2020 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

2020 MODEL
$36,090
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2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 15, 2020
Abhinandan Banerjee's image

Abhinandan Banerjee

Content Lead

With the falling sales of Passenger Cars and the rising interest for Eco-Friendly cars among the masses, manufacturers are pulling every trick in their sleeve, to increase the same. One compromise or solution that manufacturers have come up with, is in the form of Hybrid Sedans. One of the pioneers of this segment was Kia and leveraging this expertise of their is Kia’s popular Optima PHEV sedan.

See detailed review »

Pros

Good Noise Insulation from Outside

Stylish Exteriors and Interiors

Generous Cargo Capacity

Plenty of Standard Safety Tech on-board

Cons

Average MPG Figures

No AWD even as an option

Handling feels devoid of character

What's New?

Standard 8” UVO Audio System with Android Auto, Apple Car Play

Standard Wireless Charging, Kia Drive Wise Technology


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$36090

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

202 hp @ 6000 rpm

torque

276 lbs.-ft. @ 2330 rpm

transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

12-Dec

dimensions

wheelbase

110.4 in.

length

63.3 in.

width

73.2 in.

height

57.5 in.

curb weight

3799 lbs.

ground clearance

5.1 in.

capacity

passenger volume

104.8 cu ft.

cargo volume

9.9 cu ft.

towing capacity

9000 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.7 sec.

standing ¼-mile

15.9 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

24/33/27 mpg

ev range

444 mi.

highway range (evs/hybrids)

610.5 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr. /100000 mi.

roadside assistance

5 yr. / 60000 mi.


Pictures & Videos

Exterior
Interior
Videos
2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Review video
2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Detailed Review video

Styles

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan in Aluminum Silver color 2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan in Aurora Black color 2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan in Gravity Blue color 2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan in Snow White Pearl color
Aluminum Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine And Performance

6.0

Fuel Economy

9.0

Interior

8.1

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.0

Competition

6.5

7.2

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan EX

EX

power
202 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$36,090


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A) Starting at $36,090 MSRP (24/27/33) 202 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed shiftable automatic front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.2

Overall Rating


The Optima PHEV came as an All-New Car in 2016 and Kia has been constantly updating it over the years, to keep it stay fresh in the rising heat from its rivals. Mechanically, the Optima PHEV remains unchanged but gets updates and additions in terms of safety tech and equipment inside. The additions include Wireless Charging Compatibility for phones supporting that feature, Driver assistance features and more.

Engine output is still rated at 202hp and 276lbs.-ft. Of torque and the Optima PHEV can return an overall Mileage figure of 41MPG. Available in just the EX trim, Kia has priced the Optima PHEV at $36,090 and it rivals the likes of the Hyundai Sonata PHEV and the Honda Clarity PHEV. 

2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan Front View
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan Rear View

7.0/10
Features

 

6.0/10
Engine and Performance

 

9.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.1/10
Interior

 

7.0/10
Exterior

 

8.0/10
Safety

 

6.5/10
Competition

 
 

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Features

7.0/10

Offered at the price tag of $35,390, the Optima Hybrid goes both ways, typical hybrid, and a plug-inversion. The EX trim is powered by a standard 2.0 L Inline-4 cylinder gas engine and with a hybrid motor mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Kia flaunts its impressive total range of 29 miles on battery alone but sacrifices its boot space along the way. 

Trim

EX

MSRP (FWD)

$36,090

Key Features

Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel and Gear Shift Knob

 

60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seats

 

8” Touchscreen Infotainment System with UVO link, Rear View Monitor

 

6 Speaker Audio System with AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM Radio

 

Apple Car Play, Android Auto

 

Power Adjust Heated ORVM with Integrated LED Turn Signals

 

Projector Beam Headlights with Auto headlamp control, LED DRL’s

 

LED Taillights 

 

Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers

Which trim to go for?

Kia isn't offering the Optima PHEV in a variety of trims. However, it comes loaded with a host of bells and whistles, to keep you pampered at all times.

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Engine and Performance

6.0/10

Pop up the hood and you will find a 2.0 L Inline-4 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor. The power plant cranks out a 202 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque which is better than the entry-level Optima. As aforementioned before it can go all-electric for 29 miles which frankly is way more than what an average traveler need. 

