Sportswagon 3 1.7 CRDi ISG
of compact crossovers are
booming but something unpredicted
by the pollsters is happening
more and more family buyers are
turning away from large crossovers
and SUVs and making sleek estate
cars their Alpha set of wheels...
MORE GOOD NEWS is that the prestige and premium brands no longer offer
the only game in town providing equally as much pizzazz for your pound
is the Optima Sportswagon, from Kia.
While our intense test regime lasting eight days and seven nights gives us enough
feedback to pinpoint the good, the bad and the ugly about a car, a month is
clearly better. Sadly it's not possible to review as many cars each year as
we do for more than a week apiece but happily we can occasionally fit in a long-termer.
Recently we managed to find a five-week-window perfect for an extended review
whilst taking in the best of Dorset and Devon. The big question was
which car? As it was going to be a 'touring' trip with all but the proverbial
kitchen sink taken with us, we plumped for Kia's first-rate estate
the Optima Sportswagon.
it more than matches the upmarket-badged lifestyle estates in the looks department,
it doesn't cost anywhere near as much to put one on your drive: £22K will do
more than matches the
lifestyle estates in the
it doesnt cost anywhere
near as much
to put one on your drive:
£22K will do it...
And although the range-topping GT-Line S sells for £31K, all Optima Sportswagons
run with the same engine a 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel. If you're
a two-pedal driver then there's also a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
with steering wheel paddle-shifters that's fitted to the penultimate '3' (the
DCT auto) as well the range-topping GT-Line S.
The Sportswagon is fronted by a full-width metallic effect 'tiger-nose' grille
flanked by slim headlights inset into the upper front wings as far back as the
flat-cut front wheelarch flares. Lightly crafted flanks flow into strong, rising
shoulder lines that together with a tapering roofline all meet in a raked tailgate
with wide wraparound tail lamps to create a self-confident and athletic body.
Given that many Sportswagons will primarily serve a family, the cabin is still
the most important room in the house. Fortunately the Sportswagon's interior
is as accommodating as the swept-back glasshouse implies. Inner space is generous,
boosted by the spick-and-span 'widescreen' cabin architecture, and there's room
and to spare for your front passenger to shank-stretch without stealing legroom
from anyone sitting behind.
The driver is particularly well cared for with 8-way power operation plus 4-way
power lumbar support for the well-cushioned and nicely bolstered driver's seat
whoever's riding shotgun enjoys an equally comfortable chair but
with smooth manual adjustment. Both seats, by the way, get 3-stage heating.
And drivers will not only appreciate the two-setting memory but will also be
glad of the easy-access feature that can be left off or set to move a little
or even a lot to make entry easy-peasy.
Black mesh-effect cloth with a metallic sheen (mixed with persuasively good-looking
faux leather) is the covering for the seats which was great news during our
1,000-mile-plus mini-heat-wave trip (no ooh-ahhs on first contact after
the car had been left standing in the fierce sun); they'll be equally welcoming
during the chilly winter months, as will the steering wheel's heated rim.
Undoubtedly comfy, the Sportswagon also scores with its inviting ambiance and
smart trim, with soft-touch materials and fine fit-and-finish
so much so that even just popping round the corner for a takeaway is a feel-good
many other 'pluses' is a first-rate driving position made even better by the
first class visibility. The instrument cluster is clarity-led; straightforward
dials are separated by a clear multifunction trip display that along with the
expected info also shows roadside speed limit signs (repeated on the large 8-inch
central touchscreen's mapping) and the oh-so-essential digital speed readout.
operate a variety of
important functions from
the steering wheels
from navigation to cruise.
For the record, not only
are the 3D navigation
maps idiot-proof but so
too are the clearly spoken
even well off the beaten
track the Sportswagons
never once got it
your fingertips can operate a variety of important core functions from the steering
wheel's keypads everything from navigation to cruise. For the
record, not only are the 3D navigation maps idiot-proof but so too are the clearly
spoken directions even well off the beaten track along Devon's
narrow twisting lanes the Sportswagon's trustworthy 'SatNag' never once got
Another well-considered touch: the main infotainment screen is set at the same
horizontal level as the dials, so glancing between them is quicker and safer.
'Hard' buttons around the screen let you instantly jump into another menu while
a 'climate' button displays all the current climate settings on the touchscreen
so no distracting 'eyes down' for adjustments on the move.
Comms is a key factor for today's tech-savvy buyers and the Sportswagon won't
leave them short of ways to stay in touch on the go: standard-fit are Bluetooth
hands-free mobile phone connectivity with audio streaming, Android Auto (for
smartphone connected Google Maps, Google Play, hands-free calls and texts and
voice recognition), Kia's Connected Services with TomTom serving up not just
timely directions but speed camera and traffic alerts, weather reports and even
facilitating searches for local point-of-interest information. You'll also find
front and rear USB charging points and 12v power sockets.
Higher up the trim ladder wireless smartphone charging is included
just rest your mobile in the tray ahead of the gear lever and charging is automatically
activated; helpfully, the charge status is shown in the instrument cluster.
It's clever, too you'll be warned if you attempt to leave the
car without removing your smartphone!
Inside the Sportswagon you really can, when you're pootling around as well as
when you're in the cruise, hear the sound of silence. But if you would prefer
to listen to Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence in all its glory
then you'll be pleased to know that the Sportswagon comes with a harman/kardon
Premium Sound system with 8 speakers including a 4-inch central speaker, 490w
external amp and 8-inch subwoofer. Cool.
