Kia Optima Hybrid: The new definition of “I Made It!”

Kia Optima Hybrid

The “I Made It Car” for my thirties!

If you are a business graduate of the 90′s or maybe as early as 2000 there was definitely a much more optimistic spirit and definition surrounding the expression, “Mom and Dad, I Made it!” As I recall my earlier days of just graduating from college with my bachelor’s degree and being able to score a $50,000 a year job with benefits, everyone that graduated with me took road trips to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, headed down to Miami Beach and did a trip to San Marcos to ride the tubes down the Guadalupe river. We did all of that after scoring a brand new ride. In those days it was the Honda Accord and my first car was an Acura. All I can say is that after getting the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid it definitely brings back a lot of those memories for me.

The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid was dropped off to me a few weeks ago and as I recalled in my earlier review of the Kia Soul, this particular vehicle was in my top two vehicles I plan on purchasing in the next 24 months.

What’s in it for Single Moms?

Now why would a single mom of three purchase a sedan when she should be driving an SUV or a minivan. Here’s the simple facts. Some moms wear “mom jeans” while others wear skinny jeans. I can’t shell out the big bucks of an SUV or for gas in a minivan. However, I also work and would love  an equally stylish vehicle to take partners in and yet have enough room to transport kids around town. The Kia Optima Hybrid reminded me of my Acura when I first started working in the corporate world, except the Kia Optima is WAY BETTER! This is my version of, “I made it! 2.0″

Styling

If you want a car that looks good and one that people will fawn over without having to pay thousands of dollars for fancy emblems then this is the car for you. I can honestly say when I drove it there was car envy floating around North Texas because I got cut off twice and that was in the suburbs. Sitting on 16 inch alloy wheels, this sedan is very sleek and definitely streamlined for fuel efficiency performance. It’s smaller than the Kia Optima LX that I already own now. Coming in a variety of fantastic colors, you will get a very high functioning headlamps and LED tail lamps.

Why do I care about the lights? HID or High Intensity Definition lamps light up the paint in road markers and signs better making for a safer driving environment at night. The HID and the LED lights are so efficient,  you may never have to change them over the life of the vehicle. I have changed my hallogen bulbs in my current Kia approximately 5 to 6 times over the course of 8 years.

Performance

Now let’s talk about performance. I like my V6 version of my Kia Optima and while the Kia Soul that I drove had very good acceleration performance I can say that the Kia Optima Hybrid 2.4L Multi-point Injection HEV does not miss a beat. This little car could spin in and out of traffic just as fast as the V6 2008 Kia Optima LX and it does it with much more fuel efficiency. I definitely sped past a few V8′s as well when trying to make my exit. You can’t talk about performance without talking about fuel economy. The estimated Highway Miles per Gallon is about 35 MPG City and 40 MPG Highway. My current Kia is a V6 and the Kia Soul had mileage of about 32 Highway MPG which literally translates to about $50 a week in gas (driving 5 days a week, roughly 30 miles every day and about 80 to 100 miles a week). With the Kia Optima Hybrid, I had it for an entire week and only used half a tank of gas. In fact I was not surprised that this vehicle would set a 2012 Guinness world record for lowest fuel consumption for a gas hybrid vehicle with an astounding 64.55 miles per gallon average. See the video for more details.

The Bells and Whistles

The interior bells and whistles on this car make this a fully functioning, mobile assistant on wheels for busy moms. So what comes standard? How about:

  • USB and auxiliary input jacks for iphones, tablets, gaming devices and more
  • Bluetooth wireless technology so that you don’t get a ticket for talking on the phone in a school zone
  • Audio controls on the steering wheel
  • AM, FM, MP3, Sirius XM audio system – I loved hooking up my MP3 player and easily going through my playlists as the songs blasted through the 6 speaker system.
  • The navigation, SiriusXM traffic and rear camera display is optional but a must have in this car.
  • Active ECO Switch helps to measure fuel economy and is also standard
  • Rear view camera to safely see any obstructions such as kids, pets and bicycles behind you
  • Push button start with smartkey for easy engine start that also happens to be quiet.
  • Remoteless key entry which is handy when loading kids and/or groceries in and out of the car

This vehicle starts out at around $25,700 and with the upgraded hybrid package this vehicle goes for around $33,000. That package is the Premium Technology package that includes a panoramic tilt sliding sunroof, Navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Rear Car Display, and more.

Kia Optima Sunroof

What we liked?

The enjoyed the sunroof and the roominess in the back. They also really liked the windows and the ability to listen to the MP3 player. I liked the styling, the acceleration and definitely the fuel cost savings. I also continue to like the remote keyless entry in the 2012 models and with this particular vehicle the cooling and heating of the seats. My only disappointment is that you cannot fit a double stroller in the trunk. The Optimas used to have the “Soprano” trunks that could fit a lot of items. This model is for fuel efficiency so the trunk is smaller. You can however fit a cooler, gym bags, camping gear and a single or umbrella stroller. I would definitely spring for the premium package because I know that over the life of the vehicle, I will save on gas about $100 a month which equates to that much more in groceries a month and if I keep the car for 5 years that’s about $7200 a year I could save on gas over the course of 5 years.

Kia and the brand

My familiarity with Kia is already a good selling point. As a single mom for a few years, I chose Kia because they were not only safe but they were also inexpensive and pretty reliable. Kia still has the 10 year/100,000 mile limited warranty and depending upon the dealership they also have great loyalty discounts. If I were to give a rating I’d say 5 out of 5 stars for the Kia Optima Hybrid. I would recommend this to parents with children over the age 5 or if you have 2 or less carseats. I also really like this car for the professional and the first car for a college graduate, it’s that nice with a great warranty. To learn more visit www.kia.com.

Disclaimer: STI Driving Concepts on behalf of Kia Motors provided me with a vehicle to test drive for a week. All opinions presented are 100% my own. I was not provided compensation for this post.

Heather Buen

Heather has lived in Dallas-Fort Worth for over 10 years. The quintessential multi-tasker, she splits her time with her children and navigating the city. As a single mom she has a large network of friends, family & supporters – believing in the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” You can find her on Twitter at @dallassinglemom 

Tags: