What are you driving?
It's the Kia Optima Sportswagon or SW for short - or simply 'estate' to the rest of us not taken in by all the marketing bumf. Reflecting low demand for D-segment estates in Ireland, the Optima SW is offered in a single well-specified grade called EX (actually, there's something called 'EXS' on the price list too, but that's the same thing with a sunroof added).
Included as standard are stylish 18-inch alloy wheels, electric folding door mirrors, Bluetooth, a tactile leather trimmed multifunction steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, one-touch electric windows all round, auto lights and wipers, part-leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, a rear view camera, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment and satnav. That's a lot of car for a very reasonable €29,950 - or €1,700 more than the equivalent Kia Optima saloon - even without mentioning the brand's standard seven-year warranty. The only engine option is Kia's venerable 1.7-litre CRDi turbodiesel unit, though it seems to have most bases covered with its low road tax and yet 141hp.
Name its best bits
The styling of the Kia Optima SW is worth commenting on as it, in my opinion, is far better looking than the saloon it's based on. That's thanks to the detail design at the back (the front is unchanged), with more than a nod to Kia's much-loved Sportspace concept of 2015. Behind the new tailgate is a very large boot too. No, it's not the biggest in the sector, but it is large by any measure and it's a cinch to swing the split-folding rear seat backs down flat as well.
On the road, the Optima SW really impresses with its balance of comfort and road holding. While the steering is over-assisted for my taste, it's a surefooted chassis that's quite enjoyable to hustle along when you're in a hurry. Kia has managed this while retaining a high level of comfort, with great bump absorption at all speeds. There's plenty of pace from the engine and its machinations are well-isolated from the cabin occupants' ears too.
Anything that bugs you?
About the only black mark in the Optima SW's book is road noise on certain surfaces in certain conditions. I drove from Dublin to Cork and back and the increased tyre roar was noticeable when traversing older sections of the M8 in particular. For the most part it wasn't too intrusive and only present when at high cruising speeds.
And why have you given it this rating?
There are a few estates that are even more spacious than the Optima Sportswagon and there's not much choice in the line-up, unfortunately. However, if you've read this far, then you'll know that there's little wrong with the Kia Optima SW. It's good looking inside and out, well-made, well-equipped and priced and it's pretty decent to drive too.
I want to know more
Go to our Ask Us Anything page, send us a question and we'll give you as much detail as you need on any specific aspect of the Kia Optima Sportswagon.