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 14,400 Insurance group 20A Typical Insurance quote £595 0-62mph 10.7sec Top speed 124mph

November 2017 – mile crunching

I have covered a serious amount of miles in the last week. From home in the South Downs I’ve been to Derby, dashed down to Birmingham, then up to Winsford in Cheshire, down to North Wales, then Swindon, and back home, with a trip down and back to Newquay thrown in for good measure. Phew. This has helped the odometer storm through 14,000 miles in the four months I’ve had it.

I’ve already done lots of miles in the Kia Optima Sportswagon but the big journeys have thankfully been spread out. This was a huge test for the car – and my mental sanity.

My previous longest journey was down to Cornwall in lovely warm sunshine, but this recent spate of long-distance journeys have been in more traditional English weather. A few fresh morning early starts left the windscreen and windows doused in condensation. The wipers got rid of the worst on the outside, but on the inside it was still foggy. Even with the heating and air-con set to maximum windscreen demist, I still had to wait it out for around four minutes before it had cleared. This was in around seven degrees, so I’m slightly concerned what it will be like as the colder winter months approach. Ford, and other manufacturers, have a clever heated windscreen system, but this isn’t available on the Kia.

Kia Optima Sportswagon long-term review

Slow morning starts aside, it’s eaten up the miles well. The seats are comfortable, if not quite as luxurious as more expensive wagons like the Volvo V90. It is handy that the Kia's driver’s seat is electrically adjustable, with a memory function, so small tweaks here and there to change your driving position on long journeys are easy to make on the move.

The majority of my miles were spent on motorways, and the Sportswagon is great in that environment. The cruise control is really simple and intuitive to use with your thumb, and it’s been really useful.

The ride on the motorway is fine, road noise and wind noise are quite well suppressed, but the engine does get rather rattly and noisy when accelerating hard. At a cruise this noise fades into the background though.

Really the amount of miles I’ve covered would be a stern test of comfort for even a Rolls-Royce. But I’m not sick of the Kia by any means, it’s still comfortable, practical and to my eyes it's one of the more attractive estates out there. It also hasn’t missed a beat: no technical glitches, no mechanical hiccups. Despite covering so many miles in such a short space of time, I'm still happy stepping into the Kia Optima Sportswagon – and that is praise indeed.

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