In the ever-growing world of the plug-in hybrid, Kia stands tall among a crowded group. The 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid (or PHEV) is sold as a single-trim edition that can function on electricity alone, and it stands on top as the Optima lineup's most expensive trim. However, the Optima PHEV is exceptionally well equipped with standard tech and is quickly gaining a positive reputation for being one of the more practical plug-in hybrids on the market.
What's New for 2019
The 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid enters 2019 as a carryover from last year with a few changes to the package offerings.
Choosing Your Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid
Kia makes the decision of choosing a 2019 Kia Optima PHEV quite simple, as there is only one trim: the EX. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid EX starts at $36,210, including the $920 destination charge. It receives its power from a full parallel hybrid system that includes a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine, a 50-kilowatt electric motor, and a 9.8-kilowatt-hour lithium polymer battery. Together, the hybrid generates a total of 202 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. The gasoline engine belts out 154 of those ponies, while the electric motor generates 66 horsepower. This powerplant is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Optima PHEV offers an EPA-estimated 29 miles of electric-only range. Fuel economy comes out to 103 miles per gallon equivalent combined, or 40 mpg combined in gasoline-only mode. Combined, the total range rating is an impressive 610 miles.
The 2019 Kia Optima PHEV offers buyers the option of three electric motor drive modes: All-Electric, Hybrid, and Charging. The charging mode allows owners to charge the electric motor while operating the gasoline engine. Being a PHEV, consumers can also utilize the level two (240-volt) charging, which can completely charge the electric motor battery in 2.7 hours. Consumers using the standard level one (120-volt) charging system have to wait nine hours for a full charge.
The 2019 Kia Optima PHEV EX rides on standard 17-inch alloy wheels and is well equipped with standard features that include leather heated front seats, a 12-way power driver seat with four-way lumbar support, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, a tilt and telescoping steering column, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, push-button start, and a rear-console USB and 12-volt outlet. Standard safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, and a reverse parking warning sensor.
Kia’s voice-command UVO infotainment system is housed on an eight-inch touchscreen and includes navigation and a rearview camera. This system features SiriusXM Traffic and HD Radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth connectivity, aux and USB input jacks, and a 10-speaker Harmon Kardon premium surround-sound audio system.
For consumers who miss the natural sound of a gasoline-powered engine, the PHEV features a Virtual Engine Sound System that mimics the sound of a gasoline engine while running on the electric motor. This system actually serves as a safety device, as it’s intended to alert pedestrians and other drivers.
There's a $5,000 EX Technology Package that can spice up the Optima PHEV. This package installs a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, a 10-way power passenger seat, LED interior lighting, LED projector beam headlights, a high beam assist system, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning.
Configuring a 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid is incredibly simple. However, if a plug-in hybrid isn't on your wish list, the standard Kia Optima Hybrid is nearly $7,000 cheaper and offers nearly the same options.