Kia Motors unveils Optima hybrid for US market
Kia Motors unveils Optima hybrid for US market Kia Motors, company handout

Kia Motors has unveiled its first ever first-ever 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid for US market at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Thursday.

The vehicle has been created primarily with the US market in mind and it will enter the market next year. It claims to have an estimated combined fuel economy of 38mpg, thanks to a full parallel hybrid system that leads to a 40.7 percent mpg improvement compared to the regular model. Despite this, it can race from 0-62mph in 9.2seconds and achieve a top speed of 121mph.

Kia says the Optima Hybrid weighs 3,490 pounds, making it lighter than the Camry Hybrid and the Fusion Hybrid. The Camry Hybrid has a 3,680-pound curb weight, while the Fusion Hybrid has a curb weight of 3,720 pounds.

The Optima Hybrid offers a lower ride height than the standard sedan, an active air flap system, lower-drag wheels and underbody aero tuning to reduce drag, and low-rolling-resistance tires.

The Optima Hybrid's battery will hold its charge up to 25 percent longer than hybrids with nickel metal hydride batteries, so the battery is more likely to have usable energy available even if it has not been in use. The vehicle will hit US showrooms in early 2011, but the company refused to divulge the pricing plan.

Kia Motors is aggressively expanding its green car investments and R&D in much the same way we committed ourselves to the quality and design innovations over the last decade that have fueled our dramatic brand transformation, said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA, in a statement.