The Optima Sportswagon was designed in Europe and will be sold only in Europe. Its exterior remains faithful to the highly praised SPORTSPACE concept revealed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. Style is not at the expense of practicality and versatility, however: the Optima Sportswagon has a minimum of 552 litres of cargo space, including two underfloor trays, and 1,686 litres with the rear seats folded. Stylish integrated roof rails are standard.
The Optima Sportswagon exudes the same exterior style and interior class as the saloon on which it is based; the two cars are identical in length (4,855mm) and width (1,860mm), but the Sportswagon is 5mm taller at 1,470mm because of the roof rails.
Like the Optima saloon, it is sold with a 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine. And it is available with a full suite of advanced connectivity and 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 and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
There are three trim lines for the new Optima Sportswagon (2, 3 and GT-Line S) echoing those available for the Optima saloon. A sporty high-performance GT version will make that four variants early in 2017.
Roof rails are standard with all three trim lines, along with a luggage area DC power socket, a handle for one-touch folding of the rear seats, a luggage side partition and towing connection preparation. Level 3 adds a luggage rail system, boot lip trim and 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 and a reversing camera, steering wheel-mounted controls, front and rear USB ports, dual automatic air conditioning with ioniser, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshifter, cruise control with a speed limiter, electrically heated folding mirrors, a six-speaker DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth with music streaming. It has 17-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles and mirrors, dual projection headlights with static cornering lights and LED daytime running lights, powered two-way driver's seat lumbar adjustment and remote central locking with a fold-away key, while the comprehensive safety provisions include Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring and 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 and 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 and a Drive Mode Select function. Additional driver aids on grade 3 include Lane Keep Assist and 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 and 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 and ambient interior lighting.
The 40:20:40 folding rear seats allow two people to travel in comfort while still leaving space for long loads. Grades 3 and GT-Line S have adjustable sliding luggage rails with built-in harnesses for securing cargo.
All this has been achieved with only minimal alteration to the dimensions of the acclaimed Optima saloon. The footprint of the two cars is identical, but the Sportswagon is 5mm taller because of its sleek roof rails. The Optima Sportswagon has 552 litres of cargo space behind the rear seats, including two underfloor storage boxes, and up to 1,686 litres with the 40:20:40 split rear seats folded.
The front half of the Sportswagon, as far back as the B-pillar, is identical to the Optima saloon. From there, a rising shoulder line and more gently swept-back cabin with a raked rear window and tapering roof give the Sportswagon an elegant, sporty appearance. The rear lamps wrap around the corners and there is a single exhaust outlet.
The GT-Line S is distinguished by GT-Line bumpers and side sills, bespoke 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED front lamps with automatic levelling, dynamic cornering lights, LED rear combination lamps, a dual chrome-tipped exhaust system built into a rear diffuser, satin chrome and body-coloured exterior door handles and silver metallic-trimmed side sill mouldings.
The Optima Sportswagon has the same fully independent suspension at all four corners as the saloon, with subframe-mounted MacPherson struts, coil springs and twin-tube gas-filled dampers at the front and a subframe-mounted multi-link system with coil springs and twin-tube gas-filled dampers at the rear. There are front and rear anti-roll bars. As a result, it delivers the same agile handling, smooth ride and high-speed stability as the saloon with which it shares its wheelbase and track widths. However, the spring and damper rates and alignment settings have been fine-tuned to take into account the Sportswagon's slightly more rear-biased weight distribution, and the fact that it is likely to be carrying heavier loads.
Like the saloon, the Sportswagon features Kia's rack-mounted motor-driven power assisted steering system (R-MDPS). By mounting the power steering function directly on the rack rather than the column, the engineers have been able to give the car quicker and more linear responses to driver inputs, particularly around the straight-ahead, with greater feel. The Optima Sportswagon is one of the most agile estate cars in its market segment. As an added benefit, R-MDPS gives approximately three per cent fuel savings because it draws on engine power only when the car is turning.
There are large disc brakes on all four wheels, ventilated at the front, with anti-lock (ABS), Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, giving the car powerful emergency stopping power, regardless of the force applied to the pedal by the driver. The Optima Sportswagon also comes with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which maintains brake pressure for two seconds after the driver releases the pedal to ensure smooth transitions when setting off on inclines.
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. The warranty is fully transferable should the car be sold before the time or mileage limits have been reached. Should the car be sold through a Kia Used Approved dealership and the car is less than 18 months old or has fewer than 18,000 miles on the clock, it is topped up to match that of a new model.
For retail customers the Optima Sportswagon is available with Kia's Care-3 and Care-3 Plus servicing packages, offering fixed-cost, inflation-proof servicing for the first three or five years. All packages cover the car, not the owner, so are transferable should the vehicle be sold.