Road Tests

Handbook: Kia Cee'd SW

Time 3:22 pm, October 22, 2012

Kia expects to sell 15,000 Cee’ds in the UK next year, and 50 per cent could be the new sportswagon, reports Martyn Collins.

What is it?

Get over the confusing name and it is basically the estate version of the all-new Cee’d with a large 528-litre boot. Based on the highly-competent Hyundai i30, the Sportswagon is designed to offer a serious alternative to C-segment leaders such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, with its distinctive looks, improved build quality and the security of the seven-year warranty.


 

What’s under the bonnet?

The Sportswagon is available with an 89bhp 1.4, or 126bhp 1.6-litre CRDi diesels, but the 1.6 is expected to be the bigger seller. The 1.4 seems the sweeter unit of the two, but the lack of poke over the 1.6 is obvious and makes overtaking more of a challenge. The 1.6 has plenty of low-end torque, but runs out of puff in the mid and upper areas of the rev-range.

 

What’s the spec like?

Available in five trim levels: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 4 Tech. All are well-equipped, even the entry-level 1.4 1 gets standard air-con, Bluetooth and six airbags. Expected best-seller, the 1.6 CRDi 3 includes dual-zone air-con and touchscreen sat-nav. Prices start at £16,895. Rising to £19,295 for a 2 spec car, the cost increases to £21,095 for the 3 and £24,795 for the range-topping 4 Tech.


 

What’s it like to drive?

The ride is very refined, the result of the independent rear suspension, and even the worst Slovakian potholes barely registered in the Cee’d’s cabin. The interior is pleasantly hushed and free from wind noise, but you can hear both diesel engines a little too much. Steering is responsive, but can feel artificial. A slick six-speed manual gearbox, the clutch is light too. Plenty of grip in corners and there’s some body roll, but it never feels sporty.

 

What do the press think of it?

Auto Express said: ‘Let’s ignore the name – the Kia Cee’d Sportswagon is anything but. Instead it’s a big, comfortable rival for the Ford Focus Estate, Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Volkswagen Golf Estate.’ Autocar concluded: ‘If a C-segment estate features on your wish list, then this Korean – but very European – take on the subject is a worthy and competent contender.’

 

What do we think of it?

Like the hatchback that came before it, Kia should be justifiably proud at how close the Cee’d Sportswagon gets to class greatness. This European designed and built Korean car is good to drive, with the classiest interior yet from a Kia. It is also well-equipped and likely to be cheap to run. If the Cee’d had more distinctive styling and sharper dynamics it could become the class leader.

Jon Reay's avatar

Staff Writer Jon is one of the Car Dealer team's newest members. You can also find him contributing to AOL Cars.

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