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Kia optimistic of Optima Sportswagon estate doing the business

12:29 03 January 2017

Kia Optima Sportswagon aims to appeal to fleets looking for a well-proportioned, well-priced, well-equipped estate car. Picture: Kia

Kia Optima Sportswagon aims to appeal to fleets looking for a well-proportioned, well-priced, well-equipped estate car. Picture: Kia

Kia

The Optima Sportswagon may be Kia’s first large family estate car but it’s on a mission to break into the fleet market. Motoring editor Andy Russell checks it out.

Kia Optima Sportswagon aims to appeal to fleets looking for a well-proportioned, well-priced, well-equipped estate car. Picture: KiaKia Optima Sportswagon aims to appeal to fleets looking for a well-proportioned, well-priced, well-equipped estate car. Picture: Kia

Kia is looking for its new Optima Sportswagon to do the business by making inroads into company fleets.

As its first D-segment, large family estate car, it opens up new opportunities for the brand with estate cars accounting for two-thirds of D-segment sales and 75% of fleet sales in that class.

Kia Optima Sportswagon has a huge, practical load bay. Picture: KiaKia Optima Sportswagon has a huge, practical load bay. Picture: Kia

Looks and image

Sleek and well proportioned, the Optima SW certainly looks the business.

Kia has nailed its car design, which just gets better with each new model that comes out, so you don’t pay the price of value motoring by sacrificing styling.

Six-footers won't be short of legroom in the Kia Optima Sportswagon. Picture: KiaSix-footers won't be short of legroom in the Kia Optima Sportswagon. Picture: Kia

Under the bonnet

With the Optima SW targeting the fleet market, there’s only one engine – the well-proven 139bhp 1.7-litre turbo diesel – with a six-speed manual gearbox in entry-level ‘2’ spec, seven-speed double-clutch automatic in range-topping GT-Line S and both in mid-trim ‘3’.

Fascia of Kia Optima Sportswagon features a large touch screen for the infotainment system. Picture: KiaFascia of Kia Optima Sportswagon features a large touch screen for the infotainment system. Picture: Kia

It’s got the punch but can feel flat low-down so needs a few more revs than some rivals. It’s not a hardship with the slick six-speed manual but gets gruff worked hard.

Economy also falls short of rivals but a real-world 45mpg running round and 55mpg on a run for the manual model is acceptable for all but MPG misers.

Kia Optima Sportswagon aims to appeal to fleets looking for a well-proportioned, well-priced, well-equipped estate car. Picture: KiaKia Optima Sportswagon aims to appeal to fleets looking for a well-proportioned, well-priced, well-equipped estate car. Picture: Kia

Ride and handling

The suspension, shared with the saloon, has been fine tuned for the estate to take into account the extra weight at the back end and carrying heavier loads.

Suspension geared for ride comfort will appeal to high-mileage motorway munchers. The entry model gets 17in alloy wheels but the Optima SW doesn’t feel over sensitive to bumps and lumps with 18in rims although tyre roar is noticeable on poor surfaces.

Kia Optima Sportswagon is a smartly-styled estate car. Picture: KiaKia Optima Sportswagon is a smartly-styled estate car. Picture: Kia

It’s not the most agile or entertaining driving estate in its class but corners competently with decent levels of grips but body roll builds with speed.

Space and comfort

Kia Optima Sportswagon is a smartly-styled estate car. Picture: KiaKia Optima Sportswagon is a smartly-styled estate car. Picture: Kia

You won’t feel short-changed when it comes to space. Sharp styling means it doesn’t look big and boxy but it still measures up inside.

Put four six-footers in and those in the back still have legroom to spare, and will appreciate the shapely, comfortable seats, although three in the back would be snug.

They’re not going to have to pack light either with a 552-litre boot, one of the best in class, packing a lot of luggage and there’s two underfloor tray to keep smaller items secure.

Rear seat backs that split 40/20/40 and fold flat, released via handles in the boot, make its load-carrying capability even more practical with 1,686 litres of volume to the roof. And if that’s not enough, roof rails are standard while a sliding luggage rail restraint system with harness on all but the entry model keeps loads in check.

At the wheel

The user-friendly fascia is dominated by the bright, full-colour touch screen which is intuitive to use and responds quickly while large, clear instruments are easy to take in at a glance.

Mid-spec models upwards get a powered driver’s seat, so it’s easy to find the ideal set-up whether short or tall, which moves away from the steering wheel to make getting in and out easier.

The dashboard and interior plastics are soft to the touch where it matters, and the fit and finish is fine, but the cabin is more functional than fancy.

Equipment and warranty

This is where Kia really scores with a seven-year or 100,000-mile warranty and loads of kit as standard.

Highlights of ‘2’ spec are satellite navigation, reversing camera, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, cruise control, heated folding mirrors, static cornering lights. Mid-spec ‘3’ adds heated front seats, upgraded wheels, lights and interior trim, Harman/Kardon Premium sound system and extra driver aids including lane keep assist and speed limit warning.

GT-Line S gains include around view monitor, park assist, powered tailgate, panoramic sunroof, leather seats and even more hi-tech driver aids.

Final say

High levels of standard kit and that market-leading warranty go some way to overcoming its shortcomings compared to rivals which are better to drive. Kia is right to be optimistic about the Optima’s business-like qualities.

FACTBOX

Price: Kia Optima Sportswagon 1.7 CRDi ‘3’ £24,495 (range £22,295 to £30,595)

Engine: 1,685cc, 139bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-60mph 9.8 seconds; top speed 124mph

MPG: Urban 54.3; extra urban 74.3; combined 64.2

CO2 emissions: 113g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 22%

Insurance group: 20

Warranty: Seven years or 100,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,855mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,860mm; H 1,470mm

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