Kias aren’t what they used to be. They’re now stylish, well built, good to drive and pricier than you might imagine.
We've already been impressed by the spacious, if slightly dull-looking, new Cee’d Sportswagon with its 1.6-litre diesel engine. Yet the larger, more powerful of the two diesels starts from a sizeable £17,695. Sit down for this, but you can actually pay closer to £25,000 for the top-spec 4 Tech model.
If you want the cheapest way into Cee’d Sportswagon ownership, you’ll have to go for the 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel, sold only in the lowest 1 trim.
But while it has plastic wheel trims, you still get kit like air-con, Bluetooth and an iPod connection. And the quality inside is really good, as is the style – the dash is great to look at and great to use.
The 528-litre boot (1,642 litres with the seats down) is similarly useful and slightly bigger than most other small estate cars’. The load bay is nice and square, the opening wide and the floor level with the bumper. But to extend the boot, you have to flip up the seatbases then fold the backrests.
Can that 1.4 diesel cope with a full load? Put it this way, you won’t get anywhere in a hurry, whether the car’s loaded up or not. So it’s a good job the dynamics err more on the side of comfort than fun.