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Kia's all-new Optima is about to hit dealers with a starting price of $18,995 and now Kia has unveiled the hybrid version of the Optima, the third Optima model. Kia's all-new Optima is about to hit dealers with a starting price of $18,995 and now Kia has unveiled the hybrid version of the Optima, the third Optima model.
The Optima Hybrid uses the same system as the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which is a 2.4L engine mated to an electric motor that is powered by a lithium polymer battery. Pricing for the Kia Optima Hybrid will be announced closer to its on-sale date, which is early next year. IRVINE, Calif., November 17, 2010 - As the latest model in Kia's design-led transformation, the all-new 2011 Optima midsize sedan lineup expanded today with Kia Motors America's (KMA) introduction of the all-new Optima Hybrid at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The 2011 Optima Hybrid uses a full parallel hybrid system and can be driven in zero emission, full-electric drive mode at speeds up to 62 miles per hour or in blended gas-electric mode at any speed. The 2011 Optima Hybrid's outstanding efficiency is due in large part to the use of a lithium polymer battery, which was developed in South Korea with partner LG Chem. The Optima Hybrid's battery will hold its charge up to 25 percent longer than hybrids with nickel metal hydride batteries, so the battery is more likely to have usable energy available even if it has not been in use.
Unlike most current systems on the market, the Optima Hybrid powertrain is configured with a unique architecture. The Optima Hybrid also is among the first full hybrid systems on the market to use a typical step-ratio automatic transmission. One of the main benefits of the hybrid electric powertrain provides is the capability to recover energy lost during braking and store it for use during acceleration and cruising, so when the brake pedal is applied, the engine is decoupled from the traction motor and gives no drag on the vehicle. The Optima Hybrid uses an electronically controlled brake system to determine the driver's braking needs based on the degree of pedal application, which is then converted to a total brake torque requirement. Like all other 2011 Optimas, the hybrid uses an Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) system that instantly provides boost and only when it is needed during steering maneuvers. The Optima Hybrid also features an electrically-driven air conditioning compressor so that climate control can be maintained even when the engine is off. Taking advantage of the instant and continuously available torque from the electric motor, Kia engineers modified its popular 2.4-liter Theta II engine to operate on an Atkinson cycle, raising the compression ratio by 20 percent to maximize its efficiency and achieving a 10-percent fuel saving over a regular Theta engine. With the Optima also weighing in as one of the lightest cars in the segment, high performance and outstanding fuel efficiency are a natural result. Beyond the Optima Hybrid's innovative powertrain, Kia's engineers addressed all aspects of vehicle efficiency including aerodynamics and rolling resistance. The end result of the Optima Hybrid's highly-efficient powertrain, low-rolling resistance tires, and clean aerodynamic signature is truly exceptional highway fuel efficiency, the best of any mid-size hybrid sedan in the market. In addition to offering consumers class-leading fuel economy, the 2011 Optima Hybrid also delivers high level of style, comfort and refinement. The 2011 Optima Hybrid also offers a Premium Technology Package, key features include a panoramic sunroof, unique 17-inch alloy wheel design, four-way power adjustable front passenger's seat, driver's seat memory, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, HID headlamps with automatic leveling, leatherette-wrapped center fascia, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelinka„? and compass, a navigation system with back-up camera and SIRIUS Traffica„?1, and an eight-speaker InfinityA®2 audio system. The 2011 Optima Hybrid is equipped with a high level of standard safety features, as is the rest of the entire Kia line-up. The entire 2011 Optima lineup is covered by KMA's warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Kia Motors is in the midst of a dramatic, design-led transformation, which has been delivering dynamically styled vehicles in several important segments at exactly the right time, contributing to the brand's continued gains in U.S. Set to go on sale in March 2009, the Soul will be available with four different equipment levels (Soul Base, Soul+, Soul! In spite of low starting price tag, entry level Kia Soul comes equipped with 1,6L gasoline engine, 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, power windows and door locks, auxiliary audio input jacks, solar glas, 15-inch steel wheels with cowers.
The next trim level, the Soul + ads goodies such as Bluetooth hands-free kit, electric powered outside mirrors, 16-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels, disc brakes on all “corners”, keyless entry and cruise control, while the top of the trim levels, the Soul! Once on sale in US, Kia Soul will also have a wide range of different accessories that were developed especially for the Soul crossover!
I guess Scion and Nissan will have some trouble selling their “4-wheeled boxes” in 2009! Some dealers are already taking pre-orders and I’m wondering how many buyers have already aplied! We had a pre-order list of about 20 people who are interested in buying the Soul, so far we have 3 actual deposits but that will rise once people start coming in to look at it.
