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2011 Kia Optima Hybrid Starts at $26,500

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Kia has announced the pricing for its first ever hybrid in the U.S., the 2011 Optima Hybrid.

The stylish Optima hybrid starts at $26,500 and is set to arrive in dealerships in June. The 2011 Optima hybrid shares it powertrain with the Hyundai Sonata hybrid and is powered by a full hybrid system that can be driven in electric mode up to 62 miles per hour. The hybrid system mates a 2.4L engine to an electric motor and a lithium polymer battery. It gets 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.

To differentiate it from the gasoline engine powered Optima models, the Optima hybrid features unique a front grille design, 16-inch alloy wheel design, headlamp design, fog lamps, heated outside mirrors, front and rear lower bumpers and side sills and LED tail lamp design.

The Optima hybrid comes standard with eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual zone automatic temperature control with rear vents, push-button start with smart key and the SupervisionTM meter cluster with LCD display. One unique feature is the Virtual Engine Sound System (VESS) that is standard on the Optima Hybrid. It plays a pre-recorded engine sound during electric-only operation to help notify people outside the vehicle that it is approaching.