First drive review: Kia Cee'd SW
Kia expects to sell 15,000 C'eeds in the UK next year and of those 50 per cent could be the new Sportswagon.
What is it?
Get over the confusing name and it is basically the estate version of the all-new Cee'd. 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.
Well it's that rear end. It's not only attractive but also spacious – the Cee'd SW has a large 528-litre boot.
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 kit 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. Rise to £19,295 for a 2 spec car, this increases to £21,095 for the 3 and £24,795 for the range-topping 4 Tech.
Is it any good?
It is, yes. 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.
The Autoblog verdict
Like the hatchback that came before it, Kia should be justifiably proud at how close the Cee'd Sportwagon 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 be the class leader.