2020 Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2020 Ford Fusion Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Fusion Plug-In 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, 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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’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 Ford covers the Fusion Plug-In 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 Plug-In Hybrid 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 18 points higher than the Fusion Plug-In 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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 7 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 7 more horsepower (202 vs. 195) than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 28 miles, 2 miles further than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s 26-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid.

For better maneuverability, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

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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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Optima Plug-In 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 Plug-In Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity

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The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid (9.9 vs. 8.2 cubic feet).

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid 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 Fusion Plug-In 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.

Ergonomics

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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 Fusion Plug-In 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 Plug-In Hybrid’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Fusion Plug-In Hybrid’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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 Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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 Fusion Plug-In 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 Plug-In Hybrid has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Fusion Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 2020/09/25

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

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