Although the Kia Optima Sportswagon finishes close to the bottom of the the 1700-1899kg weight class, it’s not a bad tow car. But the Kia fails to shine against some strong opposition.
The 1.7-litre engine has its work cut out pulling a heavy caravan. With 251lb ft of torque it pulled a tourer weighing 85% of its kerbweight from 30-60mph in a steady but dogged 15.8 seconds.
Stability-wise, the Optima held its own so long as the wind wasn’t blowing. But when the breeze picked up and started to gust, the Kia felt more nervous.
In an emergency stop, the Optima took 11.3m to stop from 30mph. That puts the Kia near the middle of the pack in terms of braking performance.
The electronic parking brake held car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 slope. The Kia pulled to the top of the hill without bogging down, but several drivers found the Optima scrabbled for grip when pulling away.
As you’d expect of an estate car, the Optima Sportswagon has a big boot – we found space for a full load of holiday luggage.
‘GT Line S’ is the range-topping model, and comes with 18-inch alloys, leather upholstery, heated seats front and rear, and an eight-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation. Although the list price is over £30,000, What Car?‘s research suggests discounts of around £2000 are achievable.