Kia has recently added an estate to the Optima range, and though estates are not big sellers in Ireland, the new Optima estate is arguably better-looking than the saloon. It also boasts more space and a practical interior, so it most definitely is a worthy addition to the range.
The Optima SW (Sportswagon) is a looker and Kia has not strayed too far from the Sportspace concept that preceded this production version. It has tonnes of presence and looks more expensive than its modest €29,950 price tag.
The Kia Optima SW is exceptionally good value because Kia Ireland are making it available in just one high specced trim level (EX) and this is a very large car (no kidding!). The rear footwells are huge and the roofline is high enough to accommodate taller passengers. The boot is huge too of course – 552 litres versus 510 in the saloon, with the bonus of a wide opening and low loading sill. It’s not too difficult to see how the Kia Optima SW would make an excellent family car.
The interior feels well-built and there are soft touch materials mixed through that add more sophistication to an otherwise quite plain interior. But plain usually means easy to navigate and that applies here too. Infotainment is provided via a 7” touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
Other equipment as standard on the Optima SW includes 18” alloys, auto lights and wipers, cruise control, leather covered steering wheel, dual zone climate control, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, parking sensors and reversing camera.
There is just one engine available – Kia’s 1.7 diesel with 141hp. It is perfectly capable in the Optima SW and overtaking manoeuvres can be done quickly and efficiently. Yes, the engine does get a bit coarse at high revs but at a cruise it blends away into the background. This car will cost €190 to tax per year and can return up to a claimed 64mpg.
On the road, this is a large, comfortable car that takes motorway journeys in its stride. But it is not the sharpest car dynamically. The light steering is wonderful in town because it makes it very agile in low speed manoeuvres. It becomes frustrating as you pick up speed on faster roads out of town, where you would long for a bit more weight, and there is also not much in the way of feedback.
It holds the road well enough but naturally that big long body starts to lean if it’s pushed too hard through corners. But so long as you’re not looking for a sporting estate, the Optima gets by just fine at a more relaxed pace.
The Kia Optima SW is a handsome beast that is exceptionally good value for its high spec and large interior and capacious boot. The Optima SW may find its biggest competition coming from its Sportage SUV stablemate because they are similarly priced, but don’t rule out this stylish estate car.
Model tested: Kia Optima SW 1.7 EX diesel
0-100km/h: 10.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 113g/km
Motor tax: €190 per year