Don’t just take our word for it
We’ve asked Northern Ireland’s leading road-trippers and adventure-finders NI EXPLORER to put a few of our Kia models to the test. They’ll be making the most of each model’s features – from the streets of Belfast to the Mourne Mountains, the Causeway Coast and everywhere in between.
Heading away for three days, but with luggage that felt like we were heading for thirty, we used the opportunity to try out one of Kia's more spacious models.
2019 Kia Optima Sportswagon
Having already had an adventure in the saloon version of the Optima previously, we knew space and comfort would be in abundance in this estate version.
This is the also the second Kia estate we've tried out. Well, technically the Proceed is a 'shooting brake' - a merge between a sporty hatch, practical estate and sleek saloon. With 201bhp and lots of other fun features, we didn't think the Optima Sportswagon would stand a chance in competing.
And yet, as soon as we ventured out of Downeys' showroom in Newtownards, it instantly felt great. The journey to Castle Leslie in County Monaghan (check it out here after) took us from motorway smoothness to single-vehicle-width bumpy country roads - not once did we feel anything other than relaxed on our way to one of Ireland's most beautiful estates.
The longer wheel base brings improved stability, comfort, handling and cavernous space.
Quickly unpacking, the Optima would then have its own luxury break in the Castle's car park...
...as we spent the next few days roaming the Leslie family home, making full use of its spa facilities, horse riding centre (the reason for so much luggage) and enjoying all sorts of food and drink both inside and in the nearby town of Glaslough.
Make sure you get the garlic & mushroom supreme pizza in Ambledown Cottage, in the town (! It's off the menu now, but if you ask for it, they'll happily recreate.
And in the blink of an eye, our three days were behind us and we were back on the road north.
Yet, the adventure wasn't over as we spent the rest of the day stopping at nearly every town on the way back across County Armagh and County Down over to Newtownards and Downeys again.
Our overall thoughts on the Optima Sportswagon?
With the recent arrival of the currently-medium-but-soon-to-be-very-large "Scout The Adventure Dog"...
...space and comfort is naturally a big thing for us. The boot in the Optima Sportswagon is brilliant, both in depth and height. And with still plenty of room for 5 people in front, plus all the latest tech at hand, we're feeling like we need to see the Proceed again.
And maybe the big Sorento SUV too...
We'll hopefully be back to Castle Leslie next year and bring Scout this time, checking out the pet-friendly cottages and mews.
For a full list of spec and pricing options on the Kia Optima Sportswagon - click here.