Stationwagon, shooting break, tourer or, in Kia’s case, sportswagon – whatever tag they bear, estate cars make lots of sense to lots of motorists and are coming back in favour, fighting off the hordes of MPV and SUV models.
The oddly named cee’d is Kia’s offering in the sector and, now in its second generation, is a stylish, well-proportioned mid-size entrant into an ever more competitive arena. It says a lot for this fine car’s saloon sibling that it received an enthusiastic thumbs-up from the dreaded Jeremy Clarkson, who usually expresses an almost pathological dislike for anything made by the Korean car industry.
Designed in Germany and manufactured in Slovakia, the Sportwagon was created specifically for a European audience. They followed their brief well.
This is a no fuss, no gimmicks vehicle that simply gets on with its job.
It is currently only available in diesel form, with a choice between the entry-level £16,895 1.4-litre CRDi, which is capable of 67-mpg and has very low emissions’ levels, and the more potent £24,795 1.6-litre CRDi, which boasts an official combined cycle fuel efficiency figure of 64.2-mpg. Both engines are smooth and quiet running.
The transmissions on offer are smooth-changing six-speed units, auto and manual, with the latter fitted with the latest stop/start technology. Add low maintenance and insurance costs to low fuel bills and you have an inexpensive car to run, for fleet and individual business buyers as well as private motorists, There’s also a generous seven-year warranty to consider.
Importantly, the Sportwagon has greater luggage capacity than most of the competition, providing 528-litres of space up to the load cover with all seats upright, which expands to 1,642-litres measured up to the roof with the 6040 split rear seats folded flat.
The cabin has a quality feel, with soft-touch surfaces, luxurious materials, lidded storage areas, subtle red ambient lighting, tactile door grab handles and tight shut-lines.
Four trim levels are available, all of them kitted out to a high level. Such goodies as parallel parking assist, a lane departure warning system and a full-colour reversing camera are available.
It’s an exceptionally easy car to drive, with three steering assistance level settings and good all-round visibility. One thing I really did not like though was the distractingly high level of reflections on the windscreen, especially on sunny days.
It looks good, drives well and is capacious. It’s also highly affordable – so what more do you need?