All photos by Kia
The new 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium is by far one of the sharpest midsize sedans on the road, and with the new hybrid technology, there is more love other than looks. Kia has been improving on design and quality over the past few years, and the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium takes that progress to a new level.
The first thing we noticed on the Optima was the smooth raked roofline that gives the striking appearance of a sports car or, at the bare minimum, a sports coupe. Kia went all in on designing the 2012 Optima to be the one that her rivals spend countless hours dissecting and chasing into the future. There is an even balance between a muscular look and sleekness from the front fenders to the attractive rear end. Our test model was dressed up in a snow white pearl paint with 17-inch tires with stylish alloy wheels. The overall look of the hybrid has some enhancements from the traditional Optima including features like a rear fascia that has a hidden exhaust, a unique headlight design, lower ride height, an active air flap system, underbody aero tuning to reduce drag and low rolling resistance tires.
The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium’s cabin is pretty much the same as the Optima EX with the driver-focused center console and infotainment systems positioned in the driver’s direct eyesight on the dashboard. Our loaner had a very modern interior highlighted with black leather seating that you just don’t see offered at the price of the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium. Cabin space was generous and options were abundant with UVO in-vehicle infotainment system, navigation system with rear camera display and Sirius traffic, Infinity audio system, panoramic sunroof, power folding outside mirrors, auto dimming rearview with home link and compass, driver’s seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats and heated steering wheel. The leather-like stitched trim around the interior looked and felt upscale, especially when compared to the old plastic finish in Kias of yesteryear! Trunk space was sufficient for a hybrid as space is competing with a battery pack here. The rear seats deliver and would make any basketball team smile with leg room galore.
There is a fine line in what folks want from performance and fuel efficiency, and sometimes car makers just can’t make someone happy who demands both. Let me first say that when you rate the performance of the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium, we have to acknowledge that this pup delivers 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg in highway driving, and that’s not a misprint my friends. The 2.4 liter 4-cylinder hybrid engine is coupled with a 6-speed sportmatic transmission that basically gets the job done. There are no feelings of excitement when you press the throttle, but at the same time, you won’t be disappointed when you need to make a move in traffic with the 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium. There are times when you’ll feel a slight jolt around 15 to 20 mph when the car switches from electric to gas power. If you haven’t driven a hybrid before, it will take a few days to get accustomed to this advanced engine technology.
The 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium is hands down one of the sharpest sedans on the road today and has styling cues that rivals probably have nightmares about. Pricing for our top of the line Premium came in at $32,500, which is probably one of the better deals for a hybrid with this head-turning design. It’s nothing short of amazing as to how far Kia has come over the years and the new 2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Premium is a sure sign of great cars for us to admire.
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