What’s a Kia Optima Sportswagon then?
Kia calls it a ‘tourer’ but plainly it’s the new estate version of Optima saloon, a rival to the Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6 and Skoda Superb estates. And a notably handsome contender it is, too.
What do I need to know?
Usually, the better looking an estate is, the less space it has. Not so here. The Optima SW’s boot has a volume of 553 litres with the rear seats up (Kia has yet to release a seats down figure). That’s 48 litres more than the saloon and appreciably more than some of the competition. The Mondeo has 500/1605 litres of space, the Mazda 506/1648. It can’t match the cavernous Skoda at 660/1950, but then not much this side of a van can.
There’s some neat practical touches built into the boot as well: a safety barrier net built into the back of the rear seat, pop-up sliding luggage rails, 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats, hands-free tailgate opening and a low, flat loading lip.
The rest of the interior is carried over from the Optima saloon. There’s a choice of 7in or 8in touchscreen infotainment systems, the latter with satnav. The system offers both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration; wirepless phone charging pad and USB ports for the front and rear passengers are included.
UK buyers will have a choice of two engines: a 139bhp, 251lb/ft 1.7 CRDi diesel that will account for the vast majority of sales, and a 242bhp, 260lb/ft 2.0 T-GDi turbo petrol unit in the sporty GT model.
The diesel comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard; a seven-speed dual-clutch ‘box is available as an option. The GT comes with a six-speed automatic ‘box; both engines drive the front wheels. Kia has yet to announce performance and economy numbers.
Kia says the Optima SW’s fully independent suspension has been retuned over the saloon, with bespoke spring and damper settings. Electronically-controlled adaptive suspension is standard on the GT and optional on the diesel. It features Normal and Sport modes and, according to Kia, delivers ride and handling “tailored exclusively” to European tastes.
The GT model receives some styling tweaks as well, including new bumpers, air intakes, twin exhausts, faux diffuser, 18in wheels and interior trim. It will also be rolled out in saloon form.
The usual phalanx of driver assist systems are available on the Optima SW, including smart cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert and so on.
Kia is hoping the Optima SW will help it grab a much bigger chunk of the European D-segment market than the Optima saloon manages by itself. According to Kia, estates account for two-thirds of sales in the class overall and three-quarters of fleet sales.
When can I buy one?
Sales start in the last quarter of 2016.
How much will it cost?
Prices will be announced nearer launch, but expect to pay a few hundreds pounds more than the equivalent saloon.
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By Only Motors