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In-depth reviews

Kia Optima review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

The Kia Optima scores well for cabin comfort and luggage space, but it’s not the best in class

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Practicality, comfort and boot space Rating

4.2 out of 5

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The Kia’s large exterior dimensions translate into a roomy and spacious interior, that’s great for families and with plenty of room for luggage. There's no shortage of interior storage space in the cabin, either: you get a chilled glovebox, large bottle holders and a handy lidded compartment in the centre console for odds and ends. If you need more space, there's a new Optima SW estate version, too.

Size

The Kia Optima measures up at 4,855mm long, 1,860mm wide, and 1,465mm tall. For the sake of comparison a Ford Mondeo hatch is 4,871mm long and 1,852mm wide, while the Volkswagen Passat is 4,77mm by 1,832mm.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

A longer wheelbase than the Hyundai i40 gives the Optima plenty of rear-seat legroom, and a higher seating position gives the driver better visibility. Seat height adjustment helps to ensure all shapes and sizes can get comfortable. In the back there are the requisite Isofix mounts for child seats. The middle seat in the rear is slightly raised, so only really suitable for children.

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If you need more space inside, then look at the Optima SW estate, which thanks to its boxier shape has a higher roofline and therefore more space in the rear. There's even enough room for three adults to sit across the back.

Boot

The diesel-powered Optima saloon's boot measures 505 litres – although it’s finished rather disappointingly, with lots of exposed metal and a poor-quality carpet. There’s a full-size alloy wheel underneath, though, while the back seats fold 60:40 with the pull of two levers in the boot. The load lip is quite high, though. The rear seats fold down with one touch, but the bulkhead between the boot and cabin is awkwardly shaped and the boot itself isn't high enough to carry unusually shaped items. 

The Optima is reasonably practical, but it loses out to its sister model the Hyundai i40 (525 litres) and rival the Skoda Superb (565 litres) for outright carrying capacity.

If you value boot space then you'd best avoid the PHEV plug-in hybrid, as fitting the batteries under the floor means you'll sacrifice a whopping 203 litres of load space – having to make do with just 307 litres in total. The load floor features an awkward hump, and there’s no bespoke storage for the charging cables. The location of the battery pack also stops the rear bench folding.

For the more practical Optima SW a 552-litre boot is what you'll get, expanding to 1,686 litres with the rear seats folded flat. It's sliced down to 440-litres with the addition of the PHEV powertrain though.

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