The latest Kia Optima is already a great option for buyers on a budget looking for a svelte, sporty sedan. At launch, the car was offered with three four-cylinder engine choices whose outputs ranged from 178 to 247 horsepower. Now Kia has added two new hybrid options.

On show this week at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the two new hybrid options include an Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-In Hybrid. They’ll be available in the fourth quarter of the year, as 2017 models.

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The cars’ internals are closely related to the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid from sister brand Hyundai. In both, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine serves as the internal combustion component.

In the Optima Hybrid, an electric motor and clutch replaces the traditional torque converter transmission. Peak output is 193 hp.

2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid, 2016 Chicago Auto Show

2017 Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid, 2016 Chicago Auto Show

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In the Optima Plug-In Hybrid, an electric motor is sandwiched between the engine and transmission, in this case a six-speed automatic. Kia only states that the engine and electric motor have peak outputs of 154 and 67 hp respectively. The battery in the Optima Plug-In Hybrid is a 9.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit that should enable an electric-only range of about 27 miles.

Kia has sold an Optima Hybrid in the past but this is the first plug-in hybrid version of the popular sedan. It’s also Kia’s first plug-in hybrid.

And the firsts don’t end there as Kia also used this week’s Chicago Auto Show to unveil its first dedicated hybrid, the 2017 Niro. This compact crossover will also spawn its own plug-in hybrid version in the near future.

For more from the Chicago Auto Show, head to our dedicated hub.


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