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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 Corolla Hybrid only offers a rear monitor.
The Optima Hybrid’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Optima Hybrid’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Optima Hybrid and the Corolla 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, rearview cameras and driver alert monitors.
The Kia Optima Hybrid weighs 446 pounds more than the Toyota Corolla Hybrid. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.
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 55 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Corolla Hybrid has not been tested, yet.
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 Corolla 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 Toyota covers the Corolla 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 Corolla Hybrid ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.
The Optima Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 71 more horsepower (192 vs. 121) and 165 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 106) than the Corolla Hybrid’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
The Optima Hybrid has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Corolla Hybrid (15.9 vs. 11.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Optima Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Corolla 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 Corolla Hybrid are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Optima Hybrid has larger tires than the Corolla Hybrid (215/55R17 vs. 195/65R15).
The Optima Hybrid’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Corolla Hybrid’s standard 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Optima Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Corolla Hybrid.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Optima Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.1 inches longer than on the Corolla Hybrid (110.4 inches vs. 106.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Hybrid is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Corolla Hybrid.
The design of the Kia Optima Hybrid amounts to more than styling. The Optima Hybrid has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .24 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Corolla Hybrid (.28) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Optima Hybrid get better fuel mileage.
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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Optima Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Optima Hybrid a Mid-size car, while the Corolla Hybrid is rated a Compact.
The Optima Hybrid has 16.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Corolla Hybrid (104.8 vs. 88.6).
The Optima Hybrid has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, 3 inches more front hip room, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more rear legroom, 12.1 inches more rear hip room and 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Corolla Hybrid.
The Optima Hybrid has a larger trunk than the Corolla Hybrid (13.4 vs. 13.1 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 Corolla 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 Corolla 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.
When two different drivers share the Optima Hybrid, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Optima Hybrid’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.
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 Corolla Hybrid’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Optima Hybrid’s standard rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.
The Optima Hybrid has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Corolla Hybrid.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the Optima Hybrid keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Optima Hybrid’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Optima Hybrid’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Optima Hybrid and the Corolla Hybrid offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Optima Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Optima Hybrid’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Corolla Hybrid’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
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 Corolla Hybrid doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Optima Hybrid and the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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