- Sophisticated design, premium driving experience, with focus on efficiency
- New powertrain targets 10% improvement in fuel economy
- 2017 model puts ‘ aerodynamic’ form into Optima’s design
SEOUL, South Korea – Kia Motors has unveiled its 2017 Optima Hybrid electric sedan – the same inside and out as the conventional petrol mode but with a power train “that targets a 10% improvement in fuel economy over the outgoing model”.
“The car,” Kia adds, “blends modern styling with a premium driving experience and an even more intense focus on (fuel) efficiency and is being introduced under the Kia Motors EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand.”
The previous 2.4 engine has been dropped in favour of a compact two-litre GDI four-cylinder capable of about 115kW coupled to a hybrid starter/generator, between them pulsing power through a six-speed transmission. The automaker is looking at a further 10% reduction in fuel consumption.
A 38kW electric motor/clutch replaces the traditional torque converter to provide strong off-the-line acceleration and to assist the conventional engine when necessary. Switching between powersources, Kia says, is seamless.
Total combined output for thIs Optima is estimated to be 144kW at 6000rpm; more fuel is saved by electric water and oil pumps.
The electric propulsion, Kia explains, comes from a more compact, lighter, high-density lithium-polymer battery pack with 13% greater storage capacity at 1.62kWh, all of which now fits neatly beneath the boot floor – no intrusion on boot volume.
An all-new Eco-DAS (driver assistance system) h Kia’s first application of a “coasting guide”. This feature the automaker explains, is meant to minimise fuel consumption by coaching the driver on when to coast and brake with a flashing light on the facia and an audible alert.
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The new car also has a bodyshell that, Kia says, combines a number of high-tensile steel alloys intended to create a stiffer and more durable chassis. In addition, a significant increase in hot-stamped components and greater use of structural adhesive is said to reduce “noise, vibration and harshness” which contributing to structural rigidity.
“This new body structure,” Kia says, “helps to provide crash protection and better driving dynamics and is the foundation for a quieter ride.”
The Hybrid has the same bold styling as the redesigned 2016 Optima but adds distinctive design features and exterior elements to differentiate it from the petrol models. It also claims to have the lowest drag co-efficient in its segment at 0.24.
To this already high-tech car the Korean automaker has added automatic complete-stop emergency braking, blind-spot warning, cruise control, lane-departure control and front collision-warning.
Also included, or offered, are an automatic boot lid, smart keys, wireless phone-charger and 360-degree camera.
The Optima Hybrid as a model-specific instrument panel and feature stitching on its leather upholstery but, generally, the cabin has been simplified with what Kia calls ” a cleaner, more unified design than the previous generation”.
The interior design team also paid particular attention to seat comfort with a stiffer seat frame that reduces vibration, as well as greater use of soft foam in the head restraints and upper-spine section, complemented by denser foam in thigh-support areas.
Options include heatable ventilated front seats with power adjustment.
All technical specifications and standard/optional features refer to units destined for the US market. Unfortunately, South Africa is not for now included as a destination for Kia Optima models.