WITH two thirds of executive and large family cars sold across Europe being estates it's perhaps surprising that Kia has not gotten around to making one before.
Better late than never, though, and, with one eye firmly on fleet buyers, the upwardly mobile Korean car-maker has plugged the gap in its range with the Optima Sportswagon.
The new load lugger arrived in the UK in September with three trim lines echoing those of its saloon counterpart - 2, 3 and the range-topping GT Line S.
All versions are, also like the saloon, powered by Kia's proven 1.7-litre turbodiesel engine - although a sporty GT version is set to go on sale in early 2017 which will feature a 2.0-litre petrol power pack.
While the choice of trim and powertrain may seem limited compared to rivals like the Ford Mondeo, Mazda6 and Vauxhall Insignia estates, the Kia's sharp looks, impressive equipment levels and keen pricing will ensure it is competitive.
Designed in Europe to be sold exclusively here the Optima Sportswagon's sleek, rakish lines make it one of the best looking estate cars around - and the GT Line S is even easier on the eye thanks to bespoke 18-inch alloys and a sporty body kit which includes a muscular front end, side sills and twin chrome-tipped tailpipes.
Inside the range-topper is distinguished from other models by it's leather upholstery with contrast stitching, a similarly trimmed racing-style multi-function steering wheel and alloy pedals.
The good looks, though, don't come at the expense of the practicality that estate buyers are looking for.
Although headroom is impacted slightly by the tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof in this flagship version space is otherwise good, with decent rear legroom and a 552 litre boot which includes two underfloor storage compartments.
Load capacity rises to a whopping 1,686 litres with the 40:20:40 split rear seats folded down and lifting bulky or awkward items in and out is made easier by the flat load lip. GT Line S cars also get an automatic tailgate and adjustable luggage rails, with harnesses for securing loose items.
The interior is generally well-appointed. There is some cheaper, scratchy plastic lower down in the cabin but soft touch surfaces abound where it matters most.
The controls are logically laid out around a central touchscreen that's standard across the range - seven or eight inch depending on grade - and there are plenty of personal storage solutions.
Equipment levels are impressive, and this is where the Optima wagon really scores over similarly priced rivals.
All models get satnav, reversing camera, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, cruise control, heated folding wing mirrors, DAB radio, electronic stability control and hill-start assist.
The top-spec model also has such niceties as an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, heated and cooled front seats, rear privacy glass, wireless mobile phone charger, 360-degree around view monitor, parking assist and a raft of extra safety aids.
The diesel power pack is vocal on start-up and under acceleration but soon quietens down and, without setting the pulse racing, offers plenty of pep when it's needed.
Some responsive and nimble handling, for such a sizeable car, and good body control in bends hints at a more exciting drive when the GT version hits the roads.
The diesel, however, is likely to remain the popular choice with the target audience of business buyers because of the low running costs on offer.
Paired exclusively with a seven-speed double clutch automatic gearbox in GT Line S trim it claims more than 61 miles per gallon on average and carbon emissions of 120g/km.
The automatic transmission is less slick than those in many European competitors, occasionally feeling hesitant and indecisive. Flappy paddles on the steering wheel do, at least, give the option to intervene manually.