£16,460 - £25,860 Price range
42 - 72 MPG
It’s a practical car, typically less expensive than rivals, well-equipped and offered with two frugal engines – though it does lack some of the dynamic sparkle that some rivals offer. But it still makes a compelling case as a good-sized car for moving the whole family around.
The Sportswagon is pretty well equipped too with all cars getting air-conditioning, a Bluetooth phone connection and a DAB radio. The mid-range 2 trim comes with just about everything you need as standard, while GT-Line models get a different bodykit and larger wheels making the Kia look quite desirable – if you buy your Sportswagon before the 30th of June, you can move up from the 2 trim to a GT-Line model free of charge.
It’s pretty much identical to the Cee’d hatchback in here, save for the 528-litre boot – compared to the already-impressive 380 litres of the regular Cee’d, ranking it high in our family hatchback boot space list. That’s also bigger than Ford and Vauxhall’s equivalent estate cars. It features in our Top 10 Biggest Estate Car Boots.
Space with the seats down is 1,642 litres, and when you flip forward the seat bases you can make a totally flat load area. There’s good space for passengers, a comfortable driving position and an attractive dashboard design. Kia has generally done well with materials here.
If you prioritise ride quality over handling flair, the Cee’d Sportswagon could be the car for you – otherwise, you may be a little disappointed. “Handling errs on the side of comfort” says one reviewer, and even utilising Kia’s ‘FlexSteer’ system in sport mode, there’s not much joy to be had here. Better to relax and appreciate the “smooth and composed” ride.
Refinement isn’t quite perfect either – testers note plenty of tyre noise. And while the ride is okay for the most part, one or two say it can feel a little firm on some surfaces. There’s not too much to complain about, but the Sportswagon still gets a “could do better” for driving characteristics.
Kia has picked only two engines for the Cee’d Sportswagon range, and they’re both diesels. The excludes the smooth 1.6 petrol from the hatchback’s lineup, but on the plus side both diesels are frugal – the most penny-pinching 1.4 CRDi can hit up to 67.3 mpg, the 1.6 CRDis manage 64.2 mpg. If you pick the automatic transmission, this drops dramatically to 50.4 mpg, so on that basis alone we’d be tempted to give it a miss.
The engines aren’t ideal for hauling along the Sportswagon’s bulk. The 1.4 particularly – it’s just a bit lethargic. Even the 1.6 isn’t overly quick, but makes lighter work of a car full of people and their things. Both can feel a little sluggish at low revs, and when you use the performance on offer they can be a bit clattery. Noise does settle down at speed though.
It's a small engine producing just 89 horsepower, and as such it struggles to pull the Sportswagon body along - 0-60 takes a lethargic 13.4 seconds and that's with just the driver on board. Reviewers say it feels unhurried at best, and low-down power isn't great either. Really, you're better off picking the 1.6 CRDi.
Economy is the better reason to buy the 1.6 CRDi, at 64.2 mpg combined with correspondingly low CO2. Testers call the unit "relaxed but relatively refined", though it can be a little "gruff", particularly when cold. It calms down at speed, and generally should be easier than the 1.4 to live with.
Based on the Kia Cee’d, which received a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP, the Cee’d Sportswagon promises to be similarly safe. Six airbags, ABS and stability control, and hill-start assist are standard across all versions, and critics think Kia could offer more safety equipment.
A feature worth noting is the presence of impact-absorbing structure, which can keep the deformation minimum for collisions taking place at speeds up to 9mph. That means if other road users brake frantically or fail to brake (at low speed, mind), your Cee’d Sportwagon shouldn’t take too much of damage.
At the entry level, the Cee’d Sportswagon costs a good £1,500 less than the cheapest diesel Ford Focus Estate – enough to tempt many buyers. Equipment levels are good too, and Kia’s seven-year warranty is still among the best in the industry. By the time you get up into the £20,000 range though, say reviewers, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
As you go higher up the range, you’ll find prices equivalent to that of the rivals. And while that might need you to decide what you want to go for – the brand value of VW and Ford or the equipment that’s offered on the Cee’d.
Also, while resale values aren’t right there yet, but if you plan to keep the Cee’d Sportswagon with you for a long period of time, the added equipment should keep you happy. The residual values won’t, though.
The Kia Cee’d Sportswagon is a decent car, with a value price tag and a pair of frugal engines. The boot space and flat load area make it an attractive option too. As long as you’re not expecting any excitement, it’s a solid choice.
Given the small price difference between basic versions of the 1.4 and 1.6 CRDi engines, we’d really advise picking the larger option – particularly if you intend to carry more people or kit on a regular basis. With only a few mpg in it, there’s no reason to pick the smaller 1.4-litre engine.