2019 Volkswagen e-Golf vs. 2019 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The e-Golf has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The e-Golf SEL Premium has standard Maneuver Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The e-Golf SEL Premium has standard Park Distance Control 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 e-Golf has standard Car-Net, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, 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 e-Golf and the Optima Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The e-Golf’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the e-Golf gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity (126 city/111 hwy vs. 103 city/104 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the e-Golf gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running its gasoline engine (126 city/111 hwy MPGe vs. 38 city/43 hwy).

The e-Golf’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 125 miles on a full charge. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid can only travel about 29 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen e-Golf higher (10 out of 10) than the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid (7). This means the e-Golf produces up to 11.8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid every 15,000 miles.

Tires and Wheels

The e-Golf has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Chassis

The Volkswagen e-Golf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 pounds less than the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

The e-Golf is 1 foot, 11 inches shorter than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid, making the e-Golf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The e-Golf has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (22.8 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the e-Golf’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 e-Golf’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics

The e-Golf 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 e-Golf’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.

If the windows are left open on the e-Golf the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows with the driver’s door power window switch. The driver of the Optima Plug-In Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The e-Golf’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the e-Golf has a standard rear wiper. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The e-Golf SEL Premium’s Parking Steering Assistant 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

The Golf was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Golf as their 2015 Car of the Year. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has never been chosen.

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

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