2016 Kia Optima Hybrid : Winner of the WOW factor!

“WOW” was the first expression that came to mind when I first test drove the 2016 Kia Optima EX Hybrid.  The gracefully aggressive looking exterior is tamed by the luxurious and sporty interior.  A Double-WOW is experienced once you find out all the exciting features hardly mentioned at the dealership, and end up being a super-surprising experience once you find them out, by happenstance.

Now, for the Nitty Gritty of the 2016 Kia Optima EX Hybrid


2016 Kia Optima Front Headlights

The 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid has a very elegant, classy and equally mean and aggressive look.  Particularly the EX model with the piercing headlights, this Optima demands attention when it shows up in your rearview mirror.

Added to the recent versions of the 2011-2016 Optima body styles, the headlights are crowned by the upward curved LED Daylight running lights.  Just having those lights on alone make the car look even meaner, resembling frowning eyebrows.

The fog lights on the upper trims (EX / SX) add to the sportiness of the bumper, especially the ones with the 4 LED lights seen in the image.


When the redesigned Optima came to market, it caught everyone by surprise.  The boring collection of metal (pre-2011 Kia Optima models) transformed into the aggressive and sexy beast, thanks to Kia’s smart decisions to hire some kick-ass car designers.

One of the design elements that really struck a fancy and made the Kia Optima stand out was the curved tail light… at least that’s what made me notice the Kia Optima and develop a crush ( on the upper trims and the hybrids, to be specific)

Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed when, starting from the 2014 model, they filled in the gap left by the upward curve, which was the best part of the tail light.  However, the more I saw the new tail lights, especially at night lit with the LED lights, my love affair renewed (so much so that I ended up leasing a 2016 Kia Optima EX Hybrid!).

Kia optima Tail Light Comparison


2016 Kia Optima Hybrid InteriorThe interior of the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid (EX) far exceeds many of its competitors, and even matches up with luxury brands in such as BMW, Lexus, Infinity. 

The leather seats are inviting, sporty and comfortable.  The middle armrest is wide and big enough to be a real “armrest”.

The interior ambient lighting was a very enjoyable discovery which makes nighttime driving a thrilling experience.

The 2016 Kia Optima’s dashboard centerpiece is a very useful and easily accessible infotainment system, which includes the Kia UVO.  Coupled with Android Auto / Apply Carplay, this system becomes a top-notch copilot.

Kia designers have done a superb job on the visual comfort and appeal of the instrument cluster.  The fuel, car temperature, and hybrid battery gauges are lights instead of manual dials, which really makes a great impact and impression of high-tech! 

I’m still perplexed as to those same designers reverted back to the old style dials in the newer models of Kia…

why ruin a good thing Kia???  See my review of the 2017 Kia Sportage where I mention the same issue

Having dual temperature control is a great plus, and help avoid driver/passenger disagreements on long trips 🙂  The dials are a good size, nicely colored and smooth to turn.  Equally helpful in avoiding arguments is the Seat Memory feature, when it comes to multiple drivers.

The Start button is Sexy!  Equally sexy are the “Eco” and “Communication” paddles at the bottom of the steering wheels buttons.

The steering wheel has almost everything you would need for a hands-free drive.  Kia designers have done a good job of having safety in mind.

Finally, once you are comfortably situated in the cockpit, you can enjoy the thrilling ride with the soundtrack of your favorite tunes emanating crystal clear from the Infinity speakers throughout the interior


2016 Kia Optima Exciting FeaturesNow for the exciting features.

  1. Android Auto – Even though the EX trim comes with factory navigation, I use Android Auto all the time.  Traffic information and trip estimates are much more accurate than the factory navigation system.
  2. Auto Hold – immensely enjoyable when stopped at a red light: you can move your foot off the brake pedal while the car brakes for you (if activated).  I know it’s a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but its existence really raised the car’s value perspective.
  3. Heat Warmers – Front Seats (individual – multi-level)
  4. Heat Warmers – Back Seat (indivudla – very nice surprise)
  5. Heat Coolers – Front Seats (individual – multi-level)
  6. Interior Ambient Lighting – Gorgeous amber color lighting brings a soothing ambiance to the interior of the car, highlighted by the super-awesome accents at the bottom of the doors, the area in front of the transmission stick (where the USBs are) and the periphery of the cupholders (very very cool!)
    AND, Finally, the most exciting and coolest feature….drum roll…
  7. Self-Folding Sideview Mirrors – They automatically unfold when you approach the car with your key, and fold when you lock and walk away from the car.  So awesome, and makes you look very cool! 
IN CONCLUSION – 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX

2016 Kia Optima HybridWhen I drew cars in my younger days, some of my favorite and most-proud-of designs looked like the 2016 Kia Optima, which is why I was very attracted to this model and ended up leasing one. 

I can’t say enough good things about the 2016 Kia Optima.  It’s a sexy looking car, with great technology, exciting features, and overall, such great value for its price that makes Lexus and BMW owners think twice

Leave a Reply