Kia Optima K5 Hybrid-08

Kia has launched a hybrid version of its new fourth-gen Optima in South Korea, where it’s simply known as the K5 Hybrid.

There are two K5 looks for the domestic market – modern MX and sporty SX – and the Hybrid is based on the former, identifiable by the triple LED fog lamp cluster. The vertical air intake is cleaner and comes without partitions.

The most distinctive exterior feature here are the active air flaps which replaces the standard studded grille. The two flaps can close at higher speeds for better aerodynamics. Unique 16- and 17-inch wheels are also aero designed. Inside, the regular tachometer has been replaced by a hybrid charge-eco-power dial.

The Optima K5 Hybrid is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0 litre GDI engine with 156 PS and 189 Nm of torque. Its partner is an electric motor that pushes out 52 PS and 205 Nm – both power sources are hooked up to a six-speed automatic transmission unique to the hybrid.

The hybrid powertrain is shared with the latest YF generation Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which we first saw nearly a year ago. 17.5 km/l is the fuel consumption figure advertised by Kia.

Hybrid bits aside, the big sedan also comes with an UVO 2.0 connectivity system (hybrid-specific graphics can be called up), front passenger seat buttons located next to the driver (Camry style), electronic parking brake, seat ventilation/heater and rear window blinds, among other things.

Unveiled in April at the New York show, check out the US-spec Optima and the Euro-spec sedan, which will have a 245 PS GT variant. A wagon version based on the fetching Sportspace concept is on the cards, but not a convertible, we hope.