Kia’s mission to lower the average CO2 emissions of its range by 25 per cent before the end of the decade is given a boost with the launch of the company’s first plug-in hybrid model, the Optima PHEV yesterday in the UK.
With a range of up to 53 kilometers in all-electric mode, the Optima PHEV is able to complete many regular urban commuter runs with no tailpipe emissions, while emitting just 37g/km of CO2.
Powering the Optima PHEV is a combination of a 154bhp 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine with a 50kW (67bhp) electric motor powered by a 9.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack.
The electric motor replaces the torque converter in the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission. When working together, the combustion engine and motor generate 202bhp and 375Nm of torque.
A package of aerodynamic, styling and technology features contributes towards the Optima PHEV’s low CO2emissions and potential fuel economy of up to 176.6mpg while ensuring it is instantly recognisable as the high-efficiency model in the Optima range.
The most significant aerodynamic change is an active air flap grille which lowers the car’s drag co-efficient (Cd) to 0.25 when closed. The neat integration of the batteries behind the rear seat and in the spare wheel well, along with a 15-litre reduction in the car’s petrol tank, means the Optima PHEV is still able to offer a generous 307 litres of luggage space.
According to Kia, the Optima PHEV is a unique, extensively equipped stand-alone model in the Optima range, with driver assistance features including an 8.0-inch touch-screen navigation system with European mapping, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (available later in the production run), Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom, a wireless mobile phone charger, a 270o around-view monitor and a 10-speaker harman/kardon Premium Sound audio system.
Active safety provisions include Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill-start Assist Control.
The Optima PHEV also features:
Uniquely in the Optima range, it has bespoke low-drag front and rear bumpers, the active air-flap grille, a blue tint to the headlights, blue chrome trim on the lower front air intake, upper grille and side sills and the exclusive navigation screen with a series of menus which help the driver to achieve the highest possible range in EV mode.
To compensate for the additional weight of the battery pack, the all-independent suspension of the Optima PHEV has also been specially tuned, while the brakes have been enlarged compared with those on the diesel-engined Optima.
To ensure braking performance is at least the equal of other models in the Optima range, the rear brake discs of the plug-in hybrid have been enlarged from the standard 262mm to 300mm.
That said, there has not been any announcement by Kia on whether the Optima PHEV will be making its way to this part of the world, but looking at the incentives given by the government, the car can actually make waves in the D-segment if Kia has plans to launch it in Malaysia.
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