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The Optima Hybrid has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Fusion Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The Optima Hybrid EX offers an optional Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Fusion Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.
Both the Optima Hybrid and the Fusion 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Optima Hybrid its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fusion Hybrid was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.
The Optima Hybrid comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Fusion Hybrid’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima Hybrid 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Fusion Hybrid. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Fusion Hybrid ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
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 Optima Hybrid’s reliability 25 points higher than the Fusion Hybrid.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fourth.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 13 places higher in reliability than Ford.
The Optima Hybrid’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 4 more horsepower (192 vs. 188) than the Fusion Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
On the EPA test cycle the Optima Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Fusion Hybrid CVT (40 city/45 hwy vs. 43 city/41 hwy).
The Optima Hybrid has 1.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Fusion Hybrid (15.9 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Optima Hybrid’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Fusion Hybrid:
The Optima Hybrid’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Fusion Hybrid are solid, not vented.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Hybrid is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Fusion Hybrid.
For better maneuverability, the Optima Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Fusion Hybrid’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).
The front grille of the Optima Hybrid uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Fusion Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Optima Hybrid has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.2 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, .3 inches more front shoulder room and 1.6 inches more rear hip room than the Fusion Hybrid.
The Optima Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the Fusion Hybrid (13.4 vs. 12 cubic feet).
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Optima Hybrid’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Fusion Hybrid doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Optima Hybrid uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Fusion Hybrid uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The Optima Hybrid’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Fusion Hybrid’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Optima Hybrid’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Fusion Hybrid’s headlights are rated “Poor.”
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Optima Hybrid offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Fusion Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Optima Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Ford only offers heated mirrors on the Fusion Hybrid SEL/Titanium.
When the Optima Hybrid with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Fusion Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Optima Hybrid has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Fusion Hybrid doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Optima Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Fusion Hybrid isn't recommended.
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