But the reasonable people who will buy this Kia load lugger probably want to know about the engines first. There are three of them available at launch across Europe, but a few more may arrive next year. The basic unit is a 163 PS 2.0-liter SVVT, which is a funny way of saying it's a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter. We suspect nobody wants that, as the 1.7-liter CRDi has been the prime pick in Europe for several years. It's also available on the Optima wagon, delivering the same 141 PS that it does on its sedan brother. Both a manual and a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox are available. Take that Volkswagen!
Speaking of Vdub and its Passat, the Optima GT can play in the power battle too, thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-liter that offers 245 PS, slightly more than a Golf GTI. The Passat and Skoda Superb both have a 280 PS top-spec turbo engine, and we want to see drag races happening as soon as Kia starts selling the Optima SW.
“This is an important product for Kia in Europe, and it will increase our presence in this hugely important segment,” said Michael Cole, Chief Operating Officer Kia Europe. “In Europe, two-thirds of all sales in the D-segment, and three-quarters of all fleet sales in this class are made up of tourers, so the Optima Sportswagon will play a critical role in attracting new private and corporate buyers to the brand. This is an important conquest product for Kia.”
The cabin is mostly identical to that of the sedan. However, behind the 40/20/40 rear seats is a 553-liter trunk that's 48 liters larger than the Optima sedan's. Just like German wagons, the Optima has a metal scuff plate and rails on either side of the trunk for dividers and cargo nets. The Koreans haven't matched Skoda's flashlights and clever cubbies, but there's a cleverly hidden space under the floor of the trunk for laptops and nicknacks.
The Optima Sportswagon is due to go on sale across Europe in Q4 2016. By that time, the UVO system will be equipped with Android Auto and Apple Carplay as standard.