The introduction of the new Kia Optima Sportswagon or SW as it is also known into the European market marked another milestone for the Korean brand as being their first D-Segment tourer to be launched in the European market. Kia as a brand have been doing everything right over the past number of years and this is highlighted by the success of the Sportage which was their main bread winner during the downturn. The Optima as a saloon model continues to do well for Kia and so it is natural that as the demand for more spacious and versatile D-segment models increases that they should introduce a model to satisfy that demand.
Having first had the opportunity to test the Optima SW at its Irish launch some months back it was evident from the start that this car ticks plenty of the boxes. First up and most important to some potential buyers, it looks good. It keeps the front end of the existing saloon model while the contours of the body now sweep further back along the raised roof line. As far as side profiles of estate cars go which can sometimes be boring the new Kia Optima Sportswagon displays a more sporty and athletic stance.
While other countries may enjoy a raft of varying trim levels, the Kia Optima SW is only available in one trim level in Ireland which is the EX trim. Standard specification here is generous and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, privacy glass, leather steering wheel and gear knob, cloth and leather upholstery, dual zone climate control and air conditioning, 7-inch touchscreen with rear reversing camera and TomTom sat nav, Bluetooth, 6 speaker sound system along with a host of safety systems including ABS, electronic stability control, emergency stop signal and lane keep assist system to name but a few.
As you sit into the Optima SW you are greeted by a familiar Kia interior which is finished to a level which is on a par with most its competitors within the segment. The materials used appear to be durable and will withstand even the toughest of clients. Kia have not yet stepped across to the futuristic displays of some their competitors so you will find the familiar binnacles taking pride of place in front of the driver with a 4.3inch colour screen displaying all the required driving information. Located towards the centre of the dash is the easy to use 7-inch colour touchscreen which allows you simple access to all relevant systems such as Bluetooth, sat-nav and infotainment. There is also USB, AUX and 12Volt connections located under the heating controls so charging any smartphones should never be a problem. The addition of Android Auto which allows you to connect your android or Apple device is also standard.
Space throughout the cabin of the new Optima SW is plentiful regardless if you are in the front or the rear seating. Even with the slightly sloping roofline in the rear the headroom isn’t overly compromised. Boot space stands at an impressive 552 litres to the rear seats which can also be folded down with ease from the boot to provide a fully flat boot floor up to the back of the front seats. The boot can be accessed with ease as there is no annoying lip at the boot entrance and there is the addition of cargo nets to prevent items rolling around once loaded in.
On the road, the new Kia Optima SW behaves quite well. The steering could do with being slightly more weighted however but this was only a minor issue. What I found more concerning was the lack of power from the 1.7 litre turbo diesel engine at lower revs. I found myself having to reach for lower gears when cornering at low speed when similar cars would handle the same scenario without this additional change. Where the 1.7 diesel power-plant performs best is when it is sitting between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm.
The Optima SW seems to keep a good level of manners when being pushed along country roads and feels just as confident as you traverse narrow city streets. Body roll is kept to a minimum and the suspension absorbs most uneven surfaces which are thrown at it. Where I find the new Optima SW really appealing to new customers is for expanding families and businesses that want a stylish and comfortable company car that is economic to run and reasonably priced with a high level of spec and a huge amount of space.
Engine Size – 1.7 CRDi
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 140 bhp
Torque – 340Nm
Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 10.2 seconds
Top Speed – 200 km/hour
Consumption (Combined) –4.4 litres/ 100 kilometres
CO2 emissions – 113g / km
Road Tax – € 200
Price – € 29,950
Check out the link below to find out my views on the Kia Optima saloon.