2019 Toyota Prius Prime vs. 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Prius Prime Advanced has standard Intelligent Clearance Sonar to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The Prius Prime’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Prius Prime Advanced has standard Safety Connect™, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Prius Prime and the Optima Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Prius Prime’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Prius Prime for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Prius Prime’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Prius Prime’s reliability 26 points higher than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid:

 

 

Prius

Optima

 

 

Running on electricity (MPGe)

145 city/121 hwy

103 city/104 hwy

 

 

Running gasoline engine

55 city/53 hwy

38 city/43 hwy

 

Transmission

The Prius Prime has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Prius Prime’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s (33.4 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Prius Prime may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 pounds less than the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

The Prius Prime is 8.2 inches shorter than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid, making the Prius Prime easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (19.8 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Prius Prime’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

The Prius Prime’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics

The Prius Prime Advanced has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Prius Prime Advanced has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Prius Prime’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Prius Prime Advanced’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Prius Prime Advanced’s Intelligent Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Toyota Prius Prime and the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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