Kia Optima Sportwagon PHEV Review

4 weeks ago by Mark Kane 12

Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV

The new plug-in hybrid Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV offered in Europe, was recently tested by Autocar, but in the end, the new Kia surprisingly received just 3.5 out of 5 stars – somewhat of a irregularity for plug-ins rated by the magazine.

Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV

Autocar finds the plug-in Optima refined, quiet, nicely damped and comfortable to drive.  Also, smooth acceleration from a standstill was noted, and also a good fuel consumption level while in electric mode – but there were other drawbacks on the other side of the ledger.

At higher speeds and even mid-range, the acceleration starts to let the driver down (the electric motor is rated at just 50 kW), and the handling doesn’t impress – especially because of the additional weight of the battery.

“Where the extra 200kg over the standard Optima Sportswagon is really noticeable is in corners. Change lanes sharply or take a tight roundabout at a pace quicker than leisurely, and despite the excellent grip, you can feel the car shift its weight from one side to the other. That makes the car feel cumbersome, flabby and less confidence-inspiring than it should, which is a bit conflicting with the reasonably punchy acceleration.

The directness of the steering is promising, but it appears to have been given a local anaesthetic. The weighting is nice, though, being light and manoeuvrable at low speeds and weighting up at speed. There’s a bit of a dead zone around the centre, though.”

The Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV is still a decent offering, in the top trim even brings a reported semi-premium feel, but according to Autocar, it loses out to the Volkswagen Passat GTE on the overall vehicle dynamics.

Check out the full Autocar review here.

Kia Optima Sportswagon PHEV spec:

  • Combined power output of 202bhp, with 375Nm of torque. Combines a 154bhp 2.0-litre direct-injection petrol engine with a 50kW (67bhp) electric motor. The motor replaces the torque converter in the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.
  • 0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds
  • 11.26 kWh battery – up from 9.8 kWh in saloon)
  • Up to 38 miles (61 km) of all-electric range NEDC (think ~28 miles/45 km real world/EPA estimated)
  • Cd 0.28
  • The Sportswagon’s combined fuel economy figure is 201.8mpg (saloon 176.6mpg). CO2 figure of just 33g/km (saloon 37g/km)
  • can carry 440 litres of cargo with the 40:20:40 split rear seats upright, or 1,574 litres when they are folded,  payload of 390kg

source: Autocar

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12 responses to "Kia Optima Sportwagon PHEV Review"

  1. Ford Prefect says:

    This looks like a Saab reborn!

    1. Rob says:

      Absolutly, it’s a Saab!

      1. James says:

        A bit longer and sleeker with obvious styling similarities.

        Is that a bad thing? SAAB designed fighter jets thus knew a thing or two about aerodynamics.

        1. Mikael says:

          It’s a great thing. SAABs were awesome and the design really cool.

  2. Nix says:

    “Sportswagon” followed by “0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds” doesn’t sound seem right.

  3. James says:

    I assume this is not for N. America it seems since this is a European offering only. The article doesn’t inform me of this. We have to guess at many of the specifications for American standard system of measurement.

    What is the vehicle curb weight? What is the gas mode MPG?

    Funny how negative the comments from N. America can be about a wagon.

    Wagons have nearly the same practical passenger and cargo utility of crossover SUVs but weigh less and cut through the air cleaner= more efficient + lower cost to build and buy. A great vehicle type for many that the auto hype machine nearly killed in N.America playing on human vanities. Saying a “Sport Utility” is sporty simply isn’t true either.It’s called marketing.

    Name me a sport SUV and I’ll laugh loudly. Not much sport in any SUV. Plus, adding big power, tires and suspensions onto Utility vehicles meant to be practical is irrational and counterproductive. I’d say a car like the Model X shows electric lower can provide quick start and midrange speed for a few yuks or for safe passing but carving around a road course in a SUV or pounding a curvy mountain road in one is utter nonsense in my book. Especially by EV fans who say they covet efficiency.

    A wagon this could be very nice if batteries were under the floor and EV range were over 50-60 miles.

  4. James says:

    Outside the U.S. cars like this are called estate cars or estate wagons, estates or wagons.

    Our ancient nomenclature of “station wagon” needs updating. Just like “minivan” – seen a family van you’d classify as “mini” lately? They’re huge! Family vans are MPVs and these types of vehicles would sell much better if we changed their labeling.

    Reminds me of the Volkswagen sales flop they named the “Phaeton”. The car was OK but it definitely did not fit the classification of the name! Every auto publication was scratching their heads. Or how GM came up with the confusing Bolt name and tries to call it a crossover. Is the Honda Fit or Nissan Versa a CUV?!. Of course they aren’t. The Bolt?

  5. CDAVIS says:

    “Up to 38 miles (61 km) of all-electric range NEDC (think ~28 miles/45 km real world/EPA estimated)”
    ——–

    Any EV Hybrid with less than 40miles AER-EPA will be a very tough sale to the informed EV consumer. To GM’s credit this is something GM early on factored in with the Volt.

    1. fotomoto says:

      Hmm? Volt 1.0 was 35 miles yet sold just as well as Volt 2.0. Prime with “only 25 miles” is looking to outsell Volt this year.

    2. Mikael says:

      Not at all. Almost no one chooses PHEV based on range.

      And a tight 4½-seater will not really ever compete with a sportswagon.

  6. CDAVIS says:

    @Mikael said: “Almost no one chooses PHEV based on range.”
    ——

    So why then is there a trend of PHEV car makers upping the AER on their next gen models? For example the Chevy Volt in 2011 started with an AER-EPA of 35miles and today its 52miles.

    1. Mikael says:

      Because the people who buy, own and look at those cars all demand more range, more range and more range.

      It’s like that for every brand. BMW plug-in owners demand more range for their next BMW buy. But they won’t buy a Chevy no matter how much range it has.

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