Driving

Kia Optima Sportswagon review

Manufacturer price from:£23,100
What Car? Target Price:£21,710
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Kia Optima Sportswagon
Review continues below...
24 Oct 2018 12:24 | Last updated: 1 Nov 2018 12:47

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

We’re yet to drive the 2.0-litre petrol engine, but the 1.6-litre diesel is generally fine for a car of this size. Sure, 134bhp looks modest next to an equivalent Superb or Mondeo, but while it’s not as quick as its rivals away from the lights, it’s flexible enough during normal driving, picking up smartly from around 2000rpm. The problem is that flexibility is short-lived: it runs out of puff by 4000rpm.

On a cold start, it grumbles away, and it still sounds a bit strained even when warm – especially if you stretch it beyond the mid-range. Even though a Superb 2.0 TDI 150 isn’t whisper-quiet either, it’s less raucous than the Optima.

The Optima's manual gearshift has a long throw, but it's light and fairly precise. The optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic 'box is clunky at low speed, but once you're in the flow of things, it changes smoothly.

But the Sportswagon isn't as engaging to drive as its rivals. Its steering is vague along the straight-ahead, before gaining weight suddenly and unnaturally as you turn the wheel. Both the Superb and Mondeo are less wallowy, steer more intuitively and, as a consequence, are easier to drive over a distance.

Ride quality is more of a mixed bag. At low speeds across broken town roads, the Sportwagon can be a bit lumpy, but it works better on the motorway, feeling rather more settled and comfortable.

There are 4 trims available for the Optima estate. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
2
It may be the entry-point to the range, but you get 17in alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a 7.0in touchscreen with sat-nav, Bluetooth...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£21,710
Average Saving £1,390
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3
Well worth looking at if you like your toys. It adds 18in alloy wheels, privacy glass, eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated steer wheel, heated front seats, lane keep assist, and...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£23,772
Average Saving £1,528
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GT-Line S
Adds LED headlights, wireless phone charging, a panoramic glass sunroof, powered tailgate, keyless entry and go, automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring...View trim
Fuel Diesel
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£29,491
Average Saving £1,909
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GT
This top-spec model comes with the 2.0-litre petrol engine, some upgraded design details including red brake calipers and more agressive-looking bumpers, leather seats and all the other upgrades th...View trim
Fuel Petrol
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£31,384
Average Saving £1,966
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