This month was looking to be a fairly easy one for the Optima after the intense trip to Barcelona last month; it narrowly missed out on another work trip to Dortmund in Germany, but instead spent a few days parked up at home. But as usual, things didnít quite go according to plan, and one Sunday morning, I found myself looking at the passenger side of the Optima taking in the realisation that somebody had driven into the door and down the wing. Naturally there was no note of apology and contact details, but there was some evidence in the form of navy blue paint stuck on the Kiaís formerly pristine Satin silver paintwork. Itís very annoying and frustrating, as this is the second time this has now happened within a year, after my old Skoda Superb suffered the same burden on its rear bumper. The only consolation, if you can call it that, is after a good clean and polish that most of the scratches have faded and itís ëonlyí the door that seems to have endured lasting damage with small dents.
The GT-Line S specification of our car annoyingly and somewhat confusingly for me, is only available with a twin-clutch automatic gearbox. I canít work out why that would be given the GT-Line Sí sportier credentials, though admittedly on some occasions the convenience of an automatic transmission is a welcome addition, plus the impressively responsive ëflappy paddlesí soften the burn of not having a clutch pedal and gearstick ñ though I have to admit that Iíve only used them a couple of times. The gearbox itself, although fast and smooth, could do with some tinkering. When going up an incline, even a slight one, where the carís 251lb ft of torque would be more than capable of pulling the car in the selected gear, it will instead drop down one or two gears, affecting the refinement and no doubt economy, which is already disappointing. Some tweaks to the mapping would really help out here.
Some alleviation to the annoying damage is the pleasing, yet not at all surprising, announcement that Kia claimed the outstanding design award from the iF Design Awards for the Optima Sportswagon ñ the new Rio and Niro also picked up awards. And rightly so, the Sportswagon is something to admire, as your eye wanders over the carís sleek architecture, you canít help but notice its huge presence and alluring design. And this is backed up from the admiring glances that it receives while out on the road. Speaking first hand, as the car drives towards you, it genuinely stands out and there really is no other estate like it on the road. That said, the Sportswagon is a rare sight, as Iíve yet to see another on the road. Come on people, get ordering!
Date arrived 9th December 2016
Fuel economy 61.4mpg (combined) 41.6mpg (on test)
The gear selector reminds me of a jet plane’s throttle.
I need to see if there’s a software update for the gearbox.