When our Optima Sportswagon had newly arrived on the fleet, it was not just the size of the boot that immediately impressed us. Snugly at home in the car’s glovebox was one of the fattest and heaviest car handbooks we’ve seen in a new vehicle for a very long time. I promised to report back on the scale of the thing, and here goes.
It’s very appropriate that Kia’s corporate slogan, ‘The power to surprise’, is etched on the smart black leather-look folder that houses the handbook, together with the navigation manual, connectivity guide and service book. What’s underneath those words does indeed surprise. The whole pack measures 23x18x7 centimetres, or 9x7x2 Ω inches for the traditionalists amongst us. It weighs a whopping 1.6 kilograms (3 lb 8 Ω oz), and very nearly one kilogram of that is the handbook alone.
If there’s any tiny piece of necessary information about the car that isn’t included in this extraordinarily comprehensive package, I haven’t spotted it yet. One impressive little detail that I did spy, while leafing through more than 850 pages of handbook, was the reassurance that up to 1,000 contact entries from your mobile phone can be copied across to the car. Well thanks, but I’m not sure I know that many people, let alone needing to contact them while totting up the miles.
It’s also notable that the connectivity guide, a slim little volume that explains the use of Android Auto, has all the information repeated in 17 languages, from English to Korean, with just about anywhere in Europe in between. Talk about attention to detail. While we’re mentioning connectivity, I do like the location of the connector slots for charging your mobile phone and plugging in other kit, all handily grouped at the back of the oddments tray located below the central dash. Itís better than having to grope about in the central armrest, as is the case in many other cars.
The Sportswagon scores highly on the convenience scale. The big boot is made even more convenient on our GT-Line model by having a remote-opening tailgate. It rises aloft via a quick press of the key fob as you approach the back of the car laden with ñ well, the result of lots of retail therapy. Under the boot floor are three handy shallow compartments for discreet stowage of assorted items. I like the robustness of the strong roller-cover that pulls across the boot space to conceal what’s stowed there. Good too is that it can be quickly unslotted from its location points on either side behind the rear seats, and removed to leave the space clear for carrying bulkier objects. Not so good is the cover’s occasional tendency to disengage from the rear slots that hold it in place, and unexpectedly retract in response to the car going over a bump in the road, such as a steep sleeping policeman.
But it is one of the Sportswagon’s strengths that you wouldn’t know you were in an estate car from the sound it makes. Refinement is good, and noise levels modest, with no echoey reference to having a big space back there. It means that it is just as civilised as estates wearing prestige badges.
Date arrived: 9th December 2016
Fuel economy: 61.4mpg (combined) 48.8mpg (on test)
The comprehensive 850-page handbook that tells you anything you need to know.
The sturdy luggage cover has an unfortunate habit of retracting itself when you go over a speed hump.