Kia Optima Sportswagon estate (2016-2020) - Reliability & safety

A great warranty means reliability shouldn’t be a worry with the Kia Optima SW, but it’s disappointing that hi-tech safety kit is reserved for the top-of-the-range model

Carbuyer Rating

3.3 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

3.5 out of 5

Kia reliability always has to be viewed in the context of the brand’s excellent warranty – although its cars tend to do well in customer-satisfaction surveys and aren’t prone to serious problems. In addition, the Optima saloon has been on sale for several years now, so any niggling teething problems will have been dealt with before finding their way into the estate.

The Optima SW also gets a full suite of passive and active safety equipment, but you have to spend big on the top-spec model if you want the very last word in protection.

Kia Optima Sportswagon reliability

As a fairly new model, the Optima SW hasn’t yet featured in our annual Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. And as the Optima saloon doesn’t sell in great numbers, not enough owners responded for it to feature in the 2016 edition, either.

Kia as a brand did reasonably well, however, ranking 14th out of 32 car brands overall and managing a top-10 position for reliability. As always with Kia, any reliability worries are greatly mitigated by the brand’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty – more than enough to cover the typical ownership duration of a car like this.


The Optima is a safe car, with the four-door saloon version getting the five-star stamp of approval when crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2015. Like that car, the Optima SW features plenty of the latest hi-tech safety kit in addition to airbags, hill-start assistance and the legally-mandated anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring.

The one caveat is that you have to spend more on a higher-spec trim level to get absolutely everything. The 3 model adds lane-keeping assistance and speed-limit warnings, but only the very top-spec GT Line S has blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming headlights and automatic emergency braking. It’s always disappointing when a manufacturer puts a price on safety like this.

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