21 Apr 2017 | 07.10 pm
Roadtest: Kia Optima Sportswagon
Big step forward from its predecessor
21 Apr 2017 | 07.10 pm
Kia’s first foray into the estate segment has a lot going for it, writes Olive Keogh
The love affair between the Irish motoring public and high-riding crossovers and SUVs has seen sales of traditional body styles slide quite significantly. But sometimes there is simply no substitute for an estate car if it is space and carrying capacity that matter.
The Kia Optima Sportswagon is a good-looking estate car well set up to cater for the needs of growing families, or indeed small businesses. It is Kia’s first foray into the estate segment, and it comes with a versatile 552 litres of boot space and 40:20:40 split and folding rear seats.
Ireland has never been a big market for estate cars, but it’s a different story elsewhere. What makes it worthwhile for Kia to enter this segment is the fact that in mainland Europe two-thirds of all D-segment sales are estate cars, while a whopping 75% of sales to fleet buyers in this segment are estates. In short, the Optima wagon is an important conquest model for Kia.
It comes with EX and EXS trims and is offered with a 1.7 litre diesel engine with 141bhp and a six-speed gearbox. Road tax is €200. The EX costs €29,995 and EXS €31,195. The Optima Sportswagon has a 5-star Euro NCAP rating and Kia’s 7-year warranty. Standard features include front and rear parking sensors, lane keeping assist and speed limit information. There are luggage rails/nets to keep everything in place and the rear seats fold flat with a single movement.
The Optima’s multimedia interface features a 7-inch touchscreen with incorporated rear camera, plus TomTom WiFi with map update options. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available and Bluetooth is standard. The 18-inch alloys add to the wagon’s smart looks and the lighting system includes LED daytime running lights, cornering lights and a ‘see-me-home’ feature, whereby the lights stay on to get you safely to the hall door.
With air conditioning becoming a common feature on more and more cars, sunroofs seem to be disappearing from view, though sometimes there is no substitute for fresh air, and the Optima comes with a panoramic sunroof as standard. Kia has put some thought into the Optima’s cabin and it is comfortable, well appointed and nicely finished with leather detail. Dual-zone climate control is fitted, as is power lumbar support on the driver’s seat.
This latest version of the Optima has seen quite extensive reworking of the suspension to improve the ride quality in general and the performance over poor surfaces in particular. The front and rear sub-frame mounting points have been moved further out and two extra front bushing mounts have increased lateral stiffness. On the road, this translates into quicker responses to steering inputs and better cornering and stability.
Overall, the Optima estate is smooth and nimble on the road, with a comfortable and nicely designed cabin that’s easy to live with. There is good head and legroom in the back for accommodating sprouting teenagers, while the generous boot will easily swallow all their paraphernalia. The new Optima is a big step forward from its predecessor and has a lot going for it, including the price.
Model Kia Optima Sportswagon EX
Engine 1.7 litre diesel
Safety Multiple airbags, auto cruise control, ESC, ESS, rear-view camera, lane-keeping assist
Fuel consumption Combined cycle 4.4L/100km
Verdict A smart-looking, smooth-riding estate with buckets of space