2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan has 2L Engine 

Models

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

MSRP

$36,090

$34,320

$34,320

$37,580

Engine

2.0 I-4 Naturally Aspirated

2.0 I-4 Naturally Aspirated

1.5 I-4 Naturally Aspirated

2.5L I-4 naturally Aspirated

Drivetrain FWD FWD FWD FWD

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-Speed Automatic

CVT

CVT

Power

202hp@6,000rpm

202hp@6,000rpm

212hp@5,500rpm

215hp@5,700rpm

Torque

276lb-ft@2,330rpm

N/A

221lb-ft@N/A

267lb-ft@N/A

*2019 model year figures used for representational purposes only

The gas engine contributes 154 horsepower and the rest is amassed by a 9.8-kWh lithium-polymer battery sitting in the cargo bay. The normal hybrid Optima homes a smaller battery pack which makes this one around 250 pounds heavier. The 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth and compliant with the hybrid powertrain. 

How fast is it?

There is a lot of power to initially kick start the Hybrid Optima. The peppy base engine feels ready to take on the road and the transmission backs the engine while it does that. The average hybrid makes the 60 mpg test in 8-second acceleration and the Optima makes it in 7.7 seconds which pretty fair. As you drive further, the Hybrid Optima took 15.9 seconds to hit the quarter-mile light. 

Models

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

0-60 MPH

7.7 sec

8.3 sec

8 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.9 sec

16.6 sec

16 sec

15.7 sec

Top Speed N/A 130 MPH N/A N/A

Engine

2.0 I-4 Naturally Aspirated

2.0 I-4 Naturally Aspirated

1.5 I-4 Naturally Aspirated

2.5L I-4 naturally Aspirated

Speaking of rivals, the Kia is the fastest among all its rivals and the is matched by the Toyota Avalon Hybrid. The Clarity comes in 3rd in this respect and the Sonata fares the least good here.

How is the ride quality?

Behind the wheel, Kia Optima inspires confidence with its predictable flat-bottom steering. However, the lack of road communication may dwindle your confidence. The engine dynamics of the car puts no limits on its ability to maneuver, the Optima’s power is satisfying both on the highway and city. Handling might not feel razor-sharp as the Stinger but it is entertaining nevertheless. Optima’s mid-size dimensions give you a hassle-free ride, cutting traffic is a light day for the Optima. The rather thin tires are silent in the city though on the highway they are a real screamer. 

2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan Left Side View

The Suspension of the Optima Hybrid has been tuned towards the comfier side of things and in that sense, the Optima Hybrid does really well. Potholes are handled with authority and it is very little, that can undulate your pleasant ride inside the optima. Noise Insulation is excellent and very little can creep inside the cabin of the Optima. 

How do the brakes work on Kia Optima Hybrid?

The braking dynamics seem fair on paper but in the rear world braking is not this Kia’s strong suit. Both the front and rear brake rotors are rated at 12 inches and 11.2 inches, quite reasonable for the industry standards. However, the pedal feels soft and pose a spontaneous vibe. Braking distances are fair for a vehicle of this size and is marginally ahead of all of Kia’s rivals.

Model

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

Brake Rotors Front

12"

12"

12.3"

12"

Brake Rotors Rear

11.2"

11"

12.2"

11.1"

Curb Weight

3799 lbs

3400 lbs

4052 lbs

3638 lbs

60-0 MPH

127 ft

N/A

131 ft

134 ft

The Avalon is the worst among its adversaries in terms of braking performance and is followed by the Honda Clarity on the same front. The Kia is the best of the lot and we expect the Hyundai, to be on the same lines as the Kia.

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Fuel Economy

9.0/10

Good mileage is the meat of the matter for Hybrid cars, and Kia knows this perfectly, but somehow the rivals have a better understanding of the concept. In the city, you can expect a 39 mpg mileage and 45 mpg while cruising on the highway. This equals the equivalent mileage of 103mpge which make sit a winner in the mid-sized sedan segment. 

Model

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

MPG (City)

39

39

44

43

MPG (Highway)

43

45

40

44

MPG (Combined)

41

41

42

44

Fuel Capacity 14.5 gallons 14.5 gallons 7.0 gallons 13.2 gallons
Range (City/Hwy/Combined) N/A N/A 308/280/N/A miles 568/581/N/A miles

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/yr)

1.6 1.7 0.9

3.4

Though the Kia Optima is efficient it’s average when you compare with its direct adversaries. The Sonata performs worse than the Kia, despite being powered by a similar power train. The Toyota returns the best MPG figures and is closely matched by the Honda Clarity sedan.

