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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 Accord Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Accord 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, 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 Accord Hybrid is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.
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 Accord 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 Honda covers the Accord 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 Accord 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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th, below the industry average.
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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 3 places higher in reliability than Honda.
On the EPA test cycle the Optima Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Accord Hybrid (103 city/100 hwy MPGe vs. 48 city/47 hwy).
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 28 miles. The Accord Hybrid must run its internal combustion engine to move.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Accord Hybrid (14.5 vs. 12.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
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 Accord Hybrid are solid, not vented.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the Accord Hybrid’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the Optima Plug-In Hybrid more stable handling and braking.
For better maneuverability, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Accord Hybrid’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has .3 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more rear headroom and 1 inch more rear hip room than the Accord Hybrid.
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 Accord 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 Plug-In Hybrid uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Accord 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.
The power windows standard on both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Accord Hybrid 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 Accord Hybrid 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 Accord Hybrid’s power lock and power mirror 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 Accord Hybrid’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”
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 Accord Hybrid 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. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Accord Hybrid EX/EX-L/Touring.
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 Accord Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Accord Hybrid 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 Accord Hybrid doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
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. Only the Accord Hybrid Touring offers wireless charging.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Honda Accord Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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