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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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To help make backing safer, the Optima Plug-In 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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning 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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard 911 Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model 3 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 Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Model 3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 and available around view monitors.
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 Model 3’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Optima Plug-In Hybrid 2 years longer than Tesla covers the Model 3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Model 3 ends after only 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and 50,000 miles longer than the Model 3’s (5/100,000 vs. 4/50,000).
There are over 12 times as many Kia dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s warranty.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 14 places higher in reliability than Tesla.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full charge and a full tank of fuel is 666 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model 3’s range is only 220 to 310 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 8 hours and 30 minutes for only a 45% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas.
In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Model 3.
For better maneuverability, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Model 3’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The front grille of the Optima Plug-In 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 Model 3 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
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 Model 3 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 7.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Model 3 (104.8 vs. 97).
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has .2 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front hip room, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear legroom, 3.6 inches more rear hip room and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model 3.
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 Model 3 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
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. An easy entry system costs extra on the Model 3.
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 Model 3 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. Tesla charges extra for heated mirrors on the Model 3.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Model 3’s power mirror controls are embedded in the infotainment system, seriously distracting drivers who have to adjust them while driving.
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 Model 3 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Model 3 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Tesla Model 3, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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