The new Kia Optima PHEV plug-in hybrid is available to order now, with prices starting from £31,495 after a £2,500 Government grant.

The Optima PHEV offers an all-electric range of up to 33 miles at speeds of up to 75mph, and achieved an incredible 176.6 mpg on the official economy tests, while emitting just 37 g/km of CO2.

Power comes from a 154hp 2.0-litre petrol engine, while a 9.8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery provides power for a 50kW (67hp) electric motor mounted in place of the torque converter in the six-speed automatic transmission.

When the two power-plants operate together, the result is a total output of 202hp and 375Nm of torque, lending the Optima PHEV a 0-60mph time of 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 119 mph.

The hybrid system offers a choice of modes: EV, where the battery pack (mounted behind the rear seats and within the spare wheel well) powers the electric motor exclusively, and HEV where the drive-train intelligently selects the best mix of petrol and electric power to suit the prevailing conditions.

On top of this, a Drive Model Select switch allows the driver to choose either Eco or Normal settings for the car’s various functions, while a regenerative braking system recovers energy during coasting or braking to recharge the batteries.

Kia has worked hard to optimise the car’s other systems to obtain the best possible performance, and a good example of this is the Advanced HVAC system that only cools the driver’s side of the vehicle when the other seats are unoccupied in order to save energy.

The company has also made a number of aerodynamic changes to optimise air flow, and these include re-profiled front and rear bumpers, plus a new active air flap grille that closes to reduce drag, particularly at high speeds.

The result has been a drop in the Optima’s drag coefficient (Cd) from 0.29 to 0.25.

Optima PHEV models also receive unique blue-tinted headlights and additional chrome treatments on the front grilles and along the side sills.

Kia’s engineers also took the opportunity to retune the suspension set-up to reflect the revised weight distribution, while the brakes have also been enlarged – from 262mm to 300mm.

As standard, the Optima PHEV features the company’s 8-inch touch-screen navigation system, complete with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a wireless phone charger, 590W 10-speaker Harman/Kardon hi-fi, 270-degree around-view monitor, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, part-faux-leather seats, and other goodies.

The Kia Optima PHEV is available to order now, priced from £31,495 after a £2,500 Government grant, and comes with a seven-year 100,000-mile warranty.