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2019 March
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Car and Driver: Kia Optima Sportswagon Is the Best Optima—And We Have a Plan to Bring It Stateside

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Kia Optima SportsWagon

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Internet trolling is the faceless act of badgering one’s fellow human beings over the internet. We see plenty of trolling in the comments section on our website, sometimes even directed at us, although for what reasons we can never understand. (We’re perfect!) Civilized society should shun this sort of behavior, abhorrent and cat-GIF-filled as it often is, but we’re going to take a break from political correctness and rally every single one of you to troll Kia—hard. Why? Kia has revealed an Optima-based station wagon for Europe, and we want it sold here. Now.

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Kia Optima SportsWagon

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We’ve begrudgingly anticipated Kia’s Optima wagon since last year, when the automaker debuted the incredibly attractive Sportspace concept we knew would gestate into a station wagon we couldn’t buy here in the United States. Sure enough, a year later, here we sit, staring down an incredibly attractive Optima Sportswagon that we can’t buy in the States. More or less identical to the Optima sedan, a car we really quite like, the Sportswagon features more roof and a large, square cargo bay with 19.5 cubic feet of space (as measured using European standards) behind the rear seats. That’s a mere 1.7 cubic feet greater than the sedan, which doesn’t sound like much, but overseas “VDA” cargo-space measurements typically don’t count the space above the base of the window line in wagons and SUVs the way our standards do. Count more of the airspace up top, and the cargo-swallowing differences between the sedan and the 0.2-inch-taller wagon become clear.

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Kia Optima SportsWagon

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To make the most of the space in back, Kia fits the Sportswagon with a wide, large tailgate and a versatile 40/20/40 split-folding seat. The cargo area itself features a hidden compartment with different-size bins for smaller knickknacks owners wish to keep hidden, and there are rails for sliding cargo tie-downs. European buyers will have the same access to seven- or eight-inch dashboard touchscreen displays as Americans do, as well as the same suite of active and passive safety technologies. Where things split—beyond, of course, the wagon body style—is in the engine bay. Top-spec models use a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, just as U.S.-spec Optimas do, only in addition to an automatic transmission, Kia offers Europeans a six-speed manual. Kia also will sell the Sportswagon with a 1.7-liter turbo-diesel and either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

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Kia Optima SportsWagon

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With Volvo coming out with the brashly wagon-shaped V90 at the very same Geneva auto show where this Kia Optima Sportswagon is set to debut and promising it will be sold in the U.S., it makes one wonder. Might Kia, a brand with essentially zero wagon history or identity take the bold step of introducing the Sportswagon outside of Europe? Wagons are just as sweet to drive as sedans—but with crossover-like cargo capacity without the unnecessary weight and bulk those popular vehicles come saddled with—yet we’re told again and again that Americans don’t want wagons. That has left us typing our lust for various not-for-U.S.-consumption wagons in vain for years, so a change in tactic is clearly needed. So come one, come all. Do you want to see an Optima wagon in America? Then say so and troll the mothercrossover-lovin’ people over at Kia Motors America. Here are links to the brand’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. If you’re an old-fashioned sort of troller, this is Kia’s address: 111 Peters Canyon Road; Irvine, California 92606. Send cat memes, pictures of the Volvo V90, pun-heavy hashtags, whatever—you do you.

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Kia Optima SportsWagon
-2016 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage

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