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Next-gen Kia Optima to get wagon, evolutionary design

Hey good looking: The Kia Optima drew attention when it was unveiled at the 2010 New York motor show for its bold design, but the styling of the next-gen version won’t be quite as dramatic.

Kia’s next Optima to feature evolutionary styling, and could spawn a wagon

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Kia logo2 Oct 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

KIA’S next-generation Optima will feature an evolutionary design over the current model when it makes its debut next year, and a wagon could finally be on the cards for the company’s mid-size contender.

The all-new Optima is expected to be revealed early in 2015, ahead of a projected global roll-out that includes Australia in the second half of the year.

Sources have revealed to GoAuto that an expansion of the Optima range to include a wagon body-style is on the cards, which would add a load-lugging version to the line up for the first time.

While a wagon version of the existing Optima was rumoured to be in development shortly after the sedan’s debut, but never came to fruition.

Kia is aggressively chasing growth in Europe, and a big-booted variant would help boost the South Korean company further in the wagon-loving market.

If the family-hauling version gets the green light from Kia’s big wigs, and approval for the Australian market, it is unlikely that it would make much of an impact on Kia’s local sales, given the low take-up of wagons Down Under.

Speaking with Australian media at a Paris motor show event, Kia Motors president and design chief Peter Schreyer said the styling of the next Optima will be faithful to the current-gen model which has been praised for its striking design.

“I think the Optima is a very strong car and so with the next Optima I think we should be kind of careful and true to what we have done and not disappoint the customer with something completely different where they say ‘what have they done now?’,” he said.

Mr Schreyer said the look of the fourth-generation Optima may not have the same dramatic impact as the current model did when it was revealed at the 2010 New York motor show.

“The question that we can’t always make such big steps. The next Optima will be closer to the current Optima than the current Optima was to the one before.”

As GoAuto has reported, the new Optima will almost certainly be offered with Kia’s new diesel-electric hybrid powertrain that it is showcasing under the bonnet of a current-gen model at the Paris show this week.

The ‘mild’ hybrid powertrain combines a 1.7-litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine with an electric motor and 48-volt lead-carbon battery pack to boost power by 15 to 20 per cent while cutting fuel consumption and emissions.

A petrol-electric hybrid has been available in the existing Optima for some time in various markets, with Australia missing out, but Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth said hybrids are “back under serious consideration” for the local market.

While the new diesel-electric powertrain is yet to be officially confirmed for the next Optima, Mr Hepworth said the company’s local arm would be keen to use it as the introductory hybrid engine for Australia.

“If that diesel-hybrid was available, it would be at top of our shopping list,” he said.

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