Kia is beefing up the stance it takes against fleet sector front-runners with the launch of an estate version of its flagship saloon model.
Pitched to go head-on with Vauxhall and Ford on pricing, the Optima Sportswagon is also being positioned to help the Korean firm boost its growing UK business operations with a combination of attractive styling and generous standard equipment levels.
Kia Motors fleet and remarketing general manager John Hargreaves said: “While our sister company has being doing very well with the Hyundai i40 Tourer, we have been hampered by the fact we have not been able to offer our own take on the kind of vehicle that plays such an important role in D-segment corporate motoring. We’ve waited a long time for this new model and at last we can drive into the heartland of such an important sector with an alternative to the Insignia and Mondeo, that might well tempt some user choosers away from fairly modest premium brand products. Our hope is that we can reach the point where we're able to take drivers out of cars that are historically more premium than us.”
Now on sale, the SW is expected to establish itself as the most popular Optima and account for around 3,500 of next year’s anticipated total of 5,000 sales, which include a relaunched saloon and a new hybrid saloon version.
“With our sales growth looking like it will approach the 90,000 mark this year, we are well on the way to setting another registration record, and Optima will play its part in helping us make further inroads,” said a spokesman when the car was launched in Germany. “Fleet looks set to account for 75% of SW registrations, so this really is a major
opportunity for us in the corporate sector.”
With the familiar 1.7-litre diesel engine under its bonnet, Kia’s D-segment challenger is practical, roomy, refined and efficient transport with luggage space of 552 litres stretching to 1,686 litres of load capacity with its split rear seat folded.
Confident handling makes it comfortable to drive and the good-looking mid-range 3 grade car is well-equipped for business users. It has an eight-inch sat-nav screen, lane keep assist, speed limit warning, 18-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights and a premium sound system fitted as standard, along with a reversing camera, steering wheel controls, an electronic parking brake and heated front seats.