The new Kia Optima Sportswagon has been spotted winter testing ahead of its planned launch later this year.
The new estate, which is heavily based on the Optima saloon, itself due to come to the UK this year, has been subjected to the harsh climate inside the Artic Circle.
Although the test mules photographed here are heavily disguised, the styling of the Optima Sportswagon was closely previewed by the Sportspace concept at last year's Geneva motor show.
The Sportspace featured ‘ice cube’ quad headlights, distinctive bonnet bulges and the company’s latest ‘tiger nose’ grille. Kia described the rear as having a 'latin’ flavour, with the D-pillar pushed forwards compared with those of other estates.
Power for the concept came from a derivative of Kia’s T-hybrid 1.7-litre diesel-electric hybrid powertrain, which was first showcased at last year’s Paris motor show. The engine was mated to a sequential automatic shift-by-wire transmission, with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
Elements of the concept's radical interior styling are also expected to carry over to the production estate.
Speaking to Autocar at the 2015 Geneva show, Gregory Guillaume, Kia’s chief designer in Europe, said: “Looking at this car, it’s not the type of show car that looks like it’s not going to make it to a showroom. It looks like a very realistic proposal.”
Engine options for the Sportswagon are likely to be shared directly with the fourth-generation Optima saloon. In the UK, the sole engine on offer will be a 139bhp 1.7-litre CRDi diesel. A high-performance Optima GT version is set to be launched later, as is a plug-in hybrid variant.