Is the 2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid a Good Car?

The 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is a great all-around choice for a PHEV that won’t leave you with empty pockets.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Jul 15, 2022
When the time comes to purchase a hybrid car that can get you to your destination with remarkable efficiency, style, and comfort, the 2017
Kia Optima
Plug-in Hybrid is a clear-cut winner.
Amazing fuel economy, superior aerodynamic styling, and driver-centric efficiency features all set the 2017 Kia Optima apart from its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) competitors. With an original MSRP of $36,105, you can pick one up today for an average of $24,990. 
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2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid

The 2017 Kia Optima is a plug-in hybrid sedan (also available as a standard hybrid or all-gas vehicle) that doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not—it’s simply a practical choice for the environmentally conscious consumer.
If you want all the frills and next-level tech, you’re better off looking elsewhere—the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid shines in its accessibility to the average Joe. 

Pricing

The original MSRP of $36,105 was an average price for a PHEV in 2017, but today you can pick up a 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid for far less. The average price of a 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is $24,990—a price that certainly won’t break the bank, especially when you consider the overall cost of ownership with gasoline factored in.
Don’t forget that PHEVs are eligible for a
federal tax credit
as thanks for thinking of the environment with your hybrid vehicle!

Performance and fuel economy

The 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid has a 2.0-L inline-four and six-speed automatic transmission engine @ 154 hp. Its highlight is the high-voltage electric oil pump, which replaces the traditional two pumps seen in a standard hybrid. In other words, the gasoline engine’s efficiency is maximized!
The fuel economy for gasoline alone is 40 mpg, which more than doublesto103 mpg when you combine gasoline with electric. The 2017 Optima plug-in hybrid can operate for short amounts of time as an all-electric vehicle with a range of 29 miles. Its total range between electric and gasoline is a whopping 610 miles in total
A crucial aspect to consider when purchasing a PHEV is battery charging time. Looking to primarily operate your Optima in electric mode? It takes four to five hours to charge the battery, which is slightly lower than the standard of five to six hours. 
Most importantly, what’s it like to drive a 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid? You certainly won’t win any drag races in it with a sluggish 0-to-60 time of 8.0 seconds, but it provides a smooth, comfortable ride that’s more than adequate for errands around town or long car trips.

Exterior styling

Again, the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid isn’t seeking to reinvent the wheel when it comes to styling. From the outside, it looks like a typical sedan, but it boasts a couple of updated aerodynamic features, like a front grille that closes once you reach a certain speed.
Like any other typical sedan, you can find the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid in four colors: silver, black, blue, and white.

Interior and comfort

The 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid has a luxurious feeling interior for the price point with leather upholstery throughout the cabin. Don’t be fooled though—there’s still a lot of plastic in the cabin, which leaves a lot to be desired from an environmental standpoint.
One area in which the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid falls behind is the cargo space. The trunk offers a measly 9.89 cubic feet for storage.

Technology

If your car needs to come loaded with technology, you might want to look elsewhere. That’s not to say the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is a dinosaur, though! It comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen display that supports smartphone integration and has built-in navigation
A rear camera comes standard on the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid, but you’ll have to find a model that features an upgraded package to get the best of driver assist technology. If you can locate a model with the Technology package, you’ll enjoy:
  • Blind spot detection
  • Rear parking assist
  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning system
  • LED headlights with bending light
  • High beam assist

Warranty coverage

You’ll probably struggle to find a brand-new 2017 Kia Optima Plug-in hybrid that still has the original warranty intact, but you might get lucky. 
Kia offers a generous warranty with the following included:
  • Limited warranty of five years or 60,000 miles (this is probably expired at the time of writing)
  • Powertrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles
Unfortunately, the battery warranty Kia offers only lasts three years. That means any purchase of a 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid won’t include a battery warranty.

Trim levels and options

The 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is only available in one trim level: the EX trim. Thankfully, this is a nice trim to have! If you’re hoping to add a few more features to your ride, look for one that has the optional Technology package. You’ll get all the driver assist technologies we talked about earlier as well as additional features that include:
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Rear side-window sun shades
  • Heated rear outboard seat cushions
The digital instrument display is the main feature that makes you feel like you’re driving a modern PHEV. Overall, the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid doesn’t wow us with its interior options, but it offers solid choices that will enhance your ride comfort.

The bottom line

The 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is an excellent choice when it comes to affordable PHEVs. It’s not the top choice for a fancy all-electric ride, and neither does it pack a serious punch when it comes to engine power—but it delivers on the essential elements of a comfortable, reliable ride with a few touches of elegance and class. 

2017 Kia Optima PHEV vs. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

The top rival to the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is the
Toyota Prius Prime
. How do these two compare? 
When it comes to fuel economy, the Toyota Prius Prime is unbeatable: 54 mpg combined and an impressive 133 mpg with gas and electric combined. However, it has a lower electric-only driving range of 20 miles. Not to mention it’s more expensive than a Kia Optima PHEV with an average used price of $27,990
It’s hard to break a die-hard Toyota fan away from the Prius Prime, but if you’re not a loyalist, you’d be better off with a Kia Optima PHEV.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid
$24,990
40 mpg
103 MPGe
29 miles
4 hours
3 years
2017 Toyota Prius Prime
$27,990
54 mpg
133 MPGe
20 miles
5 hours
8 years or 150,000 miles
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2017 Kia Optima PHEV vs. 2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Another choice to consider for Kia Optima PHEV competitors is the
Chevrolet Bolt
, which costs around $23,872 today.
Again we see the 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid fall behind in fuel efficiency: the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt gets 42 mpg with gasoline only and 106 mpg with gas and electric combined. It’s also less expensive today, which can be a major selling point for the thrifty consumer. 
However, the Chevrolet Bolt falls behind in technology and comfort—it doesn’t even offer power seats for any trim level! Consumers with technology on the brain will want to opt for a 2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid over the Chevrolet Bolt.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid
$24,990
40 mpg
103 MPGe
29 miles
4 hours
3 years
2017 Chevrolet Bolt
$23,872
42 mpg
106 MPGe
53 miles
4.5 hours
8 years or 100,000 miles

How to save money on car insurance

You’re already saving money on fuel costs by purchasing a plug-in hybrid—why stop saving there? One of the
biggest car-related expenses
is car insurance, and you can save an average of $800 per year or more
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