Sportswagon 1.6 CRDi GT-Line S
are some things even todays
sparkly-seductive SUVs dont
as well as a dedicated estate car
or why else would so many
carmakers continue to offer their
KIA'S OPTIMA SPORTSWAGON, fresh from a facelift, is a good example. While the
brand is big on crossovers and SUVs, its Optima estate delivers strongly on
traditional estate features, in particular loadspace. Other appreciated 'wagon'
qualities include family-friendliness, and being easy to load, drive, and park.
At 4.9-metres from nose to tail the Sportswagon is big, but not antisocially
so. And while it offers generous inner space both for people and cargo, it does
so while wearing sporty lifestyle looks. The athletic estate body, wheelarches
filled with machine-faced 18-inch alloy wheels, tapers off with wraparound LED
rear light clusters and a raked tailgate to create a good-to-view tourer bodystyle.
it's a straight-up coin-toss between diesel and petrol with a new 134bhp 1.6
CRDi turbodiesel (partnered with either a six-speed manual or 7-speed DCT autobox)
or a 'GT' version running a 235bhp 2.0-litre turboed petrol engine with a six-speed
auto. In keeping with the most popular consumer pick being the 1.6, we've been
pootling around in one of these. Alongside its 134bhp, it also fields 236lb
ft of torque, cruises to a top speed of 120mph, accelerates to 60mph in 11.4
seconds and, officially, should average 61.4mpg.
keeping with the most
popular consumer pick
being the new 1.6, weve
been pootling around
in one of these.
Alongside its 134bhp,
it also fields 236lb ft
of torque, cruises to a top
speed of 120mph,
accelerates to 60mph in
11.4 seconds and,
officially, should average
As we've mentioned the official mpg figure we may as well now reveal our week's
real-world average an impressive 54.2mpg. Not only is this engine agreeably
frugal, but the new four-pot's 236lb ft is gutsy enough to feel lively from
pull-away and when running with the pack on hilly dual carriageways and fast
motorways. The twin-clutch autobox runs up and down its seven gears gracefully,
and even boosts the economy the best logged on some long motorway journeys
was 60.6mpg. Thanks to a 70-litre fuel tank, pit-stops could be seven hundred
Kia's Drive Mode lets you select between Comfort, Smart, Eco, and Sport driving
modes. Smart, as its name suggests, does it all for you, switching between modes
to whatever is best for the moment and your driving style. If you want full
control of the gears it's yours for the taking using the paddle-shifters. The
DCT box shifts fluently even when pressing on in Sport, where it holds onto
gears longer and downshifts helpfully when braking.
Open the driver's door (like the other three, it opens wide for easy entry)
and you're faced with a spacious and welcoming cabin. Settle behind the wheel
and the shapely, well-padded red-piped black leather seat is as comfortable
as it looks; and there's perfect visibility ahead and to the sides. Both front
chairs have full power adjustability along with three-stage heating and three-stage
cooling, and powered lumbar support; the driver also gets a two-setting seat-and-mirror
position memory recall and a heated steering wheel.
Not only are the seats big enough to be truly accommodating but there's space
all around including shareable room for elbows between the front seats and a
full fist of air between heads and the panoramic glass sunroof (one-shot-op
with tilt 'n' slide and blackout blind).
tactile, soft-touch dash is cleanly arranged with, centre stage, an eight-inch
infotainment touchscreen incorporating TomTom navigation supported by speed
camera, traffic, weather, and local point of interest information. Screen and
map graphics are sharp and clear; underscoring the display is a strip of 'hard'
buttons enabling direct jumps to all the menus.
behind the wheel
and the shapely, well-
padded red-piped black
leather seat is as
comfortable as it looks.
Both front chairs have
full power adjustability
along with three-stage
heating and three-stage
cooling, and powered
lumbar support; the
driver also gets a heated
only is the driving position spot-on with a comprehensive multifunction (driver's
display, voice, phone, audio, cruise, speed limiter, and a favourite button)
perforated leather-wrapped, flat-bottomed steering wheel but the instrument
panel is refreshingly uncluttered with just two main dials with white-on-black
faces for speed and revs bracketing a multimode driver's information display
that shows all the usual trip data along with vitals such as an instantly readable
digital mph readout and posted speed limit.
Augmenting the excellent ergonomics, the instrument cluster is set at exactly
the same height as the large touchscreen so you can check everything out in
one quick sweeping glance. Many drivers will be pleased to find traditional-style
button-operated controls for the fast-acting and very efficient dual-zone climate
Entertainment, infotainment and comms are all well served by a 490-watt harman/kardon
premium sound system with MP3-compatibility, DAB radio and Bluetooth handsfree
with music streaming, plus a wireless charging pad for your smartphone with
mirroring via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both with voice control. The quiet
cabin also makes for easy listening and that includes conversations with
your passenger. The TomTom SatNav provides traffic, speed camera, local search,
and weather updates along with 3D mapping and directions that are foolproof
from the moment you set off.
In-cabin storage can cope with the average family's needs with a very accommodating
glovebox, a capacious bin (with a useful upper tray) below the front central
armrest, long bottle-holding door pockets, a drop-down case for your shades,
and dual-use cupholders under a sliding cover.
