Like its sister vehicle, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Optima Hybrid combines a 30-kilowatt electric motor with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder to produce a combined 206 hp. The transmission-mounted motor works with a six-speed automatic rather than the electrically variable transmissions most hybrids employ. The Optima Hybrid can cruise on electric-only power under light acceleration and sufficient battery charge. For pedestrian awareness, the Optima emits simulated engine noise when the car is moving on electric power alone.
The electric motor draws power from a lithium-polymer battery that's mounted behind the rear seat; consequently, the backseat forgoes a 60/40-split folding arrangement for a center pass-through. Overall trunk volume falls to 9.9 cubic feet. That's a considerable drop from the non-hybrid Optima's 15.4 cubic feet, but it's typical of a hybrid sedan: The Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid each sacrifice about 30 percent of trunk volume versus their non-hybrid equivalents.
Visual changes amount to a hybrid badge in back, aerodynamic 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels, minor differences to the grille and front lights, and a small rear trunk spoiler. Aerodynamic enhancements include lower bumper extensions and a slight reduction in ride height. All told, the Optima Hybrid looks far more like the regular Optima than the Sonata Hybrid does a Sonata.
Standard features include a power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and keyless access with push-button start. Heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof, a navigation system and a backup camera are optional.