Get ready rumor in Kia Dealerships is that the lights on the speakers are not coming to the US, if that is true that will be BS im sorry but it is.
Well, the cee’d weighs more than SOul and has the same 1,6L engine, with same hp rating and it delievers a respectable performance. I will have to disagree with some who might say that Nissan and Scion might have trouble selling the Cube and Xb. Well, I think that Kia has the advantage of people 40+, those kind of people are young at heart, but too mature for the Cube.
Never said that reputaion was the #1 factor, what I said is that a lot of people tend to go with a reputable car company, I never said that was the only factor that is just what I based my OPINION on. This is some good reading material that I found that backs up the point I have been trying to get across. Hyundai and Kia, owned by the same South Korean conglomerate, are investing heavily in the USA.
Yet having reached fourth and seventh places respectively among import brands, Hyundai and Kia have caught the attention of Japan’s Big 3 — Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Rival automakers have watched Hyundai and Kia rise from niche purveyors of tinny, problem-plagued cars to world-class automakers sporting full lines. It does not matter if it is a older news article (petty point that this is an old article) my point is shown and I am sorry, these people do this for a living and know more about this than anybody on this site. How old do you think this story is and it does not matter how old it is (you act like it is ancient and it is not that old), the point is KIA has not grown much more than when this news story was put out there, the fact still remains KIA is still a new car company and they are still building their reputation, you comment as if they have established themselves (to be up there with the big dogs) since this article came out and so this is not a factor anymore. Like I said before I could bring up accomplishments that surpass things that KIA has accomplished not just from Nissan either.
Hey, they are both really good cars, I guess they are really worth the debate; hope I can get my hands on both the Soul and the Cube!

In complete contrast to its Geneva Show co-stars, the Kia SOUL Searcher is the car that provides a haven of tranquillity within the urban jungle, a comfort-zone on four wheels.
The colours are muted, the textures are soft and the road presence is discreet,” states Guillaume. SOUL Searcher is painted in pale green-grey solid paint, with body-cladding and added parts in a lighter pale cream.
The unique design motif for SOUL Searcher is a street map, an abstraction that is not city-specific but one that simplifies the complexity of urban road networks and banishes all sense of pandemonium. Overall, the cabin ambience of SOUL Searcher, like that of SOUL Diva, is one of domesticity – albeit of a very different nature to its Geneva co-star. It will be good with 1.6 ltr turbo diesel, 6 speed manual or 5 speed auto, all wheel drive.
With a stunning design, roomy interior, and an estimated 40 mpg class-leading fuel efficiency, Kia's first-ever hybrid in the U.S. When the car comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine shuts off to completely eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions. The power and energy density of this new battery type allowed Kia engineers to create a lighter and more compact battery pack, with the 30 kilowatt battery pack weighing just 95.9 pounds - 28 pounds less than the 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid's nickel metal hydride pack - which aids fuel economy and also helps to maximize Optima's cargo space. Both fuel consumption and emissions are cut, allowing more electric starts and drive-aways. Compared to the power-split hybrid systems found on vehicles from Toyota or Ford, the Optima Hybrid uses a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive (TMED) layout with the electric motor separated from the transmission gear-set.
The extremely compact six-speed automatic that debuted on the 2011 Kia Sorento CUV is carried over to the hybrid largely unchanged.
This replaces the torque converter, with a multi-disc clutch is fitted between the engine and motor, enabling the gasoling engine to be de-coupled from the powertrain for idle stop and electric drive modes.
This 8.5 kilowatt starter motor-generator is belt-driven off the Theta II engine and operates at the same 270 volts as the electric traction motor and the lithium polymer battery, but does not provide any tractive effort to the vehicle.
The hybrid system control then detects the current level of battery charge, vehicle speed and other conditions to determine how much regenerative braking is possible under current circumstances. Reducing the extra weight compared to an engine-driven hydraulic assist, the EPAS is independent of the engine and also provides assistance when the engine is not running, such as during idle stop or electric drive mode.
Like electric power steering, the electrically-driven air conditioning compressor allows for more precise on-demand control reducing the overall load on the powertrain, cutting fuel consumption.
This cycle generates a little less torque, but the electric motor compensates for any loss and consequently, the Optima Hybrid's overall power and torque outputs are greater than the regular model.
The lightweight architecture of the new Optima platform, combined with the lightweight lithium polymer battery pack, brings the Optima Hybrid in at just 3,490 pounds, 230 pounds lighter than the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The Optima Hybrid features unique exterior aero refinements, a lower ride height, an active air flap system, lower drag wheels, and underbody aero tuning to reduce drag, while low rolling resistance tires also help increase efficiency. Ensuring Kia's newest addition stands out from the crowd, the hybrid model has unique features to it, including front grille design, 16-inch alloy wheel design, headlamp design, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, chrome accents on exterior door handles, front and rear lower bumpers and side sills, LED tail lamp design and a rear lip spoiler.
Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS), standard on the Optima Hybrid, plays a pre-recorded engine sound during electric-only operation to notify people outside the vehicle that it is approaching. This includes six airbags3 (dual advanced front and front-seat mounted side as well as full-length side curtain), front active headrests, side-impact door beams, height-adjustable front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). In spite of having outstanding levels of roominess, quality and safety, and a dynamics that can take on and beat the finest Y-generation cars from Japan, the diminutive Kia Soul still manages to have a price tag of at least $1,500 lesser compared to it’s rivals from Scion and Nissan.
Standard safety features include 6-airbags, ABS system, tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) and electronic stability Control (ESC). SPeaking of accessories, the Soul will be available with the most comprehensive list of accessories ever developed for any Kia vehicle. The car is really nice just saw it at a dealership in Houston, TX the Korean one atleast could not test drive or turn on but sit and look at it, and there are somethings missing from the list that I saw at the dealer. It is like you saying that because someone can buy a cheap no name brand of shirt from Wal-Mart that it will sell better than a name brand like Polo or Gap Etc. They are adding dealers, introducing an ambitious slate of new vehicles and courting increasingly upscale customers. They now have vehicles designed to fit the needs of just about every customer, from college students to executives. Kia, which has gone from two models in 1999 to nine today, plans at least two more by the end of the decade.
It’s introducing seven models over 24 months, including revamps being unveiled today at the New York Auto Show of the lowest- and highest-end sedans in its lineup. I put it in to show that the reputation factor is not just something I am spouting off about like I do not know what I am talking about, plain and simple concepts, obviously to complex for some to grasp, others just KIA blind and in denial that their car is the best just cause they own a KIA! You discredit other manufacturers that have spent a great many of years obtaining the reputation they have by arguing that KIA is just as reputable as every other Asian import car company out there, let’s be realistic people.
Notice how I speak for all Asian imports and you keep on going about KIA and how much better they are compared to this model and that model, yes my point has been proven. My Sentra has just been paid off and in a little so will my Xterra, I think I will get the Soul first and then finance the cube, another two car payments at the same time, just what I need, but hey, it will definitely be worth it. We also looked to embody both the Chinese Chan (quietude) and Japanese Zen (meditation) and create a calm cocoon for the occupants. A used-leather finish – old, lived-in, much-loved leather – is applied to an inset three-dimensional panel on the bonnet and a panel on the tailgate that protrudes like an extra cargo box. Exuding an air of casual confidence, the haven of tranquillity theme continues inside SOUL Searcher, with old leather-effect finish to the dashboard, door panels and rim of the three-spoke steering wheel. At first it looked a bit bland to me, and I was more of a Burner fan, but the Burner is really agressively styled.
With that improved efficiency, more of the recovered kinetic energy and charging energy from the engine is available to move the car as necessary, which allows the vehicle to provide electric driving assist more often and for a longer period. Offering several advantages, this modular layout includes more efficient powertrain packaging, use of many "off-the-shelf" components such as the existing six-speed automatic transmission found on the 2.4-liter GDI Optima, and reduced engineering investment. An external electrically-driven oil pump also has been added to provide the hydraulic fluid pressure needed to keep the clutches engaged when the vehicle is in idle stop mode.

Employing this layout allows the entire package, including a torsional damper, to fit virtually within the same area as the traditional torque converter. In its place, the HSG is used only to start the engine and then to charge the hybrid battery.
Converting the kinetic energy into electrical energy rather than thermal energy through the friction brakes also reduces the wear on the brake linings so they last longer. The brake control system then receives the maximum regenerative braking level to manage the friction braking torque so that total net torque is equal to the driver's needs. The Optima Hybrid's drag coefficient is an exceptionally low 0.26, among the best in the world. Four-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a Traction Control System (TCS), a Brake Assist System (BAS) and Hill Assist Control (HAC) also are standard. With three new vehicle introductions and several other key initiatives planned for 2010, Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and with new technology such as the soon-to-come UVO powered by MicrosoftA®4 advanced hands-free in-car communication and entertainment system. Those include performance intake, sport springs, short throw shifter, axle back exhaust, front strut tower brace, alloy fuel door, front air dam, different vinyls and others. The Cube will be starting for the same ammount that the Soul would be going for, $13,995.00 the difference is that Nissan has a much longer standing reputation than Kia, no doubt that all three are great cars but consumers will go with reputation a lot of the times rather than taking a chance with a manufacturer that has not been around the block like they have, so to say. I would not look at the situation any differently seeing a 40, 50 or 60 year old in a Soul rather a Cube and in European countries and Asian countries that is not even a factor but rather a means of transportation in crowded communities (small cars like the Cube and Soul).
