2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid vs. 2019 Kia Optima Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla 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.

The Corolla Hybrid’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Corolla Hybrid has standard Safety Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Corolla Hybrid and the Optima 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Corolla 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 Corolla 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 Corolla Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla Hybrid first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Optima Hybrid isn’t in the top three in its category.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Hybrid (53 city/52 hwy vs. 39 city/45 hwy).

Transmission

The Corolla 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.

Tires and Wheels

The Corolla Hybrid offers an optional 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.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Corolla Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Optima Hybrid’s (34.1 feet vs. 35.8 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Corolla Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 550 pounds less than the Kia Optima Hybrid.

The Corolla Hybrid is 8.8 inches shorter than the Optima Hybrid, making the Corolla Hybrid easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The Corolla 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.

Ergonomics

The Corolla 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 Corolla 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. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Optima Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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