2020 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2019 Chevrolet Volt

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/02/17

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Volt doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Optima Plug-In 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 Volt doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’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 Volt doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Volt have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available around view 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 Plug-In Hybrid its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 59 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Volt has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Volt’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima Plug-In Hybrid 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Chevrolet covers the Volt. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Volt ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s reliability 27 points higher than the Volt.

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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 16 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 53 more horsepower (202 vs. 149) than the Volt’s 1.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 5.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Volt (14.5 vs. 8.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Volt (3 to 7). This means the Optima Plug-In Hybrid produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Volt every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Volt:

Optima

Volt

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

10 inches

The Optima Plug-In 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 Volt are solid, not vented.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Volt has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Volt’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Optima Plug-In Hybrid flat and controlled during cornering. The Volt’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the Volt (110.4 inches vs. 106.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Volt.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the Volt’s (58.5% to 41.5%). This gives the Optima Plug-In Hybrid more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Volt’s (35.8 feet vs. 36.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Volt doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Optima Plug-In Hybrid a Mid-size car, while the Volt is rated a Compact.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 14.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Volt (104.8 vs. 90.3).

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 2 inches more front headroom, 3.4 inches more front legroom, 2.3 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 2 inches more rear headroom, .9 inches more rear legroom, 4.7 inches more rear hip room and 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Volt.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Volt doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Volt 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.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the Optima Plug-In Hybrid, the 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 Volt doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Volt doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Volt’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Volt doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet charges extra for heated mirrors on the Volt.

When the Optima Plug-In Hybrid 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 Volt’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Optima Plug-In Hybrid keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Volt doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the Volt.

The Optima Plug-In 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 Volt doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Volt offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Volt doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Optima Plug-In Hybrid will retain 32.28% of its original price after five years, while the Volt only retains 25.02% to 27.06%.

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 2020/02/17

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

The Kia Optima outsold the Chevrolet Volt by almost 20 to one during 2019.

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