Kia Optima Hybrid upgraded for 2013

Published | 04/03/2013
  • Optima Hybrid sedan receives extensively revised powertrain for 2013 
  • Improved ‘parallel hybrid system’ delivers 5.1 l/100 km, 119 g/km CO2
  • Power lowered, though generous torque ensures no loss of performance
  • Powertrain changes free up additional trunk space

Frankfurt, 4 March 2013 – 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 Optima Hybrid still benefits from a highly competitive price and the backing of Kia’s unique 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty. 

The enhancements to the innovative Kia-developed ‘parallel hybrid system’ mean that 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 150 ps and the electric motor now produces 35 kW (up from 30 kW).   Combined torque is now 319 Nm 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 190 ps to 177 ps, the vehicle retains the same impressive blend of performance, delivering acceleration to 100 kph in 9.4 seconds and a top speed of 190 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 gasoline 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.  It is the fastest-accelerating Optima and also has the lowest emissions,” commented Benny Oeyen, Vice President Marketing and Product Planning, Kia Motors Europe.  

“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,” added Mr Oeyen. 

The gasoline 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 gasoline engine and the electric motor, enabling the gasoline 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. 

Seamless driving for everyday motoring 
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 gasoline 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 gasoline 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 35 kW Interior Permanent Magnet (IPM) synchronous electric motor, which produces 47 ps and 205 Nm of torque in electric mode, and by the combined (electric motor plus gasoline engine) hybrid powertrain power output of 177 ps at 5500 rpm. 

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 33% less fuel on the combined cycle, emits 33% less CO2, yet produces 7% more power, than the 2.0-litre gasoline 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. 

Ultra-low-drag aerodynamics 
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. 

Editors’ Notes 

New Optima Hybrid range 
Some markets may select particular levels of equipment to suit the preferences of their local consumers.  Please check the final technical specification and model equipment details with your national Kia PR representative. 


New Kia Optima Hybrid 

Body and chassis 
Four-door, five-seater D-segment sedan, with all-steel unitary construction bodyshell.  Transversely mounted gasoline / electric parallel drive hybrid system powering the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.  

Gasoline engine     
2.0-litre 150 ps      
Type / capacity Nu, MPI, 4-in-line, DOHC 16-valve CVVT / 1999 cc
Power / torque 150 ps (110 kW) @ 6000 rpm / 180 Nm @ 5000 rpm
Bore x stroke (mm) 81.0 x 97.0
Compression ratio 12.5:1
Electric motor  
270 VDC, 47 ps  
Type Interior-permanent magnet synchronous motor
Power / torque 47 ps (35 kW) @ 1630-3000 rpm / 205 Nm @ 0-1630 rpm
Combined outputs  
Max power 177 ps (131 kW) @ 5500 rpm
Max torque 319 Nm @ 1000-2000 rpm

Automatic  6-sp (with fully automatic and sport modes) 
Battery pack  
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      
Dimensions (mm)      
Overall length  4845      
Overall width  1830 (excluding door mirrors)      
Overall height 1455      
Wheelbase 2795  
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 135      
Aerodynamic Cd  0.26      
Interior Front Rear   
Head room  1028  965    
Leg room  1155  880    
Shoulder room  1455 1415
Hip room  1388  1384
Capacities (litres)     
Fuel tank 65     
Luggage 381
Kerb weight (kg) 1587
Maximum (kg) 2050  
Weight distribution  57.6 / 42.4%  front / rear
Top speed (kph) 190
0-to-100 kph (sec) 9.4

Fuel consumption and emissions
Litres / 100 km* 5.1
CO2 (g/km) 119

*Official combined cycle test, model with 16-inch wheels/tyres
MARCH 2013       

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