The year’s best green sedan: 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid

Why Kia’s affordable and fuel efficient mid-sized Optima Hybrid sedan is a top pick when considering a new car.

2016 Optima Hybrid

LOS ANGELES, January 24, 2016 – The award-winning 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid just received one more award: this green car expert’s “top pick” for best 2016 hybrid car after a weeklong family road test.

2016 Optima Hybrid

And I’m not the only one who thinks Kia’s new Optima Hybrid is worth such accolades. Kelley Blue Book named Kia’s Optima lineup as their “Best Buy of the Year” for mid-sized car. At last fall’s LA Auto Show, the 2016 Optima was lauded as the show as well as Road & Travel’s magazine’s “International Car of the Year.”

But what makes Kia’s hybrid model of its best-selling mid-sized sedan so great? Firstly, there’s the price and what you get for it. The base Optima Hybrid model starts at just $25,995 while the top-of-the-line Hybrid EX model is $32,195 (plus a $850 destination charge).

Here’s a short list of the Optima Hybrid’s standard features:

—16-inch alloy wheels (17 inches for Hybrid EX model)

–Power door locks with remote start

–Dual-zone climate control with back seat vents

–Power-folding, body-colored outside mirrors with turn indicators

–Body-colored and chrome door handles

–Heated and ventilated fro

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–Leather-wrapped steering wheel with thumb-controlled telematics, audio and cruise controls

–Bluetooth connectivity

–USB and auxiliary input jacks

–Tilt-and-telescoping steering column

–Six-speaker sound system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sirius satellite radio capabilities (EX trim level is upgraded to an eight-speaker premium Infinity surround sound system)

–Four-way power adjustable cloth seats

–An 8-inch touch screen display loaded with Kia’s UVO infotainment and navigation as well as rear view camera and real-time Sirius traffic is standard equipment on the Hybrid EX and can be added as an option on the base model.

And if all that equipment isn’t enough of a reason to buy, the 2016 Optima Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 36 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. That’s quite the fuel efficient feat for any five-seat sedan.

2016 Optima Hybrid

How did Kia powertrain engineers do it? They mated a 2.4-liter gas engine with a 47 hp electric motor and a 47 kW lithium polymer battery. These three components work together to deliver a combined 199 hp and 235 lb. ft. of torque. What does that all mean?

Read: Kia Soul EV: The Nearly Perfect Electric Vehicle

Once you spend time driving this car, you’ll soon discover its performance is really remarkable. This utterly quiet ride accelerates nicely. Power through all gears is confident and smooth with more than enough speed when needed. Steering and handling are impressively responsive. The Optima’s suspension is nice and tight too, which gives this sedan an even smoother ride.

Overall, the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid is a delight to drive and could certainly be the perfect commuter car for those who love the daily grind of getting to work in smooth-riding luxury and style.

This third generation Optima thankfully hasn’t changed much on the outside as this sexy sedan really does look almost like a high-brow Bimmer or Mercedes-Benz. The Optima’s hybrid version, however, does have some notable additions for increased aerodynamics including front bumper vents and an aluminum rather than steel grille.

2016 Optima Hybrid
2016 Optima Hybrid dash

Inside is where the Optima shines even more bright. Sit in the driver’s cockpit and you will find everything is exceedingly well placed for thumbs, fingers, hands and wrists. The driver’s cockpit is perfectly laid out with its supremely comfortable seating, thumb-based leather-wrapped steering wheel, digital gauges, large and crisp infotainment screen, handy device charging station just below the climate controls, a feel-good stick shift and chrome-ringed cup holders.

All in all, the Optima’s interior is a place of respite and calm, especially if you add the insanely good Infinity surround sound system and Kia’s award-winning UVO infotainment package.

Need another reason to go green with Optima Hybrid? This sexy sedan received the hard-to-get five star safety rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Optima is Kia’s best-selling vehicle and it’s no wonder why this eco sedan is one of the top green car buys for 2016. Not only is this latest generation Optima Hybrid super fuel efficient, but it is also supremely comfortable, has some of the best in-car tech, looks good and drives like a dream.

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