While even entry-level Optima models come well equipped, the penultimate GT-Line
S has got the lot in addition to the numerous items mentioned elsewhere
there's keyless entry, locking and start, four one-shot windows, front and rear
parking sensors and a multi-view reversing camera system with 360-degree surround
and bird's-eye views (if you still don't want to park-it-yourself there's a
smart onboard parking jockey to carry out parallel entry and exit and perpendicular
parking on your behalf.
fitted is privacy glass, ambient lighting (six different colours), electronic
parking brake with
auto-hold function, powerfolding heated door mirrors (on demand and automatically
on locking and leaving), auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto wipes and lights,
dynamic cornering lights, speed limiter, drive-off auto door locking, tyre pressure
monitoring, hill-start assist, a full suite of airbags, height-adjustable seatbelts,
tyre pressure monitoring, speed limit information, alloy pedals, and a set of
up a decent ride,
unruffled despite bumps
and dodgy blacktop.
The stiffer (a 50 percent
increase in torsional
rigidity) new bodyshell
suspension tweaks can
take the credit for that,
and for keeping
both in town and
what feels like an ever-shrinking world personal space is a valued commodity,
and the Sportswagon comes with more than its fair share. Riding shotgun is undeniably
a sought-after spot but the light and airy back cabin is no second-best place
in which to travel. Despite the rear seating being set some six inches higher
than the front row, passengers still get a fist of headroom and benefit from
wide-ranging views through the deep side windows.
There truly is masses of room to chill-out, even for grown-ups, and that's with
six-footers seated up front. The backrests are set at relaxing angles so you
can really stretch out. And if you have to carry four passengers, three will
fit easily side-by-side with the low floor tunnel ensuring plenty of room for
any fidgety feet.
Adding to the satisfaction of the nicely contoured and heated rear outer seats
are pull-up sunblinds built into the doors, privacy glass, a wide, padded central
armrest (with built-in cupholders), large comfy outer armrests, dedicated air
vents, real-world door bins, large elasticated pouches on the front seatbacks,
reading lights, damped grabs, a 12v power socket and a USB charging port and,
for youngsters, Isofix child seat fixings.
The Sportswagon serves up a decent ride, remaining comfortingly unruffled despite
bumps and dodgy blacktop; the stiffer (there's been a 50 percent increase in
torsional rigidity) new bodyshell and independent suspension tweaks can take
credit for that, and for keeping passengers happy both in town and country.
Comfort-orientated 235/45 rubber helps, too.
On the move the Sportswagon remains reassuringly 'planted' at speeds, body movements
are well controlled, it corners confidently and drives fluently on all roads
in all traffic conditions, loping assuredly along motorways. Feeling agile for
its size, it serves up a well-mannered drive.
days it's very reassuring to have plenty of active safety systems looking out
for you. Especially useful is the blind spot warning that alerts you if you
pull out of your lane and something is coming up fast in your blind spot. There's
also Forward Collision Avoidance with pedestrian recognition, Lane Keep Assist,
Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Driver Attention Warning, along with the usual
stability and traction control systems, and Adaptive Smart Cruise Control to
take the strain out of heavily-congested motorways.
boot does all youd
expect, and then some.
For instance, the power
smart key in your pocket
just stand behind the car
for three seconds and
the wide tailgate opens
and quickly rises...
much appreciated feature when driving at night is the fast automatic main/dipped
beam switching of the full LED headlights which takes much of the uncertainty
out of driving along unfamiliar roads.
The boot does all you'd expect, and then some. For instance, the power tailgate
opens automatically totally hands-free with the smart key in your pocket
just stand behind the car for three seconds and say 'Open sesame' and the wide
tailgate opens and quickly rises granting unrestricted access to 552 litres.
Actually, I lied you don't have to say the magic words!
The boot can also be opened and closed using the dash button or the smart key.
When you need to do some heavy-duty hauling just pull the levers in the boot
sidewalls to drop the rear seatbacks in one easy action the result is
a seamless and totally flat-floored loadbay with a helpfully low load-sill that
can swallow 1,686 litres of cargo.
Being a Kia you get more than just a boot: under the floor is a custom slot
for the luggage cover roller blind along with a set of three good-sized compartments,
while above it is a set of multi-configurable sliding rails with integrated
harnesses to ringfence whatever it is you're carrying any which way you please.
It's also worth mentioning that the versatile 40:20:40-split rear backrests
allow you to mix-and-match long loads and passengers at will. And when it comes
to towing, the 1.6 CRDi will pull a braked 1,500kg.
If you're looking for an estate alternative to a family-sized SUV then the handsome
Optima Sportswagon deserves to be on your list. One can be on your driveway
for just £22K. Hugely accommodating, easy to drive and painless to run (55+mpg),
and with a 7-year, 100,000-mile transferable warranty, the Sportswagon impresses
more than some more expensive rivals. ~ MotorBar
Kia Optima Sportswagon 1.6 CRDi GT-Line S
Maximum speed: 120mph | 0-60mph: 11.4 seconds | Test Average: 54.2mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2: 122g/km