But you don't just get plenty of Audio, Communication and Information because
there's also a raft of safety and driver assist systems including unique-in-class
twin-radar Autonomous Emergency Braking this uses both short-
and long-range radar to detect vehicles and pedestrians. Really useful when,
as we found, over-eager drivers nip out of hidden side lanes.
fitted are Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert (warns if there's an unseen
vehicle approaching from either side when reversing out of a driveway or a parking
space), twin front and side airbags plus curtain bags, Speed Limit Information
(handily shown on the main screen as well as in the driver's display), Blind
Spot Detection, Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management,
Hill-start Assist Control, tyre pressure monitoring, height-adjustable front
seatbelts, cornering lights, headlamp washers, and LED rear combination lights.
to hear Simon & Garfunkels
The Sound of Silence
in all its glory?
Then youll be pleased
to know that the
Sportswagon comes with
Premium Sound system
with 8 speakers including
a 4-inch central speaker,
490w external amp and
Of course, all the 'little luxuries' are present and correct: automatic 2Zone
AirCon, electric parking brake (with a smooth 'drive-through' function), voice
recognition, tinted and privacy glass, reversing camera, front and rear parking
sensors, one-shot up/down electric windows, heated powerfold door mirrors (on
demand and automatically on locking and leaving), auto-dimming rearview mirror,
auto lights and wipes, automatic drive-away door locking, and a set of 18-inch
Not something you'd automatically check for in the showroom or out on a test
drive, but essential nonetheless in-cabin storage. No problem;
there's plenty of it with a large glovebox, sunglasses holder, long roomy door
pockets, and a very big storage bin with a lift-out top tray below the front
central armrest along with ample cupholders for your Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino
or whatever keeps you wired…
The limo-proportioned rear cabin's long side widows make for unspoilt views
out and it's all made even more liveable courtesy of a fist of headroom, well-shaped
outer seats with supportive backrests set at restful angles, masses of knee-
and foot-room, and room to really stretch those pins. The wide, padded centre
armrest (with built-in cupholders) can be folded away if three are to share
the back seat there's plenty of foot-room if they do.
Also making you feel right at home in the back are 12v and USB charging ports,
door bins capable of holding cans and small bottles very useful
for us as we needed supplies to keep us going as we drove from Kent to Devon
magazine pockets, and damped grabs. Nice, too, to have some paparazzi-proofing;
privacy glass is fitted from the B-pillars back.
of what trim level you go for, you'll get the same engine in the entry-level
Sportswagon as you would in the range-topper a 1.7-litre turbodiesel
with a muscular 250lb ft of torque and a useful 139bhp.
an agreeable unit, this four-pot; eager to please, it's decidedly willing and
you'll never feel the need to race through the gears to maintain momentum. Far
from it; even with a manual 'box Kia's grown-up estate served up an easy and
unruffled drive on our long journey. Apart from which, zipping through the gears
is a piece of cake thanks to the manual box's slick change action.
an agreeable engine,
this four-pot 1.7;
eager to please, its
decidedly willing and
youll never feel the need
to race through the gears
to maintain momentum.
Far from it; even with
a manual box it makes
Kias grown-up estate an
easy and unruffled drive.
Apart from which,
zipping through the gears
is a piece of cake
thanks to the manual
boxs slick change
benchmark 60mph comes up in 9.8 seconds and top speed is 124mph. Officially
the Combined Cycle figure is 64.2mpg with emissions of 113g/km so running one
isn't going to cause a meltdown with your bank card. Despite the amount of low
gear work required to negotiate Devon's switchback hills, our overall test average
came out at a very plesing 47.1mpg.
Ride-wise the Sportswagon handles both extremes well; with a full load of cargo
or a full complement of passengers it rides smoothly, taking bumps and second-grade
blacktop in its stride.
Dynamically it's quite easy to forget that it measures almost five metres nose
to tail because it responds well to the helm and feels fluently well-mannered.
On quick A- and B-roads there's more than enough grip to encourage some pressing-on
if you've a need for speed and on the testing country lanes off
the so-called 'Devon Expressway', the Sportswagon never put a wheel wrong.
Easily capable of swallowing four passengers and their driver, where the Sportswagon
also scores is with its versatile boot-cum-loadbay. Access is through a wide
tailgate: raised, it reveals a 552-litre boot for luggage or shopping (additionally
there are useful underfloor storage trays). Pulling the one-touch release levers
either side of the boot drop the 40:20:40-split rear seats to form a seamlessly
floored 1,686-litre cargo hold. Another timesaving feature is that the rear
belts don't get in the way when raising or lowering the back seats.
middle '20' section seatback can be dropped to accommodate large wide items
while still carrying an adult either side of it; alternately it can double as
an impromptu table for the kids. Really, really useful is the standard-fit multi-configurable
rail system that lets you corral just about anything exactly where you want
it either by itself or while mixed in with other cargo. If you absolutely need
every inch of space for passengers you can still 'haul some' a
braked 1,800kg. And that's not all: you can carry another 100kg on the slim
Handsome is as handsome does and that's absolutely true about
Kia's Optima Sportswagon. Comprehensively-specced, spacious and comfortable
(nary a twinge even after seven hours caught up in Bank Holiday traffic), roomy
for families and their holiday luggage, and priced affordably, it will satisfy
the head as well as the heart! ~ MotorBar
Kia Optima Sportswagon '3' 1.7 CRDi ISG
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-60mph: 9.8 seconds | Test Average: 47.1mpg
Power: 139bhp | Torque: 250lb ft | CO2: 113g/km