|Love those foxy 17" wheels.|
|How green is my instrument panel?|
I love the looks of this car. The design of the Optima doesn't scream hybrid (meaning that I think we're over mere posturing and getting down to some serious personal environmental decision making). The overall look is low and sloopy--making it one sexy sedan. The low sloopy business creates a headroom problem in the front so my tall tester (architect Rob Whitlock 6'4") won't be buying this one. But those of us who do fit under the headliner find the interior design and appointments from fabric to instrument panel very pleasing. This is just me, but I'd rather be pleased than polarized by my daily driver.
One thing we did notice is that the batteries cause serious weight gain. Gross vehicle weight (which includes the curb weight plus passengers and cargo) is over 4,000 pounds!
Government safety rates this as five star for frontal, rollover and side rear seat crash. It has only a three star rating for side front seat crash.
As equipped my hybrid Optima cost $32, 620 including delivery charges. That also includes $5, 350 for a premium technology package. The base price without the bells and whistles is $25,700. The Optima competes with the Toyota Prius, which has a base price of $24,000 and gets better mileage, 51 city/48 highway. I'm in awe of the Prius and its new "c" model, but I have to say I like the package on the Optima better.
One thing you can count on with Kia. They are determined, which means they don't want to give you any reason to say no. The cars are packed with content, they're great cars and the warranty––10 years, 100,000 miles––can't be beat. I talk cars with a lot of people. Many of them still say, "Really?" when I recommend they test drive a Kia. Stop already. Yeees, really.