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Kia Optima Hybrid Gears Up for Fuel Economy Record Attempt +VIDEO

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

• Kia Motors to attempt to set new Guinness World Record for lowest fuel consumption in a hybrid car

• Elite fuel economy drivers will travel through all 48 adjoining US states in a factory-standard Kia Optima Hybrid

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 Kia Optima Hybrid

SEOUL - August 26, 2011: Two motorists are preparing to drive a 2011 Kia Optima Hybrid into the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records this week as they aim to set a new record for lowest fuel consumption (in a gasoline hybrid car) while driving through all 48 adjoining states of America.

Taking on the epic 8,000 mile fuel economy driving challenge will be experienced fuel economy driver Wayne Gerdes and his colleague and friend Chris Bernius, who will be completing the journey in a factory-standard Kia Optima Hybrid four-door sedan.

Watch the Kia Optima Hybrid on the road

The record attempt will see the drivers depart from Kia Motors' manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, on August 26, travelling through the 48 adjoining states in a clockwise direction, before finishing in South Carolina just 16 days later, on September 10.

Senior Executive Vice President & COO of Kia Motors Corporation, Thomas Oh, said, "Fuel economy is becoming increasingly important to car buyers all around the world, and the Kia Optima Hybrid is one of our latest models to address this consumer requirement."

"Driving through all 48 adjoining US states is the ultimate ¡®real-world¡¯ challenge, but the Kia Optima Hybrid gives the drivers the very best chance of setting a new Guinness World Record, as it has been specifically designed to achieve maximum fuel economy in all driving conditions, not just in the city," Oh continued.

The Optima Hybrid is Kia's first hybrid vehicle in the U.S. market and went on sale in East- and West-coast regions in June 2011, priced from US$26,500, with national availability by the end of 2011. A European version - which mates the electric motor to a smaller, 2.0-liter gasoline engine - is expected to go on sale in some markets in 2012.

   • SEE ALSO: Kia Buyers Guide for prices, specs and reviews

The 2.4-litre Optima Hybrid employs a unique and innovative parallel gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain developed by Kia that delivers a unique blend of performance - acceleration to 100 kph (62 mph) in 9.2 seconds, a top speed of 195 kph (121 mph), plus highly-competitive fuel economy equivalent to a 40.7 per cent fuel consumption improvement over the standard Optima EX model in the USA.