The rise of Korean car manufacturers shows no sign of abating. Kia are continuing to launch new models faster than a cannonball. The latest is the Optima Sportswagon, Kia’s first ever D-segment estate car. The UK launch took place in Munich, which also saw journalist from al across Europe congregating it test drive the newest Kia. In Europe, two-thirds of D-segment sales & 75 per cent of fleet sales in the class are taken by estate cars, so the Sportswagon is a logical step for a brand with fleet aspirations, although the Optima saloon, a personal favourite, has thus far not dented the SME fleet market to any great extent, even though it looks fantastic & drives brilliantly.
The Optima Sportswagon was designed in Europe & will be sold only in Europe & is in fact identical in length (4,855mm) width (1,860mm) as the saloon, but the Sportswagon is 5mm taller at 1,470mm because of the roof rails. Optima Sportswagon has a minimum of 552 litres of cargo space, including two underfloor trays, increasing to 1,686 litres with the rear seats folded. Stylish integrated roof rails are standard across the range. Like the Optima saloon, it is sold exclusively with a highly efficient, torquey & refined, fleet-friendly 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine. It is available with a full suite of advanced connectivity & active driver assistance technologies, including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay (available later in the production run), Kia Connected Services powered by TomTom®, a Harman/Kardon eight-speaker audio system, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Smart Cruise Control & Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
There are three trim lines for the new Optima Sportswagon – 2, 3 & GT-Line S – echoing those available for the Optima saloon. A sporty high-performance GT version will make that four variants early in 2017.
As with alone Kia’s standard equipment is impressive & is unashamedly targeted at business users who make up the vast majority of buyers in this sector of the market. Sportswagon is fitted with a luggage area DC power socket, a handle for one-touch folding of the rear seats, a luggage side partition & towing connection preparation. Level 3 adds a luggage rail system, boot lip trim & privacy glass in the rear doors, rear quarterlights and tailgate. GT-Line S is further distinguished by a Smart Powered Tailgate.
The entry-level 2 grade comes as standard with a 7.0-inch satellite navigation system with European mapping & a reversing camera, steering wheel-mounted controls, front and rear USB ports, dual automatic air conditioning with ioniser, a leather-trimmed steering wheel & gearshifter, cruise control with a speed limiter, electrically heated folding mirrors, a six-speaker DAB radio with MP3 compatibility & Bluetooth with music streaming. It has 17-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, dual projection headlights with static cornering lights & LED daytime running lights, powered two-way driver’s seat lumbar adjustment ,remote central locking with a fold-away key, while the comprehensive safety provisions include Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring a&an Electronic Parking Brake.
Grade 3 upgrades the navigation screen to 8.0 inches, has an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s memory seat with four-way electronic lumbar adjustment, heated front seats and dual projection headlights. The exterior is distinguished by 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome and body colour exterior door handles, LED front foglights and rear combination lamps & chrome-coloured side sill mouldings. The black cloth seats have faux leather sections and there are satin chrome highlights on the touch-screen bezel. Rear electric windows with an auto up/down function and an anti-trap safety feature are also found on grade 3 along with a premium vision instrument cluster, satin chrome interior door handles and gloss black window switch panels. A Harman/Kardon premium sound system is also standard, while if the optional 7DCT automatic transmission is chosen there are paddle shifters for manual control & a Drive Mode Select function. Additional driver aids on grade 3 include Lane Keep Assist & a Speed Limit Warning.
GT-Line S supplements all this with different design 18-inch alloy wheels, a wireless mobile phone charger, 360-degree Around View Monitor, a Smart Park Assist System, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Smart Cruise Control, High Beam Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking & a Smart Powered Tailgate. It has a tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof, LED headlights with automatic levelling, dynamic cornering lights, black leather upholstery with ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats, alloy pedals, stainless steel door scuff plates, a smart key with illuminated start/stop button, LED front map lights and rear reading lights & ambient interior lighting.
