Kia Cee’d Sportswagon Review
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Quick Facts
Model spec: Kia Cee'd Sportswagon '3' Price: £21,295.00 Engine: 1.6 CRDI Turbo Diesel
BHP / Torque: 126 / 192 Max Speed: 119 CO2: 116g/km 0-62mph: 9.5 seconds
Economy/Range: 35mpg combined Tax: £30/year
It wasn’t too long ago Kia was the habitual go-too underdog, affordable and with a 7 year warranty. Those days have been well and truly vanquished, just take a look at the Cee’d, a compact car with big aspirations. And if you are aspirational in outlook then the second generation Cee’d looks and feels the part to match your ambitions. Its so far removed from the first generation  Cee’d in terms of overall quality it makes the latter look rather Dickensian. The Cee’d is designed and engineered in Europe to specifically cater for European tastes. Aimed at the compact car sector its available as a three and five door hatchback and estate, or Sportswagon to give it a more dynamic sounding luster. The Cee’d Sportswagon comes with a choice of three engines one petrol and two diesels all of which range from 1.4 – 1.6-litre variants for both fuel formats. Five trim levels are offered, conveniently 1,2,3,4,5 and all are available with a 6 speed manual or 5 speed automatic transmission. The exterior design is sleek looking, Kia now use a higher grade and thicker steel compared to the first generation and Cee’d mark-2 has lost that “tinny” shanty town feel of the first generation. The interior design and build now has a more premium feel throughout. The materials used and the overall quality is superb for a car in this sector. And there is more than enough room for all which belies the compact nature of the car. Of course there will be a few niggles about user operability regarding the stereo system or too many buttons but that’s a subjective debate for others to engage in. Standard kit level is decent, 16-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear privacy glass, dual air con, 7 inch touchscreen with Sat Nav, dual climate control including a decent sounding 6-speaker stereo system, you also get USB and Bluetooth and an integrated reversing camera. That brings us to the load space, as always its usefully big enough, and even more usefully big enough with the rear seats folded flat. I don’t usually get to excited about boot space, I mean its what you expect from an estate, but the geek among you might get excited about extra underfloor storage space and cubbie holes. The Cee’d Sportswagon is good to drive, the chassis is composed, grip levels are good and the suspension is supple but not too soft meaning the ride is cosseting while the handling remains alert due to minimal body roll. It all combines to relay a confidence when driving through twisty country lanes. However there seemed to be too much noise intrusion emanating from the rear boot area which filled the cabin space and spoiled the seclusion that you get with the 5 and 3 door hatch.
“Flex-Steer is a three mode steering system that alters the weight of the steering via user controls. The three modes are Normal, Comfort and Sport. In my opinion these modes need further calibration if they are to be of practical use.”
Kia has adopted the use of electronic steering, early examples used to feel like a force feed back steering accessory you can buy for Drive Club for the PS4. Kia’s early attempts of using this setup didn’t feel as natural as a hydraulic system. That’s changed, the engineers have tweaked the electronic steering which now has a more natural feel, great, and now it also comes with Flex-Steer. Flex-Steer is a three mode steering system that alters the weight of the steering via user controls. The three modes are Normal, Comfort and Sport. In my opinion these modes need further calibration if they are to be of practical use. Sport mode added too much resistance, while comfort seemed too light, indeed Normal steering mode felt like the best mode to be in at all times, because it felt the most natural. So the question is what is Flex-Steer for? Kia have really made strides in the engine department, the 1.6 CRDi turbo diesel is fairly quiet at idle and from behind the wheel you can barely hear it thanks to the excellent sound insulation. Again this adds to the premium feel of the Cee’d. On the move the engine has plenty of power on offer, its refined and smooth and is accessible thanks to a well engineered and crisp to engage 6-speed manual gearbox. Combined this makes for a relaxed cruiser. OK it may not have spectacular 0-60mph times of its Golf rival or that driver involvement but this isn’t a sprint it’s a long distance race and that means it will return 62mpg on a combined trip. Overall there is very little wrong with the Cee’d Sportswagon, its fairly stylish on the outside, very refined on the inside and offers all round practicality and versatility one expects of an estate car. At £21k all in its pretty good value and typically undercuts its VW Golf rival by around £500. However £500 isn’t too much of a difference these days, and that’s the price you pay for upgrading to what many would consider to be a step up in terms of badge respectability, if you go for the Golf. The 7 year warranty Kia offers means the Kia has a ‘peace of mind’ advantage. Although UK motoring journalists love the Golf, out of bias perhaps, you really shouldn’t underestimate the Cee’d… Anymore.  Kia-Ceed-Estate-P
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