Car Manufacturer: KIA
Model: 2012 KIA Optima Hybrid
Starting Price: $27,000

The big question with gas prices reaching so high is whether or not to go electric or hybrid?

Clearly, electric cars still have a long way to go to engage the mainstream and allow them to feel safe in leaving their gas guzzlers behind, but the concept of hybrid cars offers a comfortable alternative.

While still running off of an electric battery, the car also works on conventional gas which allows for better gas mileage and a middle-ground that helps the environment and isn’t too shabby on the pocket book either.

With that in mind, test-driving the 2012 KIA Optima Hybrid was something I was looking forward to. How would it stack up? Would it drive differently? Were there any shortcomings?

The answer is simple: the KIA Optima Hybrid is hands down the best car I’ve test driven all year.

Not only does the car look great, it’s a wonderful drive too and with the added bonus of saving a ton of money on gas because of its dual purpose, you can’t find a better deal.

THE OUTSIDE

With all KIA vehicles, this one is sleekly designed, feeling modern but also feeling stylish too. The colors are basic, coming in black, white, Satin Metal, but my favorite is the Light Graphite color that has enough blue in it to really pop on the streets.

These cars are four-doors and come with ample trunk space.

THE INTERIOR

The interior is a work of art with a steering wheel that feels comfortable, Bluetooth capabilities, cruise control and a USB Auxiliary for your iPods.

It also has the Push Button start which is much more preferred than using keys (that’s so 20th Century).

The seats are incredibly comfortable and roomy – and the aforementioned trunk space allows you to pack a lot inside.

However, it’s the dashboard that really utilizes all the best from the many cars I’ve driven. Everything is laid out perfectly – from the displays to how much gas is left. Nothing is left up to misinterpretation. Many cars have struggled to find a way to make the dashboard information complete and understandable, and KIA has solved all those problems.

The UVO System is also a boon, because it keeps track of how much electric power you have and how much gas is left. I drove the car for a full week with about 400 miles worth of a full tank, and still had 83 miles left to go before filling up again.

You’re definitely saving money with this vehicle.

The only negative is having to use your foot to engage the emergency brake. It became quite annoying at times, and sometimes you even forget to put it on. Why KIA chose not to include the emergency brake in the center of the front seats is a mystery, but when you have such a great car, that minor grievance can be forgiven.

DRIVING PERFORMANCE

This car is quiet and at times, you’re unsure if the vehicle is actually on. This adds up to a super smooth ride. It’s a joy to get into this car and drive, and since you know you’re not burning fuel like most vehicles, it’s even more of a plus because a simple drive on the highway is no longer a burden or a chore.

OVERVIEW

Once again KIA has proven to be the gold standard when it comes to innovative vehicles. And now they’ve become the one to beat in the hybrid race. It’s clear KIA not only loves cars but wants people to love to drive them and the Optima Hybrid is clearly the car to beat this year.

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Article: Car Review: 2012 KIA Optima Hybrid

 

 

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