The production version of the stunning Kia Sportspace concept — aka a wagon version of the new-generation Optima — will come to Australia by mid-2016, something that until recently appeared unlikely.
Revealed online a few weeks ago, the Sportspace's design is said to have achieved such good feedback from Australians that the company’s local arm changed its thinking about the local potential for a sporting version of the next-generation Optima, a sedan-only car in its current iteration.
“The reaction to the Sportspace in Australia has been so unexpectedly strong it has gone from a very small chance at being in our model garage to a very strong chance,” said the Kia Australia communications general manager Kevin Hepworth today.
“It’s certainly surprised us with just how strong the public response was, and there is a space for it,” he added. Obvious rivals will be wagon versions of the Mazda 6 and Ford Mondeo, not to mention sister brand Hyundai's euro-styled i40 wagon.
The Sportspace was officially revealed today at the Geneva motor show, and though the company didn’t say as much, it’s clearly the first step to the creation of a 2016 Optima wagon.
The new wagon version will join the next-generation Optima sedan due for release within months. Yes, it appears the two bodies are unlikely to launch simultaneously. A drip-feed keeps public interest piqued.
The new-generation Optima sedan will launch in Australia around September this year, with a regular petrol engine option, but also a 180kW turbo-petrol engine shared with the Hyundai Sonata, and a petrol-electric hybrid option — a first for Kia in Australia.
The Optima will also come with a plug-in hybrid powertrain option shortly after launch, though this version appears some way off an Australian launch. That said, we’ve just seen public demand shape Kia Australia product planning, so if you’re keen on an Optima PHEV, shout out.
As we know, the Sportspace utilises yet another different powertrain: an evolution of the drivetrain seen in the Optima T-Hybrid that combines a 1.7-litre turbocharged diesel engine with a 48-volt electric “booster”. It’s also all-wheel-drive, though the production model will likely be front-drive too.
Read more on the Sportspace and its slinky design, and Audi-esque cabin, here.
Kia also used the 2015 Geneva motor show to premiere its new 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine with 90kW of power, and its seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, which can handle up to 300Nm and is being considered for the Pro_Cee'd GT, though Kia won't concede any intention to produce such a car as yet.
Click the Photos tab above for more Kia Sportspace images.