Many people love the idea of a hybrid, but are concerned about the hybrid’s performance in the dead of winter. To answer this question, I took a Kia Hybrid to an extended 2-day demo. A lot of people write about how the Kia Hybrid performs in winter in places like Vancouver or Chicago, but Winnipeggers will only rely on a true Winnipeg test, so now we’re giving you the real Winnipeg test in January. By the way, Winnipeg’s average January temperature is between -23 and -13 degrees C.
The Kia Optima Hybrid I drove was a 2012 hybrid that had an MSRP of $ 30,895 plus freight, fees, and taxes. Currently at the time of this writing, Kia is showing a $ 3,400 rebate on this vehicle, bringing it level with its non-hybrid counterpart.
When they gave me the keys to this vehicle, it was 6 at night, so it was already dark. The car was parked in the back lot where it had been unused for the past 30 days or so. It was a cold January afternoon (-18 degrees C) and the car was sitting under 6 inches of snow and parked behind an 8-inch tall plow row. After cleaning the windshield and driver’s door, I stepped in and pressed the quick start button. It was launched immediately and the seat quickly adjusted to the predetermined position. I let it warm up for a minute while I shook the rest of the snow off the top of the vehicle. When I got back into the vehicle, I turned off the traction control and got out of the snow where I was parked. I drove the car up to the building and put a license plate on it. When I got back to the car it was already warmed up. This was much faster than I expected and I was impressed.
The first thing customers want to know when it comes to a hybrid is what the fuel economy is. Will it save enough fuel to pay for itself? The second is how long will the battery last and how much will it cost to replace it?
Let me address the second point first. In Canada, Kia has put a 96-month, 160,000-km limited warranty on the entire hybrid system. So if your battery fails within the first 8 years or 160,000 km, you are covered. This will mean that for most consumers, battery life and replacement value are not an issue.
Kia Optima Hybrid is in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Lowest Fuel Economy, 48 US States: Gasoline Hybrid Car” verified by a Guinness World Records adjudicator. On this screen they achieved an average of 3.3 l / 100 km. The only thing we found in Winnipeg in January driving through the heart of the city is that you can throw energuide ratings out the window. No matter what vehicle you drive, the ratings will actually be about 75% of your actual gas mileage. Others may argue this, but with my driving style and use of the vehicle, I generally find these numbers to be accurate no matter what vehicle I drive. This was true with the Optima Hybrid. Energuide ratings for this vehicle are 5.8 l / 100 km for city driving. Energuide’s ratings for the non-hybrid Optima are 8.6 l / 100 km. The true mileage I found for these two vehicles in this condition was 8.1 for the hybrid and 11.7 for the GDI Optima. The Optima Hybrid still saves a considerable amount of fuel in Winnipeg in winter compared to its non-hybrid sibling. However, a disclaimer is that the vehicle did not function as an electric vehicle until about 17 km into the trip, so it was sitting between 11 and 12 l / 100 km until the last km where it started to function fully with the EV and average gas mileage plummeted.
So for those wondering if the hybrid will pay for itself, in this app the answer is resoundingly yes. Current rebates on the hybrid make this vehicle the same price as the Optima EX. Therefore, the purchase costs are approximately the same regardless of whether you choose Gasoline Direct Injection or Hybrid (GDI). If the vehicle travels 100,000 km with this difference in fuel consumption, the savings will amount to $ 3,780. This number is based on fuel at $ 1.05 / liter. The savings will be greater at a higher gas price. Remember this is based solely on winter driving. This will increase for anyone traveling more than 20km per trip. As said, the EV engine started running after 17 km, so the gas mileage started to improve considerably. At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re using your car just to go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, you may not notice any winter savings. I will notice that while I was driving the hybrid in the summer, it was running full EV when I turned the block.
So for all those asking me if a hybrid can weather our Winnipeg winters, I’ll say “definitely.” Cold weather started after a long sit-in, it handled well on snow-covered roads, saved fuel in the long run, and is priced competitively with the non-hybrid version.