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Interior

8.1/10

Functionality over funk and quality over junk- the Optima’s interior may not be the most stylish or loaded with upmarket quality but it's smart and practical. All the knobs and buttons feel premium and meet their function, and you don’t need to improvise fall into the conundrum of ambiguous menus to get what you intended. The cabin is roomy and can fairly hold 5 occupants. You get an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat with 2-way power lumbar support. As you climb the trim ladder, your Optima will be bequeathed to 10-way power adjustment with heating and ventilation for additional comfort. 

2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan Dashboard Design

Model

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.8/58.1/45.5

40.4/57.9/45.5

39.1/59.7/42.2

38.5/58.3/42.1

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.8/56.4//35.6

38.0/56.5/35.6

37.1/57.3/36.2

37.9/57.1/40.4


The front seats offer a lot of legroom and headroom space, 45.3 inches and 39.8 inches to be precise. The second-row seats are not that bad either, 6 feet tall passengers might have to adjust a little to get more legroom as its limited to 35 inches. The rear headroom and shoulder room are not infected with such a problem, thanks to the high roofline at the rear of the Optima.

How much is the cargo capacity? 

The gas-powered Optima leads the segment as far as practicality goes, but the Plug-in hybrid version eats up a few cubic feet of cargo volume though the tailgate shares a nice and wide opening. The rear seat features a 60/40 split to open up more cargo space. The cabin utility is top-notch with a lot of door pockets, cubby holes, and a concealed bin under the armrest. 

Model

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

Cargo Capacity

9.9 cu.ft.

9.9 cu.ft.

15.5 cu.ft.

16.1 cu.ft.

Speaking of rivals, the Toyota Avalon offers the most Cargo space, courtesy of its bigger dimensions and a clever utilization of space on the inside. The Clarity comes in a close second to the Toyota and is miles ahead, in terms of space on offer, when compared to the Kia and the Hyundai. It is so because the Clarity's battery is low down in the chassis, which doesn't interfere with anything you might want to store in the trunk.

2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan Infotainment Display

Infotainment System Features:

  • Six speaker audio system
  • 8″ Touch-Screen Display
  • AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM
  • Apple Car Play/Android Auto Compatibility
  • Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity
  • Steering mounted stereo and cellphone controls
  • Dual USB Power Outlets & 12 V Power Outlet in Rear Console

Notable Interior Features:

  • Smart Key w/ Push-Button Start and Immobilizer
  • Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control
  • Rear Air Conditioning Vent
  • Day/Night Interior Rearview Mirror with interior lighting
  • Leather Seat Trim
  • 10-Way Driver's Seat Adjustment, w/ 2-Way Power Lumbar Support
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel & Gear Shift Knob
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Exterior

7.0/10

Though the Kia Optima is largely unchanged for 2020, it still goes in strong this year. The new Stinger inspired front fascia imbibes a rebellious vibe to this mid-size. The styling is more curvaceous and strikingly similar to the 2016 model when it first came out. Considering its distant cousin Hyundai Sonata, Kia has crafted a better-looking car.

2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan Three Quarter View

The Kia Optima is 191.1 inches long better than the usual mid-size sedan segment. The width and height are similar to other sends at 73.2 inches and 57.7 inches. You get a 5.3-inch ground clearance and a tad longer wheelbase of 110.4 inches. 

Model

Kia Optima PHEV

Hyundai Sonata PHEV*

Honda Clarity PHEV*

Toyota Avalon Hybrid*

Curb Weight

3799 lbs

3400 lbs

4052 lbs

3638 lbs

Length

191.1"

191.1"

192.7"

195.9"

Width

73.2"

73.4"

73.9"

72.8"

Height

57.5"

57.9"

58.2"

56.5"

Ground Clearance

5.1"

N/A

7.3"

5.3"

Wheelbase

110.4"

110.4"

108.3"

113.0"

The Toyota Avalon is a bigger car compared to the Optima despite being less heavier than the same. Other cars like the Hyundai Sonata and the Honda Clarity have similar dimensions as the Kia. The short length equals results in a shorter wheelbase as well. 