The Optima Sportswagon is powered exclusively by Kia’s 1.7- CRDi turbodiesel engine, which develops 139bhp and 340Nm of torque. It delivers outstanding performance for an engine of this capacity with effortless driveability.
The engine was engineered at Kia’s European research & development centre in Germany & features high-pressure common-rail fuel injection for maximum efficiency & a variable geometry turbocharger to enhance low-speed driveability while ensuring strong top-end power. With Kia’s Idle Stop & Go (ISG) engine stop/start system as standard, CO2 emissions of manual models are 113g/km, only 3g/km more than the saloon, while fuel economy is a highly impressive 64.2mpg on the combined cycle. With the 7DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which is available in grades 3 (optional) and GT-Line S (standard), emissions are 120g/km, while fuel economy is 61.4mpg. The manual has a 0-60mph acceleration time of 9.8 seconds, while with the 7DCT 0-60mph takes 10.7 seconds. With either transmission the top speed is 124mph.The 7DCT versions have Drive Mode Select featuring three options – Normal, Eco and Sport – which alter the transmission shift timing, throttle mapping and steering wheel weighting accordingly. Steering wheel-mounted paddles allow the driver to take manual control of gear shifting at any stage.
In keeping with every Kia, the Optima Sportswagon comes with the company’s unique-in-the-UK seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty, subject to certain wear and tear conditions.
First things first. I really like estate car’s. Always have & always will. much preferring the load space &hatchback qualities of a Wagon to it’s saloon counterpart. I also think that there are some really attractive versions out there. Think C-Class Estate, 3 Series Touring, Audi A4 Avant, as well as the Insignia, Mondeo, Avensis, Mazda6, Peugeot 508, VW Passat & Hyundai i40, all of which as far as I’m concerned, look better than their saloon counterpart.
The Optima Sportswagon, is also good looking, from different angles stealing a mix of the old Saab 93, Alfa Romeo 156 estate & Vauxhall Insignia Tourer. Inside, the interior is identical to the Optima saloon & like all Kia’s, the quality, just get’s better & better, with clear concise switches & buttons, a really easy to use & follow touchscreen infotainment system & a comfortable spacious cabin. We drove right hand drive versions in Germany & I found, just like the saloon, the Wagon handles well, offering responsive driving on the country roads we tried, as well as being a comfortable motorway cruiser. My driving colleague was over six-feet tall & had plenty of head & leg room in the lower specced ‘2’ model we drove first, but did have an issue with headroom in the GT version, because of the sun-roof, so that’s something to bear in mind for taller drivers. The back will accommodate two comfortably, even three on shorter journeys & the boot is easily accessible with a flat loading lip & cover, hiding compartments beneath. It’s ll finished off well in soft touch plastics & dark grey carpet.
From a fleet perspective the manual ‘2’ or ‘3’ version would appeal the most.The combined fuel economy is a respectable 64.2 mpg, with CO2 emissions coming in at 113g/km. Neither is earth shattering or indeed class leading & these figures may well dent the enthusiasm of some fleet managers. With prices starting at £22,295 it’s competitively priced as well. If Kia can get the leasing prices right, on a 3 year 10,000 mile contract, it could still do well, as from a driving, a practical & an equipment perspective, the new Optima Sportswagon is hard to beat. It perfectly executes in every way, which is exactly what Kia have designed it to do.
An Allianz Arena 4/5
UK Optima Sportswagon line-up
Model Power bhp Torque Nm 0–60 sec Max speed mph Average mpg C02 g/km
1.7 CRDi ‘2’ 139 340 9.8 124 64.2 113
1.7 CRDi ‘3’ 139 340 9.8 124 64.2 113
1.7 CRDi ‘3’ 7DCT 139 340 10.7 124 61.4 120
1.7 CRDi ‘GT-Line S’ 7DCT 139 340 10.7 124 61.4 120
1.7 CRDi ‘2’ £22,295
1.7 CRDi ‘3’ £24,495
1.7 CRDi ‘3’ 7DCT £25,895
1.7 CRDi ‘GT-Line S’ 7DCT £30,595