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The Optima is now in its third generation, and has come a long way from the original model first introduced in 2001. The hybrid version was first introduced in 2011 when the current generation debuted.
The Hybrid is available in two trim levels, the LX an EX. Both feature a 2.4-liter hybrid gas-electric power plant. Fuel economy is good, with 36 mpg city and 40 mpg highway on the LX -- the EX drops by one mile per gallon. With traction control, stability control and side curtain airbags, the Optima earned a five-star safety rating.
In 2011, Kia redesigned the entire Optima lineup with an all-new, sportier exterior and a well-appointed interior. The 2011 model also brought about the first generation for the Optima Hybrid model, which came standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 166 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The four-cylinder engine combined with an electric motor to create a total of 206 horsepower and 193 pound-feet of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission. Tweaks to the hybrid system in 2013 dropped the output to 199 horsepower, but increased fuel economy.