The Kia Optima vs. The Kia Optima Hybrid

2015 Kia Optima Hybrid

Kia offers two different versions of the mid-sized sedan called the Optima. The first is a standard gas vehicle like most cars on the road. The second is a hybrid. While there are some obvious and immediate differences between the Kia Optima and the Kia Optima Hybrid, there are also quite a few similarities, which can sometimes make it difficult for a person to choose one over another, especially if the price difference is not really an object. If you are considering both the Optima and her more eco-friendly sister, here’s what you need to know about both cars.


The price difference between the regular Optima and the Hybrid is the first thing that most people notice. The Optima starts around $22,000 for the very basic trim, while the Hybrid starts around $26,000. That $4,000 difference is usually a sticking point for buyer, especially those that are on a budget.

What most people do not realize, however, is that while the Hybrid does have a higher initial investment, the hybrid format means that the driver spends far less on gas over the life of the car. This can mean far fewer trips to the gas station. Even if you have to get gas once a week with a standard vehicle, that can add up to hundreds of dollars a month. If you can half those trips, you half that cost.

The additional cost on the Optima Hybrid covers all of the extra technology that goes into making the car a hybrid vehicle. It is not just a gas-powered vehicle with a more powerful battery. Hybrid cars have sophisticated technology that helps the car and the driver make positive driving changes that save gas, in addition to the gas-saving electric motor and battery pack.

Miles per Gallon

The standard Optima gets 27 combined miles per gallon, meaning that it gets 23 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. Most Optimas will outperform those projected numbers, unless you really do only use your Optima for short trips, driving around town, running errands. This makes the Optima, even with the benefit of the electric motor in the Hybrid, a much better investment than most mid-sized sedans, that may only get 20 or 25 combined miles per gallon.

The Hybrid, on the other hand, gets a combined mpg of 38, with 36 in the city and 40 on the highway. This enables you to get at least ten more miles out of every gallon of gas. Past Kia Optima models can hold about 18.5 gallons of gas, which means that you can get about 185 extra miles out of your car, before you would have to fill it up again. Whether you have a long commute to or from work every day or you just don’t want to fill up as often, a Hybrid car can make all the difference.


One of the best parts about Kia is that both the Optima and the Optima Hybrid come with the largely the same features and styling. The standard Optima does have more color choices for both the interior and the exterior, but the Hybrid still has plenty of colors to choose from. The safety systems are both top of the line and the cars’ bodies have nearly the same builds, despite being very different under the hood. When it comes to picking a stylish, technologically advanced, luxury vehicle, without the luxury price, both of the Optima’s versions are a great pick.

What is a hybrid car?

But what really makes the Hybrid different from the Optima? In short, where the vehicle gets its power from. Most vehicles have an internal combustion engine that burns gasoline in order to power the car. While hybrid cars still do have the combustion engine and a tank for fuel, they also have an electric motor and a battery—usually a different battery than what is found in gas-powered vehicles.

The electric motor, also called a motor-generator, powers the car along with the combustion engine. They also have a feature that recharges the battery when the car is braking, whether it is at a stoplight or while the vehicle is moving downhill. Many will also have a feature that utilizes electric charge in the motors to power the vehicle, if enough exists, further cutting down on how much gas a vehicle will use.

Why buy an Optima Hybrid instead of an Optima?

While a hybrid car will not completely eliminate the need for gasoline, a hybrid car is a great option for those who both want to save money on gas and cut down their carbon footprint. Because hybrids require less gas to run over their lives, they produce less pollution and contribute less to well drilling and other damaging practices that harm the ecosystem.

The ability to buy less gas is often impetus enough for most people. Choosing the Hybrid over the regular Optima is a difficult one. If you consider how much money you will save on gas, the difference in price does not become such a big deal. The difference in between a monthly payment for an Optima and a monthly payment for an Optima Hybrid would be more than covered by the amount of money you save on gas.


What other eco-friendly options does Kia offer?

All Kia cars are designed to be as energy efficient as possible, with many models having much higher miles to the gallon than other cars in their classes. Kia also offers another eco-friendly car, this time a strictly electronic vehicle that requires no gas at all: the Soul EV.

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