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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 Mirai doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Mirai 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, driver alert monitors 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 Mirai has not been tested, yet.
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 Mirai’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.
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 Plug-In Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 51 more horsepower (202 vs. 151) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (276 vs. 247) than the Mirai’s electric motor.
On the EPA test cycle the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Mirai (103 city/100 hwy vs. 67 city/67 hwy MPGe).
For better stopping power the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Mirai:
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 Mirai are solid, not vented.
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 Toyota Mirai 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 Mirai’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 Mirai’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Mirai doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Mirai.
For better maneuverability, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the Mirai’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.4 feet).
The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Toyota Mirai.
The design of the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid amounts to more than styling. The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .25 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Mirai (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Optima Plug-In Hybrid get better fuel mileage.
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 Mirai 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 Mirai doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Optima Plug-In Hybrid a Mid-size car, while the Mirai is rated a Subcompact.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Mirai can only carry 4.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 19.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mirai (104.8 vs. 85.7).
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front hip room, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear headroom, 5.5 inches more rear legroom, 3.6 inches more rear hip room and 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mirai.
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 Mirai 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 power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Mirai’s parking brake has to released manually.
The power windows standard on both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Mirai have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mirai prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Optima Plug-In 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 Mirai’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
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 Mirai doesn’t offer cornering lights.
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 Mirai doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Kia Optima outsold the Toyota Mirai by over 64 to one during 2019.
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