Kia Optima PHEV
What is it?
The Kia Optima PHEV is Kia’s first plug-in hybrid, with the green and 37g/km tax-saving powertrain helpfully slotted in the Optima saloon’s spacious body.
Available with just the one engine – the 2.0-litre petrol, power and economy are boosted with the addition of a 50kW electric motor. The result is 202bhp and 176.6mpg – but how does it compare to rivals?
- The latest Optima has always been a sharp-looker and suits being fitted with the PHEV power train. Outside, you’ll spot the PHEV version by it’s unique active grille, which closes to reduce air resistance and a blue tint to the headlights.
- Move inside the Optima PHEV and it continues to impress, first with the well-made feel to the plastics and trim. Then look round and we dare you to not be surprised at the amount of interior space. Only available as a saloon at the moment (a Sport Wagon version will be available next year), but the 307-litre the boot is still very practical.
- We’re also fans of the comfy driving position, plus the logical layout of this Kia’s switchgear and the PHEV’s special instruments. Space in the rear of this Optima is good too, with three tall passengers having ample head and legroom.
- Better to drive than the diesel SW estate, the steering is sharp and unlike the estate it has different modes that improve the feel. There is some body roll – but thankfully this Kia has plenty of grip and is a tidy handler.
- On the road, like the Niro, the Optima uses a proper six-speed manual dual clutch gearbox and the result is the PHEV slips smoothly and quietly between power units.
- Like all the other Optimas, the PHEV is a high-value car. Standard equipment includes an 8.0-inch colour infotainment screen, reversing camera, 17-inch alloy wheels and the punchy Harmon Kardon sound system.
- The 176.6 mpg consumption, 37g/km emissions, 7% charge, plus the fact the Optima PHEV qualifies for the soon-disappearing £2,500 government grant, are sure to appeal to business buyers at just £66 a month company car tax for vehicle and fuel for a 20% taxpayer, only £131 for a 40% taxpayer.
- Although better to drive than the estate, with the extra weight, the Optima PHEV’s ride disappoints and it’s not as keen to change direction quite so quickly.
- Concerns about charges for public charging remain but as a petrol-engined hybrid there aren’t the worries of an all-electric stranding.
- The Kia Optima PHEV at £33,995 is obviously dearer than the smaller Nissan Leaf but competitive against the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and Mercedes-Benz C350 e.
Verdict on the Kia Optima PHEV
The Optima PHEV is a reasonable drive, has spacious crossover styling and feels well made.
That PHEV drivetrain means Optima buyers will see savings on their running costs too. The changing face of the charging industry has to be taken into account but we reckon early adopters will see real savings, especially in tax.
The lowdown on: KIA Optima PHEV
|Doors and body style||four-door saloon|
|Engine/gearbox:||2.0-litre 4cyl petrol/6-speed automatic transmission|
…..and what it costs
|Monthly business rental (ex VAT)||n/a|
|Road tax (VED) first year||£0|
|Company Car Tax Bands 2016/17 to 2018/19||7%, 9%, 13%|
|Benefit in kind 2015/16 to 2017/18||£2,376, £3,055, £4,412|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%)||£311/£26|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%)||£622/£52|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (20%)||£475/£40|
|Annual/monthly company car tax (40%)||£950/£79|
|Figures correct at time of posting||September 2016|
|For latest figures||Use our company car tax calculator|