Is the 2020 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid a Good Car?

The 2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid is a solid yet unremarkable option for a Plug-in Hybrid sedan.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you want a family-friendly sedan that’s a plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV), then the 2020
Kia Optima PHEV
will deliver, but not quite as well as some of its rivals.  
It may not win any awards for styling, and there are more efficient hybrid sedans out there, but there’s nothing really wrong with the 2020 Kia Optima PHEV. With a roomy interior, a generous amount of standard tech and safety features, and a solid warranty, the Optima was always at the top end of the list for midsize sedans of 2020, but never quite landed at number one. 
Want to learn more? Read on for all the specs of the 2020 Kia Optima PHEV brought to you by
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2020 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid

First things first: it’s a four-door family sedan. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re looking for the flashiest design, the most exhilarating hybrid driving experience, or the potential for off-road adventures, the Optima won’t be the car for you. 
If however, you’re looking for value, comfort, and fuel economy, then it’s worth your time to take a look! 


The new 2020 Optima PHEVs started at $36,090. Today, a used one will run you between $31,811 and $36,311. Considering that new cars typically depreciate around 20% in their first year alone, the 2020 Optimas have held onto their value well. 
If you’re purchasing a used hybrid, you, unfortunately, won’t be able to qualify for any federal rebates or incentives at the point of sale. That being said, you’ll see savings down the road when it comes to your fuel costs. 

Performance and fuel economy

The Optima PHEV has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine combined with a single electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission. While not the best in its class, the Optima gets respectable fuel economy. According to the EPA, you can get 41 mpg on gas alone, or 101 MPGe on gas and electric combined. 
As a plug-in hybrid, the Optima PHEV is capable of operating for short periods in all-electric mode. You can go up to 28 miles on electricity alone, which is a respectable figure in comparison to others. 
Charging time is a quick 2.7 hours on a Level 2 charger, and getting a full charge on a standard Level 1 outlet will take around 9 hours. This will allow for plenty of flexibility, whether it’s plugging in for a quick top-off between errands or knowing that you can plug your Optima in when you come home and wake up to a full battery. 
The Optima didn’t win any prizes for its driving experience, but that’s not really why one buys a family sedan. It’s not the fastest or the most thrilling, but the handling is steady and the powertrain is certainly capable enough.
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Exterior styling

Critics did like the Optima’s handsome yet modest exterior design. It doesn’t look like a hybrid at first glance, and only the plug-in outlet and the exterior badging denote it as such. For folks who want a hybrid that looks like it could blend in easily with the gasoline-only crowd, the Optima will satisfy. 

Interior and comfort

The interior comfort was a high point for the Optima PHEV, with its roomy design and upscale touches. The headroom was adequate for tall people to sit in the back, and the interior materials are solid for the segment.
The Optima PHEV does lose some big points for its lack of trunk space. The battery takes up a good portion of it, leaving a mere 10 cubic feet in which to stash your extra baggage. 


Kia was quite generous with the technology and safety specs on the Optima PHEV, with standard features like:
  • Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking 
  • Driver drowsiness monitor
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were also standard, and adding on the Technology Package brought goodies like ventilated seats, high beam assist, a panoramic sunroof, and additional adjustability and comfort to the front seats. 

Warranty coverage

Kia offers competitive warranty coverage on all their vehicles, and this includes their hybrids. When purchased new, the warranty for the original owner of a 2020 Kia Optima PHEV included: 
  • Limited powertrain warranty: ten years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Limited basic warranty: five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Hybrid system warranty: ten years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)
Five years of Kia’s included roadside assistance also came standard. A unique perk of buying a used Kia is that, when sold, the limited powertrain warranty does transfer to the new owner — although it drops to five years and 60,000 miles. 

Trim levels and options

The Optima PHEV was only available in the higher-end EX trim level, which meant that you can expect to see a nice assortment of features in a used 2020 Optima PHEV, including heated and highly adjustable seats and a heated steering wheel. The only extra available package was the aforementioned Technology Package
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The bottom line

The 2020 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid is a fine choice for an affordable sedan PHEV. Mileage is not the best in its class, but it's still respectable. Kia has a solid reputation for reliability, and many reviewers considered the Optima to be one of the better sedans of 2020. 
If there was a big downside to the 2020 Optima PHEV, it would have to be its trunk space (or lack thereof). But depending on how much stuff you need to stow, that may or may not be a deal-breaker for you. 

2020 Kia Optima PHEV vs. 2020 Toyota Prius Prime

Wondering how the Optima measures up against the big player in the field… the
Toyota Prius Prime
? Let’s have a quick peek: 
The Prius Prime bests the Optima PHEV in just about every category — including mileage and charging time. It’s also worth noting that the Prius Prime has almost double the trunk space, with 19.8 cubic feet.
Price range
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2020 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid
$31,811 to $36,090
41 mpg
101 MPGe
28 miles
2.7 hours
10 years
2020 Toyota Prius Prime
$27,874 to $40,888
54 mpg
133 MPGe
25 miles
2 hours
10 years or 150,000 miles

2020 Kia Optima PHEV vs. 2020 Hyundai Ioniq

Another major competitor for the 2020 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid was the
Hyundai Ioniq
Again, the Optima is edged out. The Kia’s specs are respectable, mind you — it’s just that the competition’s specs are better. 
Hyundai offers a lifetime warranty on its hybrid battery for the original owner, which is something that no other manufacturer does. And not to pile on a sore spot, but the Ioniq’s trunk space? A friendly 23 cubic feet.
Price range
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2020 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid
$31,811 to $36,09
41 mpg
101 MPGe
28 miles
2.7 hours
10 years
2020 Hyundai Ioniq
$26,330 to $33,300
52 mpg
119 MPGe
29 miles
2.3 hours
Lifetime (original owner)

How to save money on car insurance

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