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“Added emotion, character, improved proportions and stance.”
That’s how Peter Schreyer, Kia’s Chief Design Officer, describes the new Cee’d Sportswagon in comparison to its predecessor.
As I set eyes on it, I tend to agree. Traditionally estate cars have been bland and boring, drivers really only buying them because they needed the extra space rather than necessarily wanting to drive one. I know couples where the husband has the fun car – the coupe – and the wife has the estate, under sufferance. Thankfully such purchases are now more subjective the more attractive they have become. The curvaceous Cee’d Sportswagon is right at the forefront of this revolution. Mr Schreyer and his team should be satisfied with a job well done.
Head on, its sloping bonnet complete with sophisticated chrome edged grille sets the standard for this futuristically styled estate. Kia has even done away with the dull ‘estate’ term preferring instead ‘Sportswagon’ shortened to SW - far more trendy and upbeat. Of course, this puts it straight in Peugeot 308SW territory but in terms of classy looks the Kia wins.
You want to get in and drive this car. But estates are all about load carrying so we must consider the boot first. It’s capacious and has been made as easy to use as possible; the boot floor flush with the tailgate opening as you can see in the video at testdrives.biz. The rear seats fold to ensure a completely flat load deck. It makes light work of the week’s shopping and on another journey, the month’s supply of logs.
But there’s more to the Sportswagon. I drove the old Cee’d and I was therefore surprised when I first stepped inside this new model. Where its predecessor lacked refinement and quality its replacement oozes with them. Seriously, it’s as if VW has breathed on certain parts, most notably the hard and supportive driving seat and its position – perfect for the dreaded motorway commute. You can imagine that this will withstand much wear and tear. The doors shut with a satisfying ‘thunk’ and the environment in which driver and passengers find themselves is indeed very comfortable and of good quality. Its dashboard favours the driver, which is a nice touch.
The SW is let down though, by the use of seemingly cheap looking and feeling black plastics for the indicator and windscreen wiper stalks either side of the steering wheel. Then on opening the driver’s window the trim proceeds to rattle as I drive along. The engine stop/start leaves much to be desired for me, too as there’s no consistency as to when it kicks in. Iron out these minor criticisms and this could be a faultless vehicle.
Just two diesel engines are available, a 1.4 or a 1.6 but both return well over 60mpg. The 1.6 model EcoDynamics model tested comes with a smooth six-speed gearbox and steering mounted cruise control, stereo and telephone functions. It’s a responsive vehicle, making for a thoroughly enjoyable drive and noticeably surprises the driver of a Volvo V70 as I overtake him.
Equipment includes adjustable and automatically folding heated wing mirrors, air conditioning, all round electric windows, projection headlights, daytime running lights and even a cooled glovebox with controls inside.
“The Kia Cee’d Sportswagon is a medium-sized estate that’s designed to be practical, stylish and good value for money,” writes Parkers, the car experts. “Further bolstering the Sportswagon’s load carrying capabilities are roof rails, myriad storage points and a braked towing weight of 1,500kg. The original Kia Cee’d SW, launched in 2007, proved to be a spacious and smartly-styled small estate which didn’t cost much to run. The only downsides were a dull drive and some questionable interior trim.”
Welcome to a new breed of exciting estate where there is plenty of useful storage space and good levels of comfort. The only thing I don’t understand is its name but perhaps it relates to vision… as Focus does for Ford.