Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Drive a Kia, Avoid the Rat Race

Have you driven a Kia Optima hybrid?
The Kia Optima hybrid made it from Brooklyn to Northampton on hardly any gas

Like lemmings, New Yorkers head en masse to the country to see leaves changing colors in fall. But unlike lemmings, we don't have suicidal tendencies. So I was thrilled to take a trip in a Kia Optima loaded with all the latest safety technology.

Best leaf peeping car: 2017 Kia Optima hybrid

Kia loves rodents

Kia uses hamsters to advertise its Soul. I think they need to use a cute, cuddly animal for the Optima. The 2017 Optima hybrid EX that I drove was just so lovable.

Start with price - it's a great value

Do you take a drive to see leaves and buy a pumpkin?
The pumpkin patch
The base model is $30,990. Most states and the federal government give a rebate for buying a hybrid car, so your net price is much lower. Also, the car is listed at 42 miles per gallon (39 in the city, 46 on the highway). I drove it in eco mode and got 50 mpg. So there is also tremendous savings on gas, no matter the price of a gallon.

Extras on the Kia

This Kia, in "silky silver," has a $5,000 technology package. Some of these were luxury amenities, like heated and cooled front seats, a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats and rear window sunshades.

Bring on the safety

Then there were all the safety extras included in the package: smart cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, bind spot detection, forward collision and lane departure warnings and rear cross traffic alert. My favorite feature, perfect for the winding back roads of the Pioneer Valley: headlights that turn and bend as you curve. Once you've tried this feature, regular headlights seem so inadequate.
Hiking in the Pioneer Valley

Cool features for all

If you don't want to drop the extra 5K, the Kia still has some great amenities. The best here is the smart trunk. Walk around to the back of the car when the car is off and the doors are locked. The trunk automatically opens. But if you forget that you have the key in your bag and you didn't want the trunk to open, step back and the trunk closes.

We stopped at a pumpkin patch and a got both a huge pumpkin and a bushel of apples. I hadn't told my husband or daughter about the smart trunk autonomous feature and they were quite surprised when the trunk popped open.

The Kia also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 2 USB ports and a 12 volt plug.

Great luxury speakers in the Kia

The sounds of silence

Since this Kia Optima is a hybrid, the engine noise is non existent. But you can fill that silence with great tunes. There is Sirius XM radio, and Harmon Kardon speakers for high quality sound.

Low carbon footprint

With global warming, the mid October trip was warmer than in the past. We hiked in short sleeves and opened the sunroof to let in the wonderful (yet disturbing) warm air. We were glad to be driving an environmentally correct car.

We were in Northampton and Amherst, Massachusetts, where every restaurant is either vegetarian or has an extensive vegetarian selection. And people are biking, or pulling bikes off their hybrid cars (with the split back seat, we could have easily brought our bikes, but we just wanted to run and hike).

Do you get perks with your car?
Reserved parking for fuel efficient cars

Kia perks

The benefits of the hybrid were not just limited to saving money and feeling good. At my local Whole Foods, I even got to park right by the entrance, which is reserved for fuel efficient cars.

The Kia hybrid fit right in with the environmental ethos of both Brooklyn and the Pioneer Valley, yet provided us with enough luxuries that we felt coddled as well.

Note: Kia loaned me the Optima hybrid for this review. Opinions expressed are my own.


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