KOREAN maker Kia has embarked on a flurry of new year activity with the launch of a trio of newcomers.
The plug-in hybrid version of Kia's top-of-the-range Optima estate model is being updated for 2019 and an additional derivative is being added to the line-up to further expand the company's line-up of alternatively-fuelled models.
And there are new special edition versions of both the Stonic compact SUV and Picanto supermini to whet the appetite of buyers who prefer conventionally powered models.
The updates to the Optima Sportswagon PHEV are largely designed to increase aerodynamic efficiency but also serve to make the plug-in hybrid version stand out from its diesel-powered stablemates.
There's a completely redesigned lower front bumper, LED daytime running lights have been added and the car's 17-inch alloy wheels have been revised. But perhaps the most significant aerodynamic change is the fitting of an active air flap grille which lowers the car's drag co-efficient (Cd) to 0.28 when closed.
A new ‘PHEV Plus' grade has been added to the line-up with a catalogue of additional equipment over the already well-equipped entry-level model including leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, smart high beam assist, hydrophobic front glass, a powered tailgate, ventilated front seats, a parking assist system, wireless mobile phone charger, 360-degree around view monitor and blind spot detection with rear-cross traffic alert.
The new 2019 Optima Sportswagon plug-in hybrid range starts at £34,995 with the newly introduced PHEV Plus model costing £4,000 more.
Meanwhile the Stonic range has been widened with a bright new, highly-specified special edition model - the Stonic ‘Mixx' - powered by a one-litre T-GDi engine available with six-speed manual or seven speed DSG auto transmission and priced from Â£18,200.
Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, privacy glass, a reversing camera system, perforated leather steering wheel, satin chrome interior door handles and a six-speaker audio system with seven-inch touchscreen display.
The Mixx comes in a stand-out colour combination of white body paint with an orange roof while inside there's black cloth and grey faux leather upholstery with orange accents combined with a lower centre console and display screen surround finished in orange trim.
Kia says that the £11,895 Picanto Wave special edition is inspired by sunny beaches and blue skies. It comes with Celestial Blue premium paintwork and blue denim-style cloth and faux leather upholstery with white accents to the lower centre console trim, air vents and door armrest, together with satin chrome interior door handles and a centre console that features a storage box and sliding armrest.
Standard equipment includes 15-inch alloys, air conditioning, front and rear electric windows, privacy glass, reversing camera and a six-speaker audio system with seven-inch touchscreen display.