Exterior Features

  • Heated Outside Mirrors
  • Smart Welcome
  • Solar Control Glass
  • Smart Trunk™
  • Auto Light Control
  • Projector Beam Headlights
  • Virtual Engine Sound System
  • Positioning Lights, LED
  • Rear Combination Lamps, LED
  • Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
  • Heated Rear Glass w/ Timer
  • Locking Fuel-Filler Door
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan
2020 Kia Optima plug-in-hybrid Sedan

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Safety

8.0/10

It’s not the practicality, power, or performance which attracts the buyer, but the wide plethora of safety gear offered on the Optima which lures the buyers to Kia’s showroom. NHTSA awarded a stellar 5-star rating to the 2020 Kia Optima. You get a healthy standard feature list inclusive of safety features like Electronic Stability Control, Hill Assist, active lane control. Lean-departure warning and more.

  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Emergency Braking Preparation
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Post-Collision Safety System
  • Dual Front Side-Mounted Airbags
  • Stability Control
  • Front And Rear Head Airbags
  • Passenger Airbag Occupant Sensing Deactivation
  • Rear Height Adjustable Headrests
  • Remote Anti-Theft Alarm System
  • Dusk Sensing Headlamps
  • Blind Spot And Lane Departure Warnings Accident Avoidance System
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Traction Control
  • Ventilated Front Disc / Solid Rear Disc Brakes
  • Pre-Collision Safety System
  • Engine Immobilizer

NHTSA Ratings

Overall Rating

5 star

Overall Frontal Crash Rating

5 star

Frontal Crash Rating Driver Side

5 star

Frontal Crash Rating Passenger Side

4 star

Overall Side Crash Rating

5 star

Combined Side Barrier and Pole Rating Front Seat

5 star

Combined Side Barrier and Pole Rating Front Seat Rear Seat

5 star

Side Barrier

5 star

Side barrier Driver

5 star

Side barrier Rear Passenger

5 star

Overall Side Pole Star Rating

5 star

Rollover Rating

5 star

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Competition

6.5/10

Kia Optima PHEV vs. Hyundai Sonata PHEV

The Kia and the Hyundai are family cousins and similar in a lot of ways. Both come powered by the same Motor, offer similar space on the inside, decently loaded with features and offer similar performance. The Kia however, feels slightly more premium than its sibling, thanks to its Stinger inspired Design, slightly better interior quality and higher MPG figures. While the Kia may be marginally expensive than the Hyundai, it certainly feels worth the extra premium.

Hyundai Sonata PHEV

Kia Optima PHEV vs. Honda Clarity PHEV

Honda has been the pioneers in the Hybrid Space along with Kia and have competed with each other for a long time. The New Generation Clarity feels far more refined and feature-laden than its predecessor. It packs in a lot more features than ever before and leagues ahead of the Kia, in terms of practicality, space on offer and Efficiency. The Kia on the other hand, is dynamically superior to the Kia, has the better braking setup and is the better of the 2 in terms of features on offer. Honda Clarity comes with Japanese reliability and is more suited for the more practical buyer. Those looking for enthusiasm in their daily driving should still opt for the Optima.

2020 Honda Clarity PHEV

Kia Optima PHEV vs. Toyota Avalon Hybrid

The Toyota Avalon Hybrid has been around for a while and has been a reliable and practical workhorse for most Americans, at the same time. It has been popular among the masses because of its immense practicality, sheer frugality, and unbreakable build. However, over the years, Toyota has struggled against its rivals and the Kia Optima has been one of them. The Optima offers an expansive set of features, driver aids and performance as well. The Kia is the more dynamically potent car of the duo and has the better brakes as well. If we were to put our money on one of these 2, we would lean towards the Kia because of the sheer value that it offers to the customer for its price.

Toyota Avalon Hybrid

 

2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan Final Verdict

The 2020 Kia Optima PHEV, ranks as a worthwhile mid size Sedan that offers terrific value, decent power, and good mileage numbers as well. With the added set of safety and technology for 2020, the Optima PHEV has become more irresistible than ever and there aren’t many reasons, why you shouldn’t go for one. Though there may be more spacious Sedans in the segment or more fun to drive Hybrids as well, but as an overall package and the sense of luxury, the 2020 Kia Optima PHEV is still one of the better Hybrids’ that you can go for in the segment.