The Kia C’eed is perhaps best known in public circles as ‘that’ reasonably priced car on Top Gear – but a couple of generations down the line, the car that launched the Korean manufacturer into the British mainstream has solidified its position in the UK market, adding an estate Sportswagon to its range and hoping to tempt buyers away from the more mainstream options such as the new Vauxhall Astra. Here’s my review of the 2016 Kia C’eed Sportswagon.
It’s fairly obvious that Kia have opted for an affordable blend of practicality and value for money with the C’eed – the Sportwagon is roomy, and has good rear boot space that doesn’t fuss around. I found one of the strengths of the car was how much space they packed into what is essentially a mid-sized estate. It beats the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Astra estate in terms of sheer space, and nearly competes with much larger cars such as the Skoda Octavia, which means you do get a lot of room for your money. The seats are easy to fold down and once they are, you’ll get 1,642 litres of boot capacity…which is a lot. Plenty of storage space in the back too – the car has a wide stance so actually I found that fitting things width-ways as well as length-ways was perfectly possible. If you’re a good stacker, the Kia C’eed Sportswagon ticks all the boxes.
The test car came with Kia’s 1.0 petrol engine, and with a strapped on turbo it’s a fairly decent performing engine, with a 99 or 118bhp. Sadly though, the engine doesn’t match the refinement found in Ford or Vauxhall, and I was disappointed by the economy figures. Around town, I didn’t expect much more than 30-35mpg, but on a longer drive I was surprised to see that figure didn’t rise that much, and at speed it always felt like the car was struggling to keep up, pushing the average mpg figure down. It’s slow, too, struggling to reach 60 in less that about 13 seconds. If you’re serious about a mid sized estate such as this, opt for the 1.6 diesel and you’ll return 60-70mpg on a longer journey and retain residual value, too. It’s low down power means that carrying a full boot load won’t feel like a burden, either.
The Kia is not a ‘sportwagon’ at all – even though some elements of the styling would have you think otherwise. It’s a stress-free, comfortable and easy cruiser though, and although it doesn’t give you much in terms of performance the drive and handling is more than adequate. The ride is a little firm but softens up when you’re going faster, with the steering nicely weighted and with as much feel as you’d need.
I enjoyed my time with the car, but sadly, there’s not a huge amount to recommend the Kia C’eed Sportswagon in petrol form if you really need an estate car. It won’t have the power for a full load, I wouldn’t recommend towing with it and it struggles to keep up with its competitors in terms of overall performance and driving characteristics.
However, choose a diesel and it’s a whole different ball game. There’ll be enough torque and grunt to feel like a proper estate, and with the car’s inherent practicality and boot space it starts to look like a much more appealing prospect. One thing the car is very good at is providing no-nonsense space, storage and practicality at a hugely reasonable price, starting at a shade under £17,000. Twinned with Kia’s 7-year warranty, the fact that some of its rivals are better to drive and more powerful doesn’t matter too much. If you like the idea of having a smaller estate car and need space but don’t need out and out fully-fledged workhorse characteristics, then the Kia C’eed Sportwagon fills a nice space in the sector and is to be recommended.