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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Camry Hybrid have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The Camry Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Camry Hybrid XLE offers an optional Rear Cross Traffic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
Both the Camry Hybrid and the Optima Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The Camry Hybrid’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.
Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Camry Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Optima Hybrid.
There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Camry Hybrid’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.
The Camry Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 16 more horsepower (208 vs. 192) than the Optima Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
On the EPA test cycle the Camry Hybrid CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Hybrid (51 city/53 hwy vs. 40 city/45 hwy).
The Camry Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.
For better traction, the Camry Hybrid SE/XLE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima Hybrid (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).
The Camry Hybrid SE/XLE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima Hybrid’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Camry Hybrid SE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. The Optima Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.
The Camry Hybrid has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Optima Hybrid; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
The Camry Hybrid has a much larger trunk than the Optima Hybrid (15.1 vs. 13.4 cubic feet).
The Camry Hybrid’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Hybrid Premium doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Camry Hybrid. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The Camry Hybrid offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Camry Hybrid XLE offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Camry Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all 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 Optima Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
If the windows are left open on the Camry Hybrid the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Optima Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Camry Hybrid’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Optima Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Insurance will cost less for the Camry Hybrid owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Camry Hybrid will cost $1275 to $1860 less than the Optima Hybrid over a five-year period.
The Camry Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Camry Hybrid will retain 44.81% to 47.38% of its original price after five years, while the Optima Hybrid only retains 34.85%.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Camry Hybrid will be $2792 to $6520 less than for the Kia Optima Hybrid.
Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Camry Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Camry Hybrid first among midsize cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Optima Hybrid isn’t in the top three.
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