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Geneva show: Kia outs Optima Sportswagon

Designer hauler: The Optima Sportswagon follows the basic design of the striking Sportspace concept from last year's Geneva motor show.

Kia Optima Sportswagon heading to Geneva show, but Australian future unclear


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18 Feb 2016

KIA has uncovered its sleek Optima Sportswagon ahead of its Geneva motor show debut, but the chances of it being added to the Australian roster is looking shaky.

The wagon makes its debut three months after the Australian launch of the new Optima sedan, but the popularity of SUVs Down Under and expected low sales volume could mean it never hits our shores.

Kia Australia general manager media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth told GoAuto that the load-lugging Optima is “definitely on the table”, but the low take-up of station wagons in Australia could work against its business case.

“It is certainly under consideration, but the issue is, having a good look at the market, wagons are not particularly strong here,” he said.

“If you are going to cannibalise anything it's probably going to be out of your SUV market. So it is going to take a bit of thinking about. The car itself is lovely. It is just a matter of what we think it could do and whether it can improve the model line-up or if it's just going to be a distraction, if you like.”

If it was given the green light for Australia it would face direct competition from the likes of the Volkswagen Passat, Skoda Octavia, Mazda6, Ford Mondeo, Hyundai i40 and possibly the Subaru Outback.

In terms of dimensions, the Sportswagon is 4855mm long, 1860mm wide, 1470mm high – 5mm more than the sedan – slightly smaller than those of the Mondeo but larger than the Octavia.

The wagon body style means a 48-litre increase in cargo space over the sedan to 553 litres, exceeding the capacity of the Mondeo (488 litres), but less than the Octavia (588 litres).

Kia says it has included some handy features including a safety barrier net built into the back of the rear 40/20/40 split-fold seats, pop-up sliding luggage rails to secure items that might slide around, a power tailgate that opens when a smart key is near the tailgate and a low, flat boot lip.

The exterior design is inspired by the Sportspace concept and retains its large D-pillar and overall shape but ditches the sportier flourishes and more aggressive stance. Neat LED tail-lights wrap around the rear where an integrated air diffuser is housed in the bumper with a single oval exhaust.

As with the sedan, the Sportswagon is built using advanced high-strength steel for extra safety and reduced weight, and will be offered in some markets with active safety features such as adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, high beam system, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a speed limiter.

The fully independent suspension has been carried over from the sedan, but spring, damper and alignment settings have been tweaked for the wagon body style.

Engines offered in Europe include a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol producing 120kW/196Nm, a 180kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol unit – the same unit in the Australian-spec Optima GT – and a 1.7-litre 104kW/340Nm turbo-diesel.

The Optima Sportwagon will also be available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity systems. In Australia, the Sportage SUV will feature the systems in the coming months, but the Korean car-maker is working on a wider roll out.

GoAuto reported in late 2014 that Kia would build a wagon version of its fourth-generation Optima, several months before the 2015 Geneva show debut of the Kia Sportspace concept that previewed the mid-size wagon.

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