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Car Review: Kia Optima Hybrid

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of test driving the Kia Optima SX. Recently, I was able to test drive and compare the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid EX. It’s just as sleek as the original, with a few extras and, of course, added fuel efficiency.

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-full


I always say, it’s the little details that make a car for me. As a busy mom entrepreneur with two busy kids and a large, active dog-child, I love when companies design cars with features that help make our daily lives easier, and our rides more comfortable.

Like most newer models these days , the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid has a keyless entry and push button start system.

The seat warmers and coolers were for both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. During these cold winter months, it’s nice to be greeted by warmed seats; when I test drove the Kia Optima SX during the summer, those seat coolers helped provide some instant relief from the summer heat.

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-Heated and Cooled Seats

The Kia Optima Hybrid EX has power folding outside mirrors, which is a fantastic feature when parking downtown and in tight parking lots.

There is also a panoramic sunroof with power shades. Gives the kids a fun view overhead during the ride!

The Bluetooth technology allows you to hook up your mobile devices and have complete hands-free calls.

But perhaps my favorite feature that came with this hybrid was the heated steering wheel. Such a great option to add extra comfort on these cold winter days!

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-Heated Steering Wheel



The Kia Optima Hybrid body is almost identical to the Kia Optima SX. There is enough space for two little kids to be seated comfortably in the backseat, with a folding down cupholder between them. The odd thing about this feature is that it did not have a tray or container within the fold-down section, so you couldn’t really place anything like food or books or toys on it.

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-backseat

The driver and passenger sides were both cozy with ample leg room, and the console between the two had plenty of space for storage.

The driver side in the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid EX has seat presets, so when you start the car, the driver’s seat automatically moves to your preferred spot. And, when you turned off the engine, the driver’s seat automatically moved back to give you room to get out of the car. I loved that!

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-Inside

The trunk space was considerably different in the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid versus the 2013 Kia Optima SX. Because space is needed for the car battery, there is less storage space in the trunk. However, I have to say that it was more than sufficient for many large bags from our grocery trips, and all of our gear for business trips and the kids’ activities.

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-trunk


The same main issue I had with the 2013 Kia Optima SX was again present in the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid: large blind spots. The way the body was designed, no matter how tall or how short you are, there are considerable blind spots while driving. The worst is when you are trying to merge right: the windows and the frame are designed with huge blind spots that make it really unsafe.

Otherwise, the car comes with all of the standard safety features, including airbags galore, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, traction control system, and more.


The fuel efficiency in the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid EX was AMAZING. I have driven hybrids in the past, and this is probably the time that I noticed a considerable difference in fuel economy. I drove hundreds of miles over the course of seven days – including four round trips downtown, which is about 30-40 minutes away, and several stop-and-go trips around town — and I only used almost a quarter of a tank of gas. I would have had to fill up my current Honda Pilot (which I LOVE, don’t get me wrong) at least once after driving that much. I was super impressed!

Car Review-Kia Optima Hybrid-display

The Kia Optima Hybrid EX gets approximately 35 miles per gallon in the city and 39 on the highway.


Because of the fuel efficiency and additional features, the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid EX that I test drove had an MSRP of $31,950. That is a considerable difference from the $21,350 MSRP of the 2013 Kia Optima SX I test drove earlier this year. However, considering the estimated average annual fuel cost for the hybrid is just $1450, I would say the difference in price is worth it.


Overall, I really enjoyed the 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid EX. It was fantastic to be able to compare the traditional Optima with the hybrid version. The difference in fuel efficiency alone is absolutely incredible and, I think, worth the additional cost. I love all of the extras, like the heated steering wheel and the power folding outside mirrors. I think this would be a great commuter car for families of four, but might be tight for families with more than two kids, or even, considering the tighter trunk space, families with two high school kids who are involved with a lot of activities. The 2013 Kia Optima Hybrid EX is definitely worth checking out, especially if you are looking for a great looking sedan and fuel efficiency is important to you.


Food + Drink + Travel writer. Adventurer, mom, biz owner ( In constant pursuit of all that is creative & fun. Email: info (at) urbanblisslife (dot) com.

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