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2013 Kia Optima Hybrid Changes Include More Power, Better MPG

2013 Kia Optima Hybrid Changes Include More Power, Better MPG

By Jeff Youngs, March 12, 2013
The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid is about to arrive at dealerships, and the automaker has made changes designed to improve the vehicle's gas-electric, full-parallel hybrid drivetrain.

As it was last year, the 2013 Optima Hybrid is equipped with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric-assist motor and a lithium polymer battery pack. This year, however, the electric motor is stronger and the battery pack is more powerful, and while the combined horsepower rating for the vehicle drops to 199 horsepower from 206, torque surges from 195 lb.-ft. to 235 lb.-ft. The battery pack is also reconfigured for 2013, providing additional trunk space.

A new packaging strategy produces two versions of the Kia Optima Hybrid for 2013: standard and EX. The standard model is more fuel efficient, with estimates of 36 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 38 mpg in combined driving as estimated by the EPA. The better-equipped Optima Hybrid EX loses one mile per gallon in all three types of driving, yet remains more fuel-efficient than the 2012 model, which was expected to return 36 mpg in combined driving, as rated by the EPA.

The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid looks just like a standard Optima, except for slight aerodynamic modifications and lighter, more aerodynamic wheel designs. Kia says it swaps steel for aluminum suspension components to help offset the extra weight of the hybrid powertrain, and the Optima Hybrid has a lower ride height in addition to a full belly pan and a rear spoiler to help make the vehicle more aerodynamic.

The Optima Hybrid EX model is new for 2013, and is equipped with upgraded 17-inch wheels, panoramic glass sunroof, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, premium sound system, and a navigation system with a reversing camera. The automaker did not announce pricing; the outgoing 2012 model starts at $26,450 including the $750 destination charge.

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