All-New 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid Is 10 Percent More Efficient

The all-new 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid has debuted at the Chicago Auto Show with a more economical powertrain

Based on the fourth-generation Optima sedan, the hybrid version benefits from the same full redesign as the gas-powered model and targets a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to its predecessor.

Launched under Kia's EcoDynamics environmentally friendly sub-brand, the 2017 Optima Hybrid features a new 154 hp 2.0-liter GDI four-cylinder gasoline engine, a hybrid starter generator, and a six-speed automatic transmission. A new 38 kW electric motor and clutch replaces the traditional torque converter, with Kia claiming that energy flow is fast and seamless between EV mode and hybrid mode. Total system output is 193 hp at 6,000 rpm. New additions also include an electric water pump, an electric oil pump, as well as a lithium-polymer battery pack with a 13-percent increase in capacity to 1.62 kWh.

The 2017 Optima Hybrid is said to feature improved packaging, thanks to the battery pack's placement underneath the trunk floor, which allows for a larger load area as well as the integration of 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

Another premiere is the Eco-DAS (Driver Assistance System), which features Kia's first application of Coasting Guide. This feature indicates the driver when to coast and brake to improve fuel economy.

From a styling point of view, the Optima Hybrid stands out from regular gas-powered Optima models thanks to unique features such as the active grille, front air curtain, beveled rear bumper, rear diffuser, and the aerodynamic alloy wheel design. Other unique details include LED lighting, satin finish accent trim and "EcoHybrid" badging.

Inside, the 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid features model-specific instrument panel gauges, more soft-touch materials, as well as real stitching on the dashboard and door panels.

On the tech front, the new Optima Hybrid offers driver assistance systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC), Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Front Collision Warning System (FCWS).