Jones Ford Buckeye Compares 2016 Ford C-MAX Hybrid VS 2015 Kia Optima Near Surprise, AZ

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2016 Ford C-MAX Hybrid

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2015 Kia Optima

Safety Comparison

The C-MAX Hybrid offers optional Reverse Sensing System to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or, optionally, in front of the vehicle. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The C-MAX Hybrid offers optional SYNC ®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the C-MAX Hybrid and the Optima Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Ford C-MAX Hybrid is safer than the Kia Optima Hybrid:

C-MAX Hybrid

Optima Hybrid

Front Seat


5 Stars

3 Stars




Chest Movement

1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

207 G’s

342 G’s

Hip Force

356 lbs.

691 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

68 G’s

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

915 lbs.

915 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The C-MAX Hybrid’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Optima Hybrid runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 6 times as many Ford dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the C-MAX Hybrid’s warranty.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the C-MAX Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Hybrid (42 city/37 hwy vs. 36 city/40 hwy). The C-MAX Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Optima Hybrid EX (42 city/37 hwy vs. 35 city/39 hwy).

The C-MAX Hybrid has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the C-MAX Hybrid has larger tires than the Optima Hybrid (225/50R17 vs. 205/65R16). The C-MAX Hybrid’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Optima Hybrid (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17).

The C-MAX Hybrid’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Optima Hybrid’s standard 65 series tires. The C-MAX Hybrid’s tires are lower profile than the Optima Hybrid EX’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the C-MAX Hybrid has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Optima Hybrid.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The C-MAX Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Optima Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The C-MAX Hybrid’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

Chassis Comparison

The C-MAX Hybrid is 1 foot, 5.1 inches shorter than the Optima Hybrid, making the C-MAX Hybrid easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the C-MAX Hybrid is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the Optima Hybrid is rated a Mid-size.

The C-MAX Hybrid has 1 inch more front headroom, 1.8 inches more rear headroom and 1.8 inches more rear legroom than the Optima Hybrid.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The C-MAX Hybrid has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Optima Hybrid (24.5 vs. 10.8 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the C-MAX Hybrid’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The Optima Hybrid’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

The C-MAX Hybrid’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the C-MAX Hybrid offers an optional power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or, optionally on the C-MAX Hybrid SEL, by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Ergonomics Comparison

The C-MAX Hybrid offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The power windows standard on both the C-MAX Hybrid and the Optima Hybrid have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the C-MAX Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Optima Hybrid prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The C-MAX Hybrid’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Optima Hybrid’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

On a hot day the C-MAX Hybrid’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Optima Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The C-MAX Hybrid SEL’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Optima Hybrid’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the C-MAX Hybrid has a standard rear wiper. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The C-MAX Hybrid has a 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The C-MAX Hybrid SEL’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Optima Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the C-MAX Hybrid owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the C-MAX Hybrid will cost $670 to $2270 less than the Optima Hybrid over a five-year period.

The C-MAX Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the C-MAX Hybrid will retain 44.92% to 46.48% of its original price after five years, while the Optima Hybrid only retains 41.46% to 41.78%.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Ford C-MAX Hybrid will be $3363 to $6921 less than for the Kia Optima Hybrid.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford C-MAX Hybrid won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Kia Optima Hybrid didn't win any award.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-MAX Hybrid first among compact MPVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Optima Hybrid isn’t in the top three in its category.

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