Estate cars have long been popular, bought perhaps more for being practical rather than stylish and the estate even went racing in the BTCC back in the nineties, courtesy of Volvo. Sooner or later as more stylish offerings emerged, one with style and yet a reasonably high degree when it comes to things practical. Such a vehicle is the Kia Ceed Sportswagon, now it has been subject to a comprehensive update and it is now in its third-generation and it is built in the company’s plant in Zilina, Slovakia and it was designed and engineered in Europe.
In order to satisfy customers, extensive testing was completed on European roads and at the Nurburgring race circuit in Germany, with validation testing on UK roads. Styling is sleek and modern with vitality, creating a contemporary dynamic stance. A pair of large side air intakes shoot through the bumper, creating a sportier appearance and a gloss black diffuser with satin finish detailing adds dynamism to the rear bumper. New alloy wheel designs add that little sparkle to the exterior. When customers buy such a vehicle, it must have a practical aspect and this new Kia features 625 litres of luggage capacity with the seats up and 1,694 litres with the 60/40 split/folding rear seats folded down.
Kia do deliver when its comes to the interior of their vehicles, finish and equipment levels are good with high-quality materials used throughout the cabin, with a significant proportion of soft-touch materials intensifying the refined and upscale ambience. No disappointment in the technology department, apart from no sat nav (other models), there is an easy to navigate infotainment screen and for entertainment on the move access via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Of course depending on the market it is available in, trim choices etc do vary. In the Northern Ireland market a choice of trim levels and petrol or diesel engines. For my test drive, a one litre arrived at my door; initially I was not excited, the reason being the small power unit. How wrong I was proved! The modest power unit turned out to be quite a performer in every respect; but to be fair to get the best performance I had to lean heavy with my right foot, and then there is a price to be paid at the pump.
On a personal level, I would have to move up to the 1.6 litre petrol engine (this unit is the offering in the ROI); this engine delivers 134bhp and although I have not tried it in a Ceed, on paper it looks very much the better choice. Returning to the one litre I had in my test example, it delivers 118bhp, which translates into the sprint from rest to 100kph (62mph) in just over eleven seconds and a maximum speed of 190kph (118mph ). It has become a rare occurrence for me as regards test cars, on the very odd occasion do I get the opportunity to have a manual transmission; this time round my test drive Ceed Sportswagon had a six speed manual; no criticism, it worked well, smooth and actually did deliver a degree of enjoyment as I tried to get the best out of the small engine. Regarding safety, a comprehensive standard package with the likes of Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning etc; features which you find and expect on vehicles costing much more.
I often speak with buyers and I get one of the reasons they are attracted to the Kia brand is the seven year warranty; this is one of the best currently available. Summing up, I did enjoy the Ceed Sportswagon and as my week rolled out I realised just how practical this style of vehicle can be; a good choice for a business owner or for one who enjoys outdoor pursuits.