teary couple holding up money and thinking about kia optima wagon

Kias You Can’t Buy in the US: The Kia Optima Sportswagon

Kia Optima Wagon USA Availability and Release Date

For good reason, most people tune out when you start talking about “back in my day…” We’re not here to bore you with stories of how we chased down the Kaiser to get the word “twenty” back, but we want to highlight a vehicle style that has perplexingly disappeared from our American automotive awareness – the station wagon.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, every sedan on the market was also available as a 5-door wagon. Popularized by films like National Lampoon’s Vacation, these vehicles allowed you to load up even more stuff and people than their 4-door sedan counterparts would permit (some had these insane seats that faced backward behind the second row. We’re not kidding. They were seriously unsafe.).

Today, we live in an automotive culture where we have sedans, hatchbacks, crossovers, SUVs and trucks but very few station wagons (or as they call them across the pond – “estate wagons”). While fuel economy for crossovers continues to rise with every model year, we can’t be the only drivers out there who miss the combination of versatility and handling that these stretched-out hatchbacks gave us.

Does the Optima Come in a Station Wagon Body?

It does! In the European market (a region that never fell out of love with the wagon), station wagons are still a common site. They’re so common that performance vehicles are often available in a 3-door wagon style called a “shooting brake” that combines the sportiness of a sports coupe with the added real estate of a wagon.

[READ MORE: Kias You Can’t Buy in the US: The Kia pro_cee’d]

With nearly every sedan in Europe also available as a wagon, the stellar Kia Optima is no exception. Not only is the Kia Optima available as a wagon, but so is its alluring and unbelievably-efficient plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant.

The Kia Optima wagon provides drivers with the same stunning style and features for which they consistently choose the Kia Optima.

Kia Optima Wagon Specs and Features

With most of the features being similar to the Optima’s sedan variant, the specs are where we find interesting diversions that match the needs and regulations of the European market. Two engines are available. The first – a 1.7L CRDi (Common Rail Direct injection) diesel engine –  produces a formidable 251 lb-ft. of torque and 139 horsepower.

The second – a familiar 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine – gets around 245 horsepower and 187 lb-ft. of torque.

As far as fuel efficiency goes, this gasoline engine will get you a respectable 28 combined MPG, while the 1.7L diesel engine hits you with a whopping 61 MPG. Why can’t we have this car in the States again?

The Kia Optima wagon is available with two transmissions – a 6-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Inside, a 7-inch navigation system with reverse camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is standard (on the base Business Class model), while the upgraded GT Line sees the infotainment system replaced with an 8-inch screen.

The big question you probably have is the same one we did – How much cargo space does the wagon body add to the Kia Optima? Behind the second row of seats, you’ll be able to store a decent 19 cubic feet of space. However, with the second-row seats folded down, drivers get 60 cubic feet of space. This makes the Optima Sportswagon not only more spacious than the subcompacts Kia Niro and Kia Soul but puts it on par with the compact crossover Kia Sportage.

Kia Optima Wagon Video

For the second week in a row, we have a video that shows off both the interior and exterior features and styling of the most recent Kia Optima Sportswagon.

Will the Kia Optima Wagon Be Available in the United States?

This is a great question! We hope the answer is yes, and perhaps we’re already beginning to see the market warming back up to stations wagons. After all, only a few years ago, Volkswagen introduced the Golf Sportwagen to critical acclaim.

Additionally, the Subaru Outback has been a big hit for the small Japanese manufacturer. Rising fuel prices mean drivers may soon be wanting to find more affordable alternatives to crossovers and SUVs which don’t limit the amount of cargo and passenger space they’re able to bring along and the Optima Sportswagon could be just what the doctor orders for this conundrum.

That being said, modern crossovers do much better with fuel economy than the chunky SUVs of the 90s did when the last major gas pricing surge hit. We expect a smaller migration away from crossovers since their fuel economies can be similar and drivers are less likely to be shocked by a spike, having already endured the really bad one back in 2007/2008.

All of that considered, we love the Optima Sportswagon but give it probably a 30% chance of actually arriving on our amber waves of grain any time in the future. We’d love to be proven wrong and have it show up in our showroom tomorrow, however. If it does make the trans-pacific trip, you can expect to hear about it first right here on the Friendly Kia blog.

For past Kia models we’ve featured, be sure to visit the Kias You Can’t Buy in the US archives by clicking here.

For more information on the Optima sedan (which is available in the US and at its lowest pricing and highest inventory on the Friendly Kia lot) or to schedule a test-drive with this elegant and Euro-styled sedan, contact us today!

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