We are witnessing hybrid cars revolution day in and day out, but how many electric motors and battery packs are mated to something other than pure petrol interior combustion engine? There aren’t many. Last year or so offered a few fuel-cell vehicles, but diesel-electric car was rarely considered. At this year’s Paris Auto Show, Kia finally offered us something new as its 2015 Kia Optima T-Hybrid model combines exactly that – diesel engine and electric motor.
Design – Inside and Outside look
By taking a look at it, no one would have noticed the difference between conventional and T-Hybrid Optima. It has kept the same overall design with difference of adding translucent hood to the concept model in order to showcase the powertrain. Needless to say, actual production models won’t have this feat and will be a next-gen vehicles which makes speculations about their design rather futile at this point.
Interior is basically the same as in other Optima versions. Being a hybrid doesn’t tell us much when thinking about its cabin refinement as they currently offer both cloth and leather upholstery and either base or advanced tech list as well. Heated steering wheel, heated front seats and ventilated driver’s seat will be standard in top grades, while all models should come with standard touch screen display. However, again the top models benefit from advanced features which this time include navigation system with SiriusXM traffic and 8-speaker Infinity premium sound system with HD radio.
Bluetooth wireless technology and hands-free connectivity are standard across the board, together with USB and auxiliary input jack, and LCD trip computer in gauge cluster. All standard safety gear is present, including all mandatory airbags, anti-lock brakes, hill-start assist, electronic stability and traction control, and 4-wheel disc brakes. Rearview camera is optional in entry-level models, while backup warning system and blind spot detection system with cross-traffic alert is optional with top-tier models.
Under the Hood and MPG
1.7L 4-cylinder diesel engine makes 134 hp and 239 lb-ft of torque thanks to both turbocharger and electric supercharger, and with small 15 hp electric motor and 48-volt lead-carbon battery, it delivers a total power output of 168 horses and 280 lb-ft of torque. Moreover, mid-engine layout gives it ability to drive solely on electric power, at least while in cruising speeds.
Since powertrain in question is currently still being developed, fuel economy ratings are only wild guesses at this point in time. However, apart from offering around 20 percent bigger power output than regular diesel Optima, 2015 Kia Optima T-Hybrid will also reduce CO2 emissions by corresponding percentage. Still, some sources are suggesting that 56 mpg could be the figures we are looking for.
2015 Kia Optima T-Hybrid Price and Release date
Its price will be higher than the price of your regular hybrid Optima since diesel engines, especially new ones cost much more. Expect the figures between $30,000 and $35,00 here. But, unfortunately, there is no official details about launch date. We can expect, that the new Kia Hybrid will be available on the US market, firstly. These predictions are if we no look Korean market.
2015 Kia Optima T-Hybrid is a fine addition to Korean manufacturers’ family as it offers something new. Diesel-electric hybrid powertrain is sure to top fuel economy ratings of any other Optima and hybrid from other manufacturers alike for that matter. Sadly, US market most likely won’t see it as no-diesel engine policy in the states plans to take its toll.