Kia Optima Sportswagon long-term test

Korean car convert and What Car? photographer Will Williams needs something that's spacious, economical and comfortable for long trips. Will a Kia Optima estate fit the bill?...

Kia Optima Sportswagon long-term review
  • The car Kia Optima Sportswagon 1.7 CRDi ‘3’ 7-speed DCT auto ISG
  • Run by Will Williams, photographer
  • Why it’s here As one of the newer estates out there, we want to see if it makes more sense than the ubiquitous SUV
  • Needs to Sip fuel, have a flexible and commodious load area and be comfortable on long journeys

Price £26,055 Price as tested £26,600 Options Temptation Red paint (premium) £545 Official combined MPG 64.2mpg True MPG na Test economy 41.6mpg Tank 70 litres Contract hire £225.67 CO2 120g/km Miles covered 10,546 Insurance group 20A Typical Insurance quote £595 0-62mph 10.7sec Top speed 124mph

21 September 2017 – wagon duty in Cornwall

A week-long trip to Cornwall gave me the chance to test the Kia’s touring abilities. The Hyundai Ioniq that's also on our fleet has a fine boot, but it's still essentially a family hatchback sized-car. The Kia Optima Sportswagon is a different kettle of fish. It’s a proper estate and that meant I could be a bit more adventurous with my holiday itinerary.

Packing for the trip, I managed to squeeze two bikes into the back – after taking off the saddles and front wheels on both. There are levers in the boot to flatten rear seats and they go pretty much as flat as a pancake. But the roofline slopes towards the back because of the shape of the car; so it’s not quite like any of the old square Volvo estates, which could fit everything and the kitchen sink in. Having said that, the Kia still managed to get a week’s luggage for two people in, along with the two bikes. Plus, it doesn’t have a boot lip, so sliding heavy stuff into the back is easy.

Kia Optima Sportswagon long-term review

When we got down to Cornwall, the gearbox did struggle with some of the Cornish hills. On steep ascents, the downshifts weren’t subtle and it was keen to drop too many gears lower; going down a hill, it was often stuck in a lower gear again. I mostly resorted to using the paddles to shift manually for those tricky hill routes.

But, generally, it was a great holiday wagon. It’s a big thing, but there’s front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera as standard, so it was a doddle moving it into tight Cornish parking spaces and generally it proved to be comfortable and ideal space-wise for what we needed on the trip. The upgraded Harman Kardon stereo was great on the long journeys as well, being punchy and clear. Likewise, having Apple CarPlay was useful in the Kia Optima Sportswagon, especially for choosing songs on Spotify.

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