Europe is the last bastion of the station wagon. Crossovers are more popular over there than they’ve ever been, but there’s a small yet loyal group of motorists who continue to buck the soft-roader trend and buy wagons. To cater to these consumers, Kia’s European division will introduce the first-ever Optima station wagon at the Geneva Auto Show.
The Sportswagon borrows more than a handful of styling cues from the Sportspace concept that was presented during last year’s Geneva show. It looks just like the Optima sedan from the tip of the front bumper to the B-pillar, but beyond that it features a longer roof line underlined by an elegant strip of chrome trim, a rakish D-pillar, and sharp horizontal tail lamps. The wagon is only a few sixteenths of an inch taller than the sedan.
With five occupants on board, the Optima Sportswagon offers about 20 cubic feet of trunk space, 1.6 cubes more than the four-door model. Loading bulky items is a breeze thanks to a low loading floor, a 40/20/40-split rear bench, and an available power tailgate.
Like the Euro-spec Optima, the Sportswagon will launch with a 1.7-liter turbodiesel engine tuned to generate 141 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 251 pound-feet of torque from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm. Called CRDi in Kia-speak, the oil-burner comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, but a seven-speed dual clutch is offered at an extra cost. Don’t like diesels? Kia has you covered with a naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter gasoline-powered mill that makes 163 horsepower, and a range-topping turbo four that pumps out a healthy 245 ponies and 260 pound-feet of twist.
The Kia Optima Sportswagon will be built in South Korea, and it’s scheduled to land in showrooms across the Old Continent before the end of the year. Pricing information hasn’t been published yet, but it’s of little interest to us because the family-friendly Optima most likely won’t be sold on our side of the pond, where the wagon segment barely has a pulse.