After driving the Kia Soul for a week, I was very excited to drive the Kia Optima Hybrid Premium for a week during Thanksgiving. Justin and I have reliable vehicles, but they are older and while they fit our family, neither are very comfortable for long trips. We went to my in-law’s and it’s a four hour drive, so comfort is a must. The Kia Optima Hybrid Premium definitely offers the comfort we were after along with a host of other wonderful features.
One of the first things I always check in any vehicle is the car seat install. We installed our Britax Frontier 85 SICT and the Britax Marathon 70 with no problem. Like the Kia Soul, the Optima provides tether indicators which make it easy to locate the tether hooks and install car seats. Bella’s Britax Marathon 70 was installed rear-facing with the tether hooks while we used the belt path for Bryson’s Britax Frontier 85 SICT. Both installs were clean and secure. I meant to try three car seats across, but never got around to it. There was enough room between their car seats to let the middle console down which provided a cup holder for each child. I think if you have thin seats, you could definitely fit three across, or if you put a rear-facing seat in the middle with a forward-facing seat on each side, it would probably work too.
The interior of the car is super roomy. There is plenty of leg room for passengers in the back seat. The seats are totally adjustable. On the ride down, Justin began to get uncomfortable and we were surprised just how much the seats adjust. After he changed his seat up a bit, he was fine the rest of the ride and on the way home. The Kia Optima is a very family friendly vehicle. Not only is there a lot of space, but there were several cup holders. You’ll find one in each door, two in the front middle console, and two in the back middle console. The glove box can also double as a cooler if you simple open the vent inside to allow cold air in. It’s great for a bottle of water that you want to stay cool!
I love the technology the Kia Optima Hybrid Premium offers. This one was fully loaded! I think one of my favorite features was the heated steering wheel. Y’all, there just aren’t any words for it. You can feel it start heating up almost instantly and it felt so great on my cold hands. The seats were heated and air conditioned which is a wonderful feature too. We certainly didn’t need the air conditioning though. Every time I would turn the heat on my seat, Justin would switch it to the cold air when I wasn’t looking. He did that to me more times than I can count, so I can say that the air conditioned seats definitely work and would be refreshing during the summer. During the winter? Not so much, but the heat is amazing.
Other features that I loved include the rear back-up camera, the Bluetooth wireless technology, push button start, the navigation system, and the SIRIUS satellite radio. I synced my iPhone with the Bluetooth so all calls were coming through the speakers in the car. I was pleased with how easy the set-up was and how well I could hear as well as the person on the other end of the call. I also liked the option to stream my iPhone music so it didn’t even have to be plugged in. The Alabama vs. Auburn game was on on our way home, so we loved having the SIRIUS radio for that. We used it more than any of the other options. The Pulse station is my favorite!
My only concern was trunk space. I knew that because it was a Hybrid, there would be less trunk space because the battery is housed there. As soon as I peeked inside the trunk, I realized I was worried for no reason. We had more than enough room. My father-in-law came over with a big box of gifts to send with us at the last minute and we still had space. We packed a large suitcase, two Trunkis, a big box of gifts, a camera bag, shoes, and more with zero problems.
The full sunroof was at the top of my list of favorite features too. The kids loved being able to look out the back sunroof. This was my first time ever in a Hybrid. The Kia Optima Hybrid Premium averages 34 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. You can use the screen in the driver’s dash to watch your energy flow, keep up with your miles per gallon, and see if you are using the battery or gas. It was very neat. Anytime you stop, you can feel the car shut-off and switch over to the battery. One other thing- when you push the start button, you have to look for the green “Ready” sign to pop up because you cannot hear this car crank. It is the quietest car I’ve ever heard.. or not heard, you know what I mean.
Final thoughts: I hated to see this car go. I really did. It has a sporty, expensive look to it with so many awesome features at an affordable price. I could definitely see my family in the Optima and there is no doubt that when we begin automobile shopping, Kia will be on our list.
We were given the opportunity to drive the Kia Optima Hybrid Premium. All thoughts and opinions remain my own, as always.