Via EV Obsession:
By Steve Hanley
KIA officials announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week that the KIA Optima sedan will soon be offered as a wagon, based on the the SportSpace concept. But wait, there’s more good news. The KIA Optima wagon will also have a plug-in hybrid option and a GT version.
The KIA SportSpace was introduced in Geneva earlier this year and offers “stylish and exciting transportation for four,” according to the company. The design was penned by Peter Schreyer, the same man responsible for the iconic design of the first-generation Audi TT. The rear load bed has a unique feature — 20 balls rise up to make sliding bulky cargo into and out of the car easier. The balls retract into the load bed when the car is started, in order to keep items from sliding around while driving.
The GT-spec KIA Optima sedan uses a 2.0 liter gas engine with 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It runs from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.4 seconds and has a top speed of 240 km/h. The wagon will probably be a little slower than the sedan due to its slightly higher weight.
Both the sedan and the wagon will also get a plug-in hybrid powertrain as an option sometime in 2016. KIA showed a diesel-powered plug-in concept at the Paris Motor Show last year. The Optima T-Hybrid combined the familiar 1.7-liter CRDi engine with an electric motor and a 48V lead-carbon battery. No specifics about the new plug-in hybrid system have been released, but it is unlikely a diesel version will be offered in the US market.
The US market is sorely lacking in wagon models. A KIA Optima plug-in wagon or high-style GT version could be just what some car buyers are hoping for, instead of the hulking SUVs that most manufacturers offer. One final note: Kia Optimas destined for Europe will be manufactured in South Korea at the firm’s Hwasung factory, but the US-spec model will be assembled in West Point, Georgia, according to World Car Fans.
Photo Credit: KIA