Optima Hybrid sedan receives extensively revised powertrain for 2013. Power lowered, though increased torque ensures no loss of performance, powertrain changes free up additional trunk space.
The Optima Hybrid, Kia’s powerful, fast-accelerating performance sedan with low fuel consumption and emissions, has received upgrades to its ‘parallel hybrid system’, bringing improvements in fuel economy, CO2 emissions and even trunk space.
The enhancements to the innovative Kia-developed ‘parallel hybrid system’ mean the Optima Hybrid now delivers class-leading efficiency. Fuel economy has been improved to 5.1 l/100 km (down from 5.4 l/100 km), while CO2 emissions have also dropped from 125 g/km to 119 g/km.
Despite these efficiency improvements, the 2.0-litre engine continues to produce 110kW and the battery now produces 35kW (up from 30kW). Overall torque has been increased to 319Nm and is accessible at lower engine speeds – peak torque is available between 1000-2000 rpm.
As a result, while combined maximum power has been cut from 140kW to 130kW, the vehicle retains the same impressive blend of performance, delivering acceleration to 100 kph in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 192 kph.
By locating the hybrid system above the rear axle and moving the battery cooling air duct, Kia engineers have also freed up a further 12 litres of trunk space, bringing the total to 381 litres. The changes also mean that the Optima Hybrid can now hold a full-size spare tyre under the trunk floor.
The 2.0-litre Optima Hybrid is manufactured in Korea exclusively for the European market (left-hand drive only) and pioneers new technologies which are destined to appear in other Kia production models in Europe and around the world. The 2.0-litre model was developed from the 2.4-litre Optima Hybrid originally created primarily with the US market in mind.
Taking Kia further forwards into its ‘EcoDynamics’ era, the 4.85-metre long Optima Hybrid was the first petrol hybrid on sale in the European D-segment.
“The Optima Hybrid combines the best of both worlds – performance and efficiency – and the latest powertrain upgrade makes the car an even more attractive proposition,” said Benny Oeyen, Vice-President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe. “It is the fastest-accelerating Optima and also has the lowest emissions.
“The Optima Hybrid provides customers with a fascinating powertrain choice. Our first hybrid production model in Europe showcases ingenious engineering and advanced technologies and has attracted new customers to the Kia brand.”
The petrol engine is paired with a small electric motor and drives the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission – without the traditional torque converter. A special clutch is fitted between the petrol engine and the electric motor, enabling the petrol engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain so the sleek sedan can operate in zero-emissions, full-electric drive mode. Furthermore, the system’s configuration does not require a high-capacity electric motor and generator, saving both weight and cost.
Every Optima Hybrid comes with Kia’s Hybrid Starter motor / Generator (HSG) stop / start system (equivalent to the company’s ISG stop/start system for its conventional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles), which minimises idle fuel consumption and reduces emissions.
In everyday motoring, under all conditions, the Optima Hybrid’s operation is automatic and seamless. When setting off, the car drives in Electric Mode at speeds up to 100 kph. As vehicle speed increases, HSG starts the petrol engine and the clutch is closed, allowing the engine to take over the task of powering the car. The electric motor switches into hybrid operation and serves as either a secondary engine (during full acceleration and hill-climbing) or a generator (during cruising and deceleration) to recharge the battery pack as necessary.
Whenever the car comes to a stop for more than a few seconds, the petrol engine automatically shuts off to conserve fuel and minimise emissions. When braking, the electric motor converts kinetic energy into electricity for storage in the battery pack. The HSG also functions as a generator to recharge the battery pack if the state of charge is low when the car is stationary.
A responsive and rewarding drive is guaranteed by the Optima Hybrid’s 35kW Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) synchronous electric motor, which produces 205Nm of torque in electric mode, and by the combined (electric motor plus petrol engine) hybrid powertrain power output of 130kW.
State-of-the-art batteries and optimised engine
With the Optima Hybrid, Kia is the first manufacturer (together with Hyundai) to employ a lithium polymer battery pack in a production car. Developed in partnership with LG Chem., lithium polymer battery technology is 20% lighter and 40% more compact than a traditional nickel metal hydride battery.
The new batteries for Optima Hybrid hold a charge for up to 25% longer and provide an optimum balance between power delivery, energy density and thermal stability. Reliability is so good that the Optima’s battery pack is covered by Kia’s 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty.
