What is it?
They can be refined with near-silent motors, can give huge fuel economy around town and have decent acceleration thanks to instant torque. But they're not very frugal at higher speeds, they're heavy and they often have clumsy handling.
Kia’s electrification efforts aren't to be sniffed at; it has the Niro hybrid, Niro PHEV, Optima PHEV and now the Optima Sportswagon PHEV. Holding down the pure-electric end of things is the Soul EV, and there’s a promise of more EVs to come.
Here, we're testing the plug-in variant of the comely new Optima Sportswagon estate on UK roads to find out if it can compete with its fearsome line-up of rivals. Most of these are more premium segment offerings, such as the BMW 330e, Lexus IS 300h, Mercedes-Benz C350e and Volkswagen Passat GTE, but with its £35,145 price tag, the Optima also takes on the volume-selling Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
In estate form, though, its rivals are limited to the Passat GTE and C350e estates, and it'll have its work cut out if it's to match up to the sporty Passat and big-selling C-Class. As the industry gears up for ever-more electrification, though, this is a class that's about to get incredibly crowded incredibly quickly.