The popular five-door hatchback was last year joined by a new roomier Sportswagon, which appealed to the eye with its flowing lines wrapping around a higher carrying capacity and luggage weight. So you have the best of both worlds, a bigger car and a sleeker one too, which is expected to build on the immense popularity of the previous generation SW that outsold the hatchback four-to-one among business buyers. Using the familiar Kia UK trim levels as a starter, the Sportswagon is sold in four specifications, 1 – 4, with the option of a 4 Tech on the new model. There are manual 1.6 and automatic 1.6 diesels but for the latest Sportswagon, a 1.4 litre engine is available and we chose to test this version which starts off the range that rises to just under £24,800.
Our entry level 1 came with loadbed cover and light, 12-v rear power socket and roof rails, powered mirrors and windows, multi-adjustable steering column, air conditioning with cooled glovebox, and multi-media interfaces among features.
The 1.4 is available only in the 1 trim with a manual gearbox and the entire cee’d Sportswagon series is powered by diesel engines as over 90pc of estate business buyers choose this type of engine.
The new engine in the Sportswagon gave very good economy overall during test and it was very composed and stress-free on motorways.
Through the gears it was also reasonably lively when used one or two up but with people in the back the lack of horsepower did show.
Push it hard through the gears to either make progress or cope with additional weight and the economy does dip, but our worst figure was 49mpg, which is still good for such a roomy car, and you do appreciate how roomy it is.
There’re lots of places in the front and back to store small items, the back seats fold flat to more than triple total capacity and you have additional storage recesses under the loadbed, which has a skinny spare.
It is a good four seater, a tighter fit for three in the back, but the front seats have very good adjustment range and all are well padded and shaped for comfort. Access is good and that includes the low height rear loadbed.
For an estate that has to cope with varying weights as a matter of routine, the independent rear suspension is something you would normally find on a sports model but is rarer in an estate. It is a very good system, giving the Kia cee’d Sportswagon a high load weight while also endowing it with very surefooted and responsive handling.
Major controls give good feel and the turning circle is tight, the brakes strong and the secondary features are all well laid out with straightforward instruments ahead of the driver.
All noise levels are low, even the road rumble is muted, and this combined with the refinement of the controls means the Sportswagon feels very sophisticated when you are driving.
In conclusion, even the entry level Kia cee’d Sportswagon 1 does not feel like a car costing under £17,000, and when you look at the very long transferable warranty and service plans its not hard to appreciate this is not only a very good, sensibly priced and well equipped estate, but also a real challenge for more expensive rivals which offer less space and equipment. And sales prove it.
Insurance group: Six
Mechanical: 4cyl 89bhp 1396cc turbo-diesel, 6sp, MacPherson front struts, rear multi-link trailing arms, coil springs and twin anti-roll bars all round, ventilated/ solid disc brakes with anti-locking and brake assist with electrically assisted power steering
Fuel consumption: 52mpg
Performance: Max 106mph, 0-60mph 13.4sec
Emissions/ tax : 109gkm/ VED Band B £20 Y2
Luggage space: 528/1642 litres with rear seats up/ down
Warranty: 7yrs/ 100,00 miles