Taking advantage of the additional, instant and continuously available torque from the electric motor, the improved Optima Hybrid now uses 15% less fuel on the combined cycle, emits 25% less CO2 and produces 30% more power than the 1.7-litre diesel Optima automatic model.
Kia modified its popular six-speed automatic transmission to suit the hybrid application. The traditional torque converter is replaced with the electric motor and a high-efficiency oil pump. This allows EV mode operation, maximises regeneration of kinetic energy during braking and also provides a more responsive drive than competitors’ CVT systems.
The award-winning styling of the Optima is further enhanced for the hybrid model to optimise its aerodynamic efficiency. Lightweight low-drag alloy wheels, smooth under-floor panels, a lip-type boot spoiler and a new front grille with an ‘active air flap’ that closes as the car’s speed increases. Together, these changes result in an ultra-low drag coefficient of Cd 0.26 – down from 0.29.
Inside, there is a unique supervision instrument cluster (with added hybrid powertrain information), plus a new centre stack, new door trim and new seat trim. Thanks to the long (2795 mm) wheelbase, the Optima Hybrid’s cabin is exceptionally spacious, offering best-in-class front passenger headroom and legroom.
Generous equipment across three variants
Depending on individual markets, the Optima Hybrid is available with up to three different equipment levels. The ‘Base’ model is generously specified with 16-inch alloy wheels, solar glass, dual zone air-conditioning, cruise control, eight-way powered driver’s seat with memory function, Bluetooth® hands free and smart-key entry with engine start/stop button.
The ‘Mid’ model adds 17-inch alloy wheels, part-leather seat trim, heated front seats, ventilated driver’s seat, 7-inch touch-screen sat-nav, rear-view safety camera and an Infinity premium audio system developed by Harman.
The flagship in the Optima Hybrid line-up, the ‘Top’ model, gains Xenon headlamps, full leather seat trim, four-way powered front passenger seat, heated rear seats and a tyre-pressure monitoring system. Mid and Top models will be available with an optional panoramic glass sunroof.
New Kia Optima Hybrid
Body and chassis
Four-door, five-seater D-segment sedan, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell. Transversely mounted petrol / electric parallel drive hybrid system powering the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
2.0-litre 150 ps
Type / capacity: Nu, MPI, 4-in-line, DOHC 16-valve CVVT / 1999 cc
Power / torque: 110 kW @ 6000 rpm / 180 Nm @ 5000 rpm
Bore x stroke (mm): 81.0 x 97.0
Compression ratio: 12.5:1
270 VDC, 35kW
Type: Interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor
Power / torque: 35 kW @ 1630-3000 rpm / 205 Nm @ 0-1630 rpm
Max power: 131 kW @ 5500 rpm
Max torque: 319 Nm @ 1000-2000 rpm
Automatic 6-sp (with fully automatic and sport modes)
Type: Lithium Polymer
Voltage / Capacity: 270 / 5.3 Ah
Max output: 47 kW
Weight (kg): 41.3
Suspension and damping
Front: Fully independent by subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, with coil springs and twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar.
Rear: Fully independent by subframe-mounted multi-links, coil springs and twin-tube gas-filled shock absorbers. Anti-roll bar.
Type: MDPS electric power assisted rack and pinion steering
Wheel turns: 2.94 turns lock-to-lock; turning circle of 10.9 metres
Front: 300 x 28 mm ventilated discs
Rear: 284 x 10 mm solid discs
Booster size: 10.5 inch
100-to-0 kph: 38.6 metres (with 16-inch wheels/tyres), 38.3 metres (with 17-inch wheels/tyres)
Wheels and tyres
Standard: 16 x 6.5 inch alloy, 205/65 R16
Optional: 17 x 6.5 inch alloy, 215/55 R17
Spare: Temporary steel wheel
Technical Specifications / New Kia Optima Hybrid
Overall length: 4845
Overall width: 1830 (excluding door mirrors)
Overall height: 1455
Front track: 1595-1601 (depending on wheel / tyre combination)
Rear track: 1595-1601 (depending on wheel / tyre combination)
Front overhang: 965
Rear overhang: 1085
Ground clearance: 135Aerodynamic Cd: 0