2020 BMW i3 vs. 2020 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The i3 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.

Both the i3 and the Optima Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

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The i3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the i3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for tire rotations, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

Reliability

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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 i3’s reliability 14 points higher than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/06

On the EPA test cycle the i3 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity:

MPGe

i3

Electric Motor

124 city/102 hwy

s Electric Motor

124 city/102 hwy

REx Electric Motor

107 city/93 hwy

s REx Electric Motor

107 city/93 hwy

Optima Plug-In Hybrid

MPGe

Electric Motor

103 city/100 hwy

The i3 REx’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 126 miles, four and a half times as far as the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s 28-mile range.

Tires and Wheels

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The i3s’ 195/50R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the i3 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 17-inch wheels are available on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid. The i3 offers optional 20-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the i3’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s (32.4 feet vs. 35.8 feet). The i3s’ turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s (33.8 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

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The BMW i3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 850 pounds less than the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid.

The i3s is 2 feet, 9 inches shorter than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid, making the i3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The i3 has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Optima Plug-In Hybrid (15.1 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the i3’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 i3’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the i3 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Optima Plug-In Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The i3’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 i3 has a standard rear wiper. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The i3’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The i3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park 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

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/04/06

Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW i3 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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