Our time with the KIA Optima SW was brief, but it was enough to give us a feel for the vehicle. Comfort and practicality are the first things to hit you about this car. The interior is a nice mix of fabric and black leather. However, all of this black material did make the interior of our test model slightly boring. Apart from the lack of flair, the interior is made up of what feels like good quality stuff. The plastics on the dash are soft. The infotainment system is easy to use. The button cluster under the dash looks very BMW-ish in appearance. The screen itself seems to sit differently from the rest of the KIA range – it seems different from the dash in the Sorento, the Sportage and even the new Niro. There’s nothing wrong with this, it just surprised me.
Space to both the front and rear is excellent. There is ample legroom in the back and there seems to be enough room for five adults. There is also a 12V charger and a USB port in row two – which is always a good thing. You will also find a 12V charger, a USB point and an Aux-in in the front row.
What differentiates this car from the Optima saloon is the fact that it has an estate rear. Space in here is excellent and it offer 552 litres. It’s still not up to the space that you’d get in a Superb, but it is pretty impressive. It also looks good as an estate car and it reminds me a bit of the old Honda Accord Estate.
Of course, the Tiger nose grille is very prominent to the front, and overall the Optima SW maintains the classiness of the Optima saloon.
Driving the Optima, you straight away notice the steering wheel. It’s thick and has a nice feel to it. On corners the Optima feels like it’s going a bit wide, but apart from that it soaks up bumps nicely. The six-speed manual gearbox is slightly clunky, but as a package, it makes for a comfortable rid.
This car comes with just one engine to the Irish market – a 1.7 litre diesel. It is noisy when you turn over the engine and if you accelerate heavily it can be loud. Bring it to cruising speeds though and everything evens out. This engine gives 141 bhp and for those of you who are interested, it will bring you from 0-100km/h in 10.2 seconds. Maximum torque is 340Nm at 1750-2500rpm.
We haven’t had a long enough test drive in this vehicle to offer much of an opinion on fuel economy. However, the vehicle had only 261km on the clock when we drove it and the average economy read 8.4l/100km. This is definitely not a fair reading considering that this car had been driven for the morning by various motor journalists who would have been checking acceleration, braking, performance, etc. On paper we are told that the average economy could be as good as 4.4 l/100km.
So, so-far-so-good for the Optima SW. It looks great, drives nicely and that tiger nose grille is an excellent piece of design. The only thing we’d like to see for the moment is a more exciting interior. We look forward to a full test drive soon.
Just one trim makes it to the Irish market, the EX. This starts at €29,950 and comes with 18” alloys, 7” Sat Nav, Android Auto and much more.