With a better reputaion comes the view of quality and when you have a car company that has been around a long time that has built that reputaion then people expect quality, when you have a new car company who is still green and building their reputation then some may question the quality because the reputation is not there yet. Hyundai trails only BMW as the fastest-growing car brand, import or domestic, in Autodata’s listings so far this year. Both Hyundai and Kia still lag behind the industry in name recognition — and lots of buyers are still hesitant to take a bet on an unknown.
The brand already has such upscale wheels as the $25,500 Amanti sedan and $25,900 four-wheel-drive Sorento SUV in showrooms.
Next month, it starts selling the new version of its flagship Sonata midsize sedan, which it now considers fully competitive against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Today, the average sale is more than $20,000, says Peter Butterfield, CEO of Kia Motors America. I am looking at the big picture not favoring one Asian import over another, dispute what I am saying if you like it does not changes reality.
Other models from different manufacturer out sell KIA models but do I keep saying that over and over pointing it out, no it is irrelevant to the point that I have been getting across, I don’t care how much KIA outsells other reputable car companies whether her or abroad the fact still remains that they are new and the bottom line is that they have not built a reputation the likes of other import manufacturer (Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi Etc. The seams between panels are on the outside of the seats, creating a small ridge that is slightly raised above the surface, to exaggerate the feel of the material. Set to hit showrooms early next year, the Optima Hybrid employs a Kia-developed powertrain that includes several innovations that enable it to provide exceptional hybrid performance and efficiency. Lithium polymer also has less of the self-discharge characteristic found in most rechargeable batteries.
This also allows for other possible future combinations including the application of more powerful motors and higher capacity batteries. When conditions require emergency stopping or driving on hills, the extra reliance on regenerative braking allows for the brakes to be more effective.
You’re gonna grind gears every time you get behind the wheel of a different stick shift, because each one has different gear ratios. I like the Kia Soul and would like to have one but Nissans have been tried and true for me, I have driven them into the ground and the only reason I get rid of the vehicle is because I want something new (get tired of dirving the same car for years and years) I am sure that the Soul will do well and if they brought the price down to say $11, 995.00 then I am sure that they might do better in sales than Nissan and a lot better than Scion, but to be priced the same as a big manufacturer like Nissan (Cube) who is well established and has a standing reputation, I personally feel that they may have a hard time beating Nissan.
Every time I stopped I thought I had stalled it!I would go to turn it on and hear that awful starter grinding noise. I am 38 and would like both the Nissan Cube and the KIA Soul and it has nothing to do with me being young at heart or too mature, I like them because I like them, both for different reasons. These are simple principles to understand, yes there are a lot of other factors involved but just because the car sell for cheap does not give it a reputaion and therefor does not mean it will sell better (kind of like you all are telling me, cheap prices alone will sell more vehicles? It has set a 15% sales increase in the USA as its 2005 target — and lagged behind its goal by less than a percentage point for the first two months of the year. And 74% of all Hyundai buyers are switching over from another major automaker, Cosmai says. It does not surprise my though that my opinions are crashed upon being I am on a KIA site and any site I have ever been on where others are fanatics and have closed minds (can’t see outside the box) usually respond trying to make everyone that does not agree with them look as if they are wrong and do not know what they are talking about. That means that you clutch at different speeds and RPMs, you need to find each gear’s sweet spot, once you do, you can shift with only a tap of the clutch. My point is proven (read above) not one KIA fan has said something non-biased and agreed that I do have a point. As for us we do our research but for many they do not and sometimes rely on reputation alone. When Hyundai came out their cars were cheap too and their cars were also crap, so you get what you pay for!
Sorry to disappoint by not falsely hyping KIA’s and pointing out info that most KIA fans do not want to hear. The same can be said about Nissan, Honda, Subaru and Mazda, all reputable car companies that have endured and built their reputation, something that KIA and Hyundai are still working on. Hyundai has proven themselves more and KIA is the baby still, both proving that they are good car companies that sell a good product. KIA and Hyundai do so well do to their competitive sales, offering better pricing on models that compete on the same level or above their competitors, without that they would not have done as well as they have. I never said that they sold more cars , but what I did say was that they had built up a reputation. To end this debate I will quote something I had written in a previuos entry “I hope I can get a Nissan Cube and a KIA Soul!

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