Sportswagon GT joins updated Kia Optima range

Updated Optima range starts at £22,260; on sale now with new engines and a flagship GT edition

The Kia Optima has been updated and restructured. The sports-styled GT-line S trim level is now only offered on the Kia Optima Sportswagon estate, and joins an all-new, high-performance Sportswagon GT.

The Optima Sportswagon GT closes the gap between existing Kia Optima models and the Kia Stinger sports saloon. Both were developed by the brand's high-performance vehicles team, headed by former BMW engineer Albert Biermann, with rigorous testing at the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany and on some of the most demanding roads in Europe.While the Sportswagon GT heads the range, more humble models in the Optima line-up have received a comprehensive facelift, with freshened styling and new technology as well as a brand new diesel engine.

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Updated Kia Optima engines and technology

Kia has introduced a 1.6-litre CRDI diesel engine to the Kia Optima saloon and Kia Optima Sportswagon estate range. Replacing the previous 1.7-litre engine, the 1.6-litre produces 134bhp, which is enough for a claimed 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds with a six-speed manual gearbox, or 11.4 seconds when the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is fitted.

Fuel economy is improved compared to the previous engine – the 1.6-litre is claimed to return up to 64.2mpg in the Optima saloon or 61.4mpg in the Sportswagon estate. CO2 figures range from 117 to 121g/km depending on trim level, which means Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax ratings from 28-29%.

The 2.0-litre T-GDi petrol engine is available only in the Sportswagon GT. It develops 241bhp, which is enough for a claimed 0-62mph time of 7.3 seconds. Plenty of overtaking punch is promised thanks to a standard six-speed automatic gearbox. Business users may wish to stick with diesel, though – the speedy petrol engine returns 30.7mpg and its 211g/km CO2 emissions place the GT in the top 37% band for BiK.

The GT also boasts an uprated electric power steering system, suspension lowered by 10mm with stiffened springs for improved cornering response. The brakes are larger, front and rear, and 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, wrapped in wide low-profile tyres.

Design and features

The facelifted Kia Optima range boasts redesigned front bumpers, new headlamps, foglamps and LED tail-lamps and a bright chrome finish to Kia's trademark 'tiger-nose' grille. New 17 and 18-inch alloy wheel designs are offered, too. There's also a new look to the interior, with a redesigned steering wheel and satin-chrome trim for the dashboard and centre console.

Kia has also reinforced the Optima's roster of safety features. Autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance and auto-dipping headlights are all available depending on trim level, as is a driver fatigue alert system.

The restructured Optima range sees only two trim levels (2 and 3) offered for the saloon, while the Sportswagon estate line-up comprises 2, 3 and GT-line S as well as the new, high-performance GT.

The entry-level 2 model boasts a seven-inch touchscreen sat-nav system with European mapping by TomTom, as well as DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a reversing camera. Outside, 17-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights are fitted, while black cloth seats with driver's lumbar adjustment, a leather steering wheel and gear selector grace the interior. Convenience features include cruise control and dual-zone climate control.

Stepping up to 3 increases the infotainment screen size to eight inches and adds an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory, as well as heating for the front seats and steering wheel, and faux-leather sections of seat upholstery. There's also a 490W Harmon Kardon sound system with eight speakers, while driver fatigue warning, lane-keeping assistance and speed limit recognition are standard. A set of 18-inch wheels and privacy glass add distinction outside.

The Sportswagon-only GT-Line S adds additional safety equipment that includes rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring, as well as autonomous emergency braking, auto-dipping headlights, active cruise control and a 360-degree camera system. There's also a wireless smartphone charging system, panoramic sunroof and powered tailgate. Outside, special 18-inch wheels, LED fog lamps and a bodykit set a sporty mood, with twin exhaust outlets. The sporty theme continues inside, with red-stitched black leather upholstery and ambient interior lighting that turns red when 'sport' mode is engaged.

The range-topping GT builds on the look of the GT-Line with added gloss black and satin chrome exterior details, with a rear diffuser flanked by twin exhausts. Inside, the sports seats have additional bolstering for added support, and are trimmed in red leather, with black bolsters and contrasting red stitching. Heated seats are fitted front and rear, and the driver's seat adjusts electrically in eight planes of movement. The GT also boasts a unique instrument panel with a digital turbocharger boost gauge.

Kia Optima pricing and availability

The updated Kia Optima range is now available, with prices starting at £22,260 for the 2 saloon with the 1.6-litre diesel engine. The same model costs £23,100 in Sportswagon form. The flagship Sportswagon GT starts at £33,350.

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