Around the same time last year, Kia released several pictures of the Kia Sportspace Concept, which is essentially the wagon-bodied Optima. A little while after that, the Korean carmaker was said to have shelved plans of actually producing it. Well, all that has changed now.
Revealed here in full glory is Kia’s first ever D-Segment tourer, a variant of great importance to the European market. Chances of it coming our way is a little bleak to say the least (much less the hotter 242 hp Optima GT), so let’s not get too excited just yet. Its sheer size is equal to that of the sedan, measuring 4,855mm in length and 1,860mm wide, but it’s 5mm taller to accommodate the larger 553-litre cargo capacity.
Design wise, both the Optima sedan and Sportswagon look identical from the front, but things change when viewed from the rear. The LED tail lamps are different to that of the sedan, though we must admit they suit the overall look just fine. Squaring off the rump are the oval exhaust and an integrated air diffuser. On the GT variant, the diffusers are more aggressive-looking.
The interior remains largely the same, featuring either a 7.0-inch or 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Like the sedan, the former unit doesn’t come with satellite navigation system which is reserved for the fancier 8.0-inch head unit. Both systems however, support Apple CarPlay and AndriodAuto. To make full use of a screen that big, the Optima incorporates a 360-degree Around View Monitor, courtesy of four externally positioned cameras.
Six speakers come as standard, but depending on which continent you live on, an eight-speaker 590-Watt Harman Kardon sound system can be specified, boosted with an amplifier and subwoofer with Clari-Fi MP3 restoration technology. The Optima also comes with a 5W wireless charging tray for compatible smartphones.
But of course, the core of this subject is its practicality, and Kia is branding it as the most practical Optima ever. Its 553-litre cargo space is approximately 48 litres larger than the sedan’s, but Kia has yet to confirm on the exact volume the Sportswagon will give when its the rear bench gets folded flat (40:20:40 configuration). To ease the loading process, this Optima comes with a Smart Power Tailgate system that automatically opens the boot when the key fob is detected within range.
Now, Kia has yet to disclose the Optima Sportswagon’s full technical details, but from what we know, Europe-bound Optimas will be powered by a 1.7-litre CRDi diesel, 2.0-litre CVVL petrol and the hotter 2.0-litre T-GDI (Turbocharged Gasoline Direct Injection) engine. The oil burning lump produces 140 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 340 Nm of torque from 1,750 to 2,000 rpm. Two transmissions will be available for the diesel – a six-speed manual or a new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Opt for the naturally aspirated 2.0-litre CVVL petrol and you’ll get 161 horsepower and 196 Nm of torque channeled to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or six-speed conventional automatic. The range topping GT variant gets a turbocharged four-cylinder GDI engine making 243 hp at 6,000 rpm and 353 Nm of torque from a low 1,350 to 4,000 rpm. A sole six-speed torque converter gearbox is offered here. All engines have four cylinders, 16 valves and are Euro6 emissions compliant.
The 2016 Kia Optima Sportswagon will go on sale across Europe in the fourth quarter this year and will come with the company’s 7-Year or 160,000km warranty programme. All European Optimas will be built at Kia’s Hwasung manufacturing facility in Korea.