2015 Kia Optima: New version of the saloon prepares for launch

The new model will be more than a pretty face – with estate, performance and plug-in variants part of the plans too

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The next version of Kia’s saloon will be more than a pretty face – with estate, performance and plug-in variants part of the plans too

The Kia Optima has been a handsome left-field presence in the saloon car market over the last few years. The next-generation model is going to change that, though – not by being any less handsome, but by adding an estate version into the mix.

Launched at the Frankfurt show, with a production roll-out set to follow imminently, the Euro-spec Optima will be powered by a new version of the familiar 1.7-litre CRDi turbo-diesel engine from the outgoing model. This will develop 139bhp and 251lb ft and emit 110g/km – so, all the numbers moving gently in the right direction.

The engine will be bolted to a six-speed manual as standard. There’ll be a new auto option, too, in the shape of Kia’s latest seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

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Built in Korea, the saloon version of the new Optima will go on sale in the UK before the end of the year.

It all sits in a subtly redesigned body that’s slightly longer, wider and taller than before. It’s rangier in the wheelbase too, by more or less exactly one inch – all of which goes to the knee and shoulder room enjoyed by the rear-seat passengers.

The body is tauter as well as bigger, with greater use of high-tensile steel backed up by carbon fibre making it much stiffer than the old model – which won’t do any harm to its dynamics or refinement.

Built in Korea, the saloon version of the new Optima will go on sale in the UK before the end of the year. The aforementioned station wagon will follow next summer.

Beyond that, the Optima is expected to join Kia’s GT revolution as a new performance-orientated moded comes in at the top of the range. That should happen by the end of next year – and then in 2017, further evidence of Kia’s arrival in the mainstream will come from the addition of a plug-in hybrid.

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