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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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Ioniq 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, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.
The Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid weighs 481 pounds more than the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.
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 Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked third.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 63 more horsepower (202 vs. 139) and 81 lbs.-ft. more torque (276 vs. 195) than the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid (14.5 vs. 11.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid:
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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid has larger tires than the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid (215/55R17 vs. 205/55R16).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 16-inch wheels are available on the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer rear gas-charged shocks.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.1 inches longer than on the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid (110.4 inches vs. 106.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid.
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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has 8.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid (104.8 vs. 96.2).
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid has .7 inches more front headroom, 3.3 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 3.1 inches more rear hip room and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Ioniq Plug-In 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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, 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 Ioniq 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.
The Optima Plug-In Hybrid’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s optional windows’ rear windows don’t close automatically.
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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s 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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”
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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid’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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid 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 Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
Both the Optima Plug-In Hybrid and the Ioniq Plug-In 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 Ioniq Plug-In 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. The Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Kia Optima outsold the Hyundai Ioniq by almost five to one during 2019.
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