Kia tries to lower its CO2 emissions by 25% until 2020. A first step in this direction is the launch of the new Optima PHEV, the company’s first plug-in hybrid model.

The Optima PHEV combines a 154 bhp 2.0-litre direct injection petrol engine with a 50 kW (67 bhp) electric motor powered by a 9.8kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack. The electric motor replaces the torque converter in the six-speed automatic transmission. When working together, the combustion engine and motor generate 202bhp and 375Nm of torque.

A package of aerodynamic, styling and technology features contributes towards the Optima PHEV’s low CO2 emissions and potential fuel economy of up to 176.6 mpg. The most significant aerodynamic change is an active air flap grille which lowers the car’s drag co-efficient (Cd) to 0.25 when closed. 

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The integration of the batteries behind the rear seat and in the spare wheel well, along with a 15-litre reduction in the car’s petrol tank, means the Optima PHEV is still able to offer 307 litres of luggage space.

Inside there is a multimedia system, including an 8.0-inch touch-screen navigation system with European mapping, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom, a wireless mobile phone charger, a 270 degree around-view monitor and a 10-speaker harman/kardon Premium Sound audio system with Clari-Fi technology to restore the sound lost when digital music files are heavily compressed. Active safety provisions include Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management and Hill-start Assist Control. 

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With a range of up to 33 miles in all-electric mode, the Optima PHEV is able to complete regular urban commuter runs with no tailpipe emissions, while its CO2 figure of just 37 g/km means can benefit taxation.

Speaking of money, Kia says that its 2017 Optima PHEV is priced at £31,495 after taking into account the Government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant.