Kia has debuted its first-ever midsize wagon at the Geneva Auto Show, with the Kia Optima Sportswagon the centrepiece of the Korean automaker's show stand ahead of its Euro-market launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
Inspired by the Kia Sportspace concept that was revealed at Geneva last year, the Optima Sportswagon grafts a bigger bum to the Optima's bodyshell, bringing 43 litres more luggage space (for a total of 553L) and greater load-carrying versatility.
It all fits in the same footprint as the sedan, with overall length, width and wheelbase being identical to the Optima sedan (which went on sale here in November last year). The only dimensional growth is in height, which increases by just 5mm.
The resulting silhouette is sleek for a wagon, with LED tail-lights wrapping around into the tailgate and a faux diffuser in the rear bumper lending a sporty aura to the Sportswagon's rump.
Other wagon-specific features include a 40:20:40 split rear seatback with integrated retractable cargo barrier, sliding luggage rails set into the boot floor, a low loading lip and a powered tailgate.
The rest of the interior appears to be shared with the Optima sedan.
Underneath, Kia has re-tuned the Optima's suspension to accommodate the Sportswagon's extra heft and changed weight distribution, though the suspension remains a MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear setup.
Electronically-adjustable dampers will be available as an option.
Three engines will be offered in Europe - a 1.7 litre CRDi diesel with 104kW and 340Nm, a 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated petrol with 120kW/196Nm or a turbocharged 2.0 litre petrol with 180kW and 353Nm - the same engine as found in the Optima GT sedan.
All engines are Euro 6b emissions compliant, and all take power to the front wheels. A six-speed manual is standard on both the 2.0 litre petrol and 1.7 litre diesel, while the 2.0 litre turbo-petrol gets a six-speed auto as standard.
A six-speed automatic is optional for the 2.0 atmo engine, with the 1.7 litre diesel mated to a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic.
According to Kia Australia's General Manager of Corporate Communications Kevin Hepworth, there is currently no concrete plan to bring the Optima Sportswagon to Australia - though it's not entirely off the table either:
"Kia Motors Australia will certainly be having a close look at the Sportswagon, but there is quite a bit of research still needed to see how a wagon might fit into the model line-up, particularly given the seemingly ever-increasing popularity of SUVs," Hepworth said to TMR.
"We won’t be rushing into a decision, but the discussion is on the table."