While driving the Kia Optima Sportwagon PHEV I had a conversation with a company car driver which quite surprised me. He seemed genuinely embarrassed that he was driving a diesel car and quickly said he would be changing his car in the near future, so he was interested to find out more about the PHEV/hybrid option. Hybrids are becoming increasingly popular

and are one of the fastest growing sectors of the market. Seventy-five per cent of sales of the Optima Sportwagon PHEV will be to the fleet market and Kia says that sales of the diesel will remain dominant. This is Kia’s fourth alternative

have to keep reminding yourself of, is that charging devices, air conditioning and heating will all deplete the motor. Also useful is the intelligent heating, ventilation and


powertrain car in the UK and its second PHEV. A combination of a two- litre direct injection petrol engine with a 50w (67bhp) electric motor, power the attractive looking estate. Based on the saloon, the front half of the PHEV, from the bonnet to the B pillar is identical to the saloon, apart from the height, which is five milimetres taller as stylish roof rails are added. The electric motor sits in the boot floor tyre well and

to make more room, the fuel tank is reduced by 15 litres. The PHEV is still able to offer a generous 440 litres of luggage space with all seats upright, rising to 1,574 litres when the rear seats are lowered. The three rear seats fold with a one touch folding mechanism and loading is even easier with a low sill and a floor that is flush with the opening. The Optima quality interior is comfortable and

practical. There is a long list of standard equipment but one of the most useful I found is the wireless charger for mobile devices. However, one thing you

air conditioning system. If you are solo driving, the system will only provide the service to the driver. Indicators provide a quiet tock tock and a musical medley entertains when the ignition is turned off or acts as a reminder when the driver’s side door is open. The Optima is a pleasant car to drive

Kia Optima

Sportwagon PHEV is an excellent alternative to diesel’

in heavy traffic as it will trundle along nicely on its own and will gently brake itself, when sensing approaching stationary cars. Batteries can be recharged from fully depleted in just over three hours through a 240 volt socket or charging post. Regenerative braking, when

coasting or braking, will also recharge the batteries. There are two driving modes, EV pure electric, which

will quietly creep around the local shopping centre with a range of up to 38 miles. HEV balances the use of motor and petrol engine. The D segment sector is heavily reliant on fleet and

business customers whose main concerns are whole life running costs, leasing charges and for the individual user, the benefit in kind taxation. Until now diesel was the best way to meet those requirements and it is why Kia has never marketed a purely petrol engine powered Optima in the UK. The Kia Optima Sportwagon PHEV is an excellent alternative to diesel and with no road tax to pay and a benefit in kind rate of 13%, the PHEV is a huge benefit for company car drivers.

MODEL: Kia Optima Sportwagon

PRICE: £35,145 otr

ENGINE:2 litre GDi plug in hybrid auto transmission

PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph in 9.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 119mph


COMBINED FUEL CONSUMPTION: 54.3mpg. Electric mode only - 0

You can follow Sue Cooke on twitter @cookecars

The optimal alternative to diesel ?


JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019 insight 29

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