013 Optima Hybrid has both better efficiency and performance thanks to the added torque from its more powerful electric motor and battery pack that can store more energy. (Photo courtesy Kia Motors America.)

Kia says its 2013 Optima Hybrid is receiving more electric power and, as a result, more torque than before– despite having 7 fewer horsepower than the 2012 model.

According to a press release from Kia, the new Optima Hybrid makes a total of 199 horsepower from both the gasoline engine and the electric motor– down from 206 in the 2012 model. However, Kia said it has tweaked the hybrid powertrain to make more torque, as the 2013 makes a healthy 235 ft-lbs of torque compared to the 195 ft-lbs of the outgoing model. Thanks go to the 2013 Optima Hybrid’s 47 kW battery pack and 47 horsepower electric motor, which Kia called “more robust” than that of the 2012 Optima Hybrid.

More usable torque and less demand on the gasoline engine results in better fuel economy for the Optima Hybrid, Kia said. The automaker said the 2013 model in base trim is rated at 36 MPG city, 40 MPG highway, 38 combined, while the better-outfitted EX model scores 35, 39, and 37, respectively.

Beyond the powertrain improvements, it’s mostly a game of lightening and lowering the sleeker Optima Hybrid compared to non-electrified Optimas, as the release explained:

The Optima Hybrid builds on the gasoline-powered Optima, offering improved aerodynamics and using lighter weight components. Lighter and more aerodynamic 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, base and EX respectively, reduce weight and drag, while superbly integrating with the Optima’s stunning design.  Extensive use of aluminum instead of steel for the lower front and rear control arms, tie rod ends and rear knuckles helps offset the weight of the hybrid components.  Improved aerodynamics are gained via the Optima Hybrid’s lowered ride height, full belly pan and rear spoiler.


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