Kia has revealed details of two new additions to its Optima model range: an estate and a plug-in hybrid.
Both are intended to show the South Korean manufacturer’s desire to expand its range and break into new markets. It also signals a commitment to building Europe-specific models to expand the brand outside of Asia and North America.
The most important model from a sales volume perspective is the estate, or Sportswagon in Kia-speak. This body style makes up two-thirds of D-segment sales and accounts for 75 per cent of fleet sales, so Kia is hoping this is the model that kick-starts the slow uptake of the Optima range.
Designed in Europe for sale exclusively in this region, it is the same size as the saloon in most areas, apart from being 5mm taller thanks to the integrated roof rails. It comes with 552 litres of of cargo space that expands to 1,686 litres with the rear seats folded.
There’s only one engine available in the Sportswagon – Kia’s 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel, which develops 139bhp and 340Nm of torque. In manual guise, official CO2 emissions are 113g/km and fuel economy is 64.2mpg, while cars equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission are rated at 120g/km and 61.4mpg.
Kia’s first PHEV model is only available as a saloon. The hybrid drivetrain is made up of a 154bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 67bhp electric motor. Kia claims it has an electric-only range of up to 33 miles.
Interestingly, it has opted for a traditional dual-clutch transmission rather than the typical hybrid option of a CVT. It claims that this is because the latter isn’t fun to drive – instead, it worked on building an enjoyable DCT that’s as efficient as a CVT.
The Kia Optima Sportswagon costs from £22,295, while the PHEV comes in at £31,495 after the government’s £2,500 plug-in car grant has been deducted.
After completing his university studies in English and Creative Writing in Cardiff, Jack is now a full time motoring writer at Blackball Media. His love of cars stems from his childhood years when he began to live and breathe all-things automotive.