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Kia Cee'd Sportswagon (2012-2018) review

The Kia Cee'd Sportswagon offers more space than the Focus Estate, but lacks the sporty drive its name suggests

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

  • Big boot
  • Decent cabin space
  • Good quality
  • Awkward to fold rear seats
  • Pricier than you’d expect
  • Firm ride

With sleek looks, a classy cabin and generous standard equipment, the latest Cee’d is another stylish addition to the Kia line-up . It’s even more desirable in Sportswagon form, which adds versatility to the hatch’s style. There’s a range of smooth petrol and frugal diesel engines to choose from, while a seven-year warranty provides real peace of mind.

Engines, performance and drive

Despite its power advantage, the Cee’d isn't that much faster than a VW Golf Estate or Skoda Octavia Estate. Even so, its 1.6-litre engine is smooth and eager on the road and the gearbox has a light, precise action. Kia’s Flex Steer system lets you change the car’s steering weight to suit your driving style and the conditions, but you’ll struggle to notice the difference, so it’s best left in Normal mode. Still, the steering is direct, allowing you to place the Cee’d with confidence. And while it runs out of grip sooner than its rivals, it always feels planted and the firm low-speed ride softens up once you hit the motorway.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

At £21,095, the Sportswagon is one of the cheapest in its class. In 3 form, it’s crammed with kit, including touchscreen sat-nav (for which you’ll pay £750 extra on the Golf). Yet despite its low list price, high 116g/km CO2 emissions mean it’s the most costly company car, while private buyers won’t like predicted residual values of 36.3 per cent. When we tested the Kia Cee'd Sportswagon personally, we recorded a very respectable 47.4mpg economy on test, plus Kia’s Care-3 servicing plan covers all scheduled mechanical maintenance over three years for £329, or five years for £609.

Interior, design and technology

It's getting old, but the Cee’d still turns plenty of heads. Soft curves and a rising waistline give it a sportier appearance than more upright rivals, while 2 models and above get alloy wheels and eye-catching LED running lights as standard. Inside, a wraparound dashboard, some slick switchgear and decent materials give a quality feel, although the cabin isn’t as upmarket as that of the VW Golf. There’s plenty of equipment, too: our 3 test car came with satellite navigation, climate control and power mirrors as standard.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

In isolation, the Kia is a roomy family car. Yet at 528 litres, its boot is 82 litres smaller than the one in the Skoda Octavia Estate. On the plus side, folding the seats flat frees up 1,660 litres – that’s 40 litres more than in the Golf. There’s also a level boot floor, a low loading lip and some useful underfloor storage space.

Reliability and Safety

The seven-year manufacturer warranty suggests Kia is confident that its cars will be durable and trouble-free. The Cee’d didn’t feature in our  Driver Power 2013 survey, although Kia finished seventh in the manufacturer chart. All Cee’ds get six airbags and stability control, but only the £24,795 4 Tech has lane departure warning.

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