For the past week, we’ve had the chance to test drive the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid.
The trip down took 5 hours because of the terrible rain. I was very happy with how the car handled in the wet weather. It drove smoothly, braked quickly, and the windshield wipers helped with visibility. The weather on the trip back was sunny and full of blue skies. I was very pleased with the smooth ride and many other features of the car that made both the conference trip and use of the car on a daily basis pleasant. I like the Kia Optima Hybrid so much that it’s now at the top of our list once we start car shopping.
Here’s a video I made of some of my favorite features:
In the documentation provided when the car was dropped off I read that the Kia Optima Hybrid 2012 set the Guinness World Record for lowest consumption by a gasoline car traveling through all 48 contiguous U.S. states, getting nearly 65 mpg over 8,000 miles.
The electric motor can run the car in EV (electric-only mode) which means it only uses the battery. In hybrid operation, the electric motor assists the gas engine which reduces fuel consumption. When you are sitting idle at a stoplight or even while coasting, the gas engine will shut off to conserve fuel and every time you apply the brakes the Regenerative Braking System charges the battery.
As I mentioned in the video, I filled the tank on Thursday before I left, made the round trip of 520+ miles, and still had 44 miles left when I returned home on Saturday. I loved not having to get gas in an unfamiliar city, plus it’s a real money saver too!
Here’s a look at the Power Reserve Screen. You can see the stats of my trip. There’s the Energy Flow (when it’s on a shows the flow of the engine recharging the battery), the Eco Level (the more economically you drive, the more leaves & flowers appear), Total Eco Score, Fuel Economy, and Distance to Empty.
I also loved the keyless entry and the push button start. We could keep the keys in our pocket or purse and then simply push a button on the door handle and the door unlocked. This eliminates fumbling around for keys especially when our hands are full of groceries, backpacks, or school projects. The push button start is nice too because you put you foot on the brake, push the button, and the car starts. The keys never have to leave your pocket or purse.
The rear view camera was very crisp and clear and the red, yellow, and green safety zones were helpful as well. It made backing up so much easier and felt safer too. I still checked behind us, of course, but it was nice to be able to have the camera assisting.
I also thought steering wheel controls were a great feature. Most cars seem to have them now and it’s nice not to have to reach over to change the radio, connect the phone to Bluetooth (another favorite feature!), and the cruise control options are easy to find as well.
The backseat was very roomy and Kora & Logan enjoyed sitting back there. They had plenty of space and the pull down cup holder made it easier for them to manage their snacks & drinks after coming home from a long gymnastics practice.
I also enjoyed how quiet this car is. When you first turn it on you don’t even know it’s on. It remains quiet while driving, even on the highway. The ride is smooth too. There was no bouncing or jostling on this trip, which I greatly appreciated.
I did find the trunk to be a bit small. It would have been a tight squeeze if all of us were traveling on a weekend road trip to fit all of our luggage in the trunk. The good news is there’s plenty of floor space in the back seat however and since neither Kora’s or Logan’s feet touch the ground yet, we would have packed a few things under their feet.
As I mentioned before, we truly enjoyed our time with the Kia Optima Hybrid 2012 and it’s at the top of our list once we are in the market for a new car. The price is right, starting at $25,700, and the hybrid system will save us money on gas. It also has a NHTSA 5 Star Crash Safety Rating and was a 2012 IIHS Top Safety Pick, both of which make it a great choice for our family.