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2016 Kia Optima Eco Hybrid (older model)

2016_Kia_Optima_Eco-Hybrid_006Text and photos by Cor Steenstra

There was admittedly a communication error between the press fleet provider and myself in that understood the car to be delivered would be the new generation of Optima, but it was the last of the previous generation instead. Compared to the version we evaluated before this one has a new front fascia and some updates on the rear, but by far not the new Optima of course. What I did notice with this Kia was the complete mismatch between the colors on the bumpers and the body color. I don’t know if it is the difficulty in the chosen paint color being more sensitive than others, but it was so bad that I contacted the press fleet to double check if this car had been in an accident. It had not. This is so not the quality I have gotten used to from Kia. take a look at this rear view picture for instance:

2016_Kia_Optima_Eco-Hybrid_041That really is not what I have gotten to know as Kia level of quality. I remember in the mid eighties that it was a problem matching the metallic paints on plastic parts with the metal parts, but that was the mid eighties. This is 30 years onward. This is not excuable. If I would have ordered this car and would have received this, I would have given it back and demanded my money back. No new car should look like it has been in an accident from the start. If that is the best that can be done with that particular paint or that particular color then drop it from the line up. No customer wants to be seen with that, and Kia should not want a customer in a new Kia driving around like that.

That of course wasn’t all the experience with this car. It is a hybrid, and we’re in the middle of experiencing a few clean cars right now, trying to see how we fare these days. As you know we just experienced the Chevy Volt, which is a Hybrid as well, but more toward the EV side than the gasoline side. So why would we care?

Well, in practical terms, it means that with the Volt we were able to drive around 30 miles as an EV, after which it switched to the conventional engine to create charge for the batteries. That ended up in us experiencing a very loud engine noise when put in that mode, and it didn’t take that long to have that experience. 30 miles is not much. even after charging a full night, it still came out short, and it ran out quickly.

With the Kia we didn’t have to charge it up at all, and it used a very quiet a comfortable engine to power the vehicle. The overall fuel consumption was only fractionally below that of the Volt, so for all the effort of the Volt, the return on investment is actually quite limited. I am not going out of my way to find an actual EV charging station that happens to actually be somewhere accurately indicated on the vast amount of false listings. The stress and frustration of those experiences you won’t get here. This is a very simple solution which works.

Now if they could match it with a proper paint quality I would still think this older model is very highly recommended.

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