Kia Optima Sportswagon (2016 – 2019) Review

Kia Optima Sportswagon (2016 – 2019) At A Glance


+Great looking, spacious. High quality. Well-equipped. Good to drive and very reasonably priced. Three petrol engines as well as new diesel from 2018.

-More expensive to buy new than previous generations of the Optima. GT versions provide a firm ride quality.

Insurance Groups are between 19–25
On average it achieves 64% of the official MPG figure

In the fine tradition of sexing up the estate car, Kia calls the Optima-based estate a ‘Sportswagon’. It evokes an exotic lifestyle choice rather than reflecting your basic need to carry a lot of stuff. Fortunately, in a basic sense the Kia Optima Sportswagon is an estate that carries a lot of stuff. Mission accomplished.

If the story ended there that would do, but in fact the Optima Sportswagon has plenty of appeal beyond simply being a very long hatchback. It’s a very stylish one for a start, but it also continues another fine tradition: of Kia models being high quality, generally lovely to drive and thoughtfully designed.

They’re also, of course, reasonably priced too – though not the ‘cheap’ option they perhaps once were. Prices for the Optima start at more than £22,000 - a couple of thousand pounds more than an entry-level diesel Toyota Avensis Touring Sports or Skoda Octavia Estate. And not far short of a Volkswagen Passat.

Kia will point to the Optima’s superior standard equipment roster though, which in the company’s own words is 'unashamedly targeted at business users'. It includes touchscreen navigation, a reversing camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, DAB radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and one-touch folding rear seats.

Three trim levels make up the range, named simply 2, 3 and GT-Line S (‘1’ obviously sounds a bit too entry-level), though (at launch in 2016) the 1.7-litre CRDi diesel with 141PS was the only engine choice. In 2017 a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV) was added with up to 38 miles of all-electric range with CO2 emissions of 33g/km.

In 2018 the 1.7 turbodiesel was replaced with a smaller and more efficient 1.6-litre CRDi. A 180PS1.6-litre T-GDi was also added, with a petrol particulate filter and seven-speed DCT transmission.

The diesel comes with a dual-clutch automatic option as an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearshift, but regardless, the Optima drives with a smoothness and solidity that's close to a Volkswagen. The manual gearshift may be a little on the light side, but the ride quality on non-GT cars is generally smooth (big wheels make it a little fussier over road surfaces) and ergonomics are fantastic. Anyone will find a comfortable driving position and there is no shortage of head or legroom in the rear. 

Aside from that the interior build quality is excellent – squishy surfaces in abundance – and another Volkswagen-like quality the Optima shares is a simple, intuitive cabin layout. Add to that reams of safety equipment along with Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty and you have an estate – sorry, a Sportswagon – that’s extremely easy to recommend.

Kia Optima PHEV 2016 Road Test

Kia Optima Sportswagon 2016 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Kia Optima Sportswagon (2016 – 2019)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

35–100 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Which used automatic estate car should I buy?

"We bought a 2019 Astra Sport Tourer 1.0 with 12,000 miles on it for £10,000. It was a great car for the first three months - comfy, quick enough, economical. Then a plethora of issues manifested (all fixed under warranty) including a new engine and gearbox. The car has been in the garage for best part of four months. Once we get it back, we're thinking to get rid of it immediately but what to replace it with? The courtesy car we have been given is an automatic and now my wife would prefer an auto box. We might be lucky to offload the Astra for £9,000. A similarly specced Skoda Octavia estate auto would be around £16,000 which is another £7,000 on top of the Astra and so I'm not sure it represents value for money. We like the Hyundai i30 estate but petrol models seem to be like hen's teeth. We use the car for our dog walking business and mainly do short journeys. "
Prices on cars have soared since the first quarter of this year so your money won't go as far as it did at the start of the year. To get a car to your specification – a 2019 automatic estate – a budget of £15,000 is realistic. Nothing wrong with the Hyundai i30 or the Skoda Octavia. The Skoda has slightly more room, feels nicer inside and is better designed, however the Hyundai has a five-year warranty also take a look at the Kia Ceed or Optima both are around £15,000 and have a seven-year warranty. For a budget option, the Dacia Logan is well worth considering – you'll get a 2019 model for less than £10,000, although it isn't available with an auto. The Dacia is fairly basic but represents unbeatable value. We doubt the dogs will complain.
Answered by Russell Campbell

I have £12k to replace my aging E-Class Estate - what reliable, diesel Estate do you suggest?

"I currently have a 2011 Mercedes E250 CDI Estate, which has nearly done 100,000 miles. I do around 24,000 miles a year, mainly commuting on B roads to my business. I use it to carry stock between two shops I own and also as a family car, two kids and black Labrador. It really comes into its own on holidays as it can carry huge amounts of luggage without the need for a roof box. However, it's not the best for the types of roads I mainly drive on and I am looking to change the car next year with a £12k budget. It never seems to go more than two or three months without needing to go the garage for some fault (mostly minor ones) either. I'm looking for a reliable, used estate - probably diesel due to the number of miles I do and I would prefer a manual gearbox. What do you suggest?"
I'd recommend a Skoda Superb. It's very practical, offers excellent value for money and is very comfortable for covering high miles in. It'll be cheap to run, too. Also consider a Kia Optima.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best quality large estate for £20k?

"I'm looking for a reliable, quality large estate for under £20k, no more than five years old. I'm trying to decide between an older Mercedes E Class or a newer Ford Mondeo or similar size options. "
You'll be looking at a last-generation E-Class for that money. It's a good car but feels dated inside and has an old-fashioned infotainment system. Would a C-Class be big enough? You'd get the current model for £20k, which has a lovely interior. The Ford Mondeo isn't a bad choice, but we'd pick a Skoda Superb over the Mondeo. Also consider a Kia Optima SW.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Kia Optima Sportswagon (2016 – 2019) cost?