Sportswagon 1 1.4 CRDi ISG
has recently upped its game
with its all-new, family-sized, estate
looking in a more accomplished
second-generation body, it makes
an enticing case for your money...
SELLING POINTS are underlined by the decent fuel economy and low emissions that
together make up that always-good-to-hear phrase low running costs.
The icing on the cake is, of course, Kia's industry-best transferable seven
year / 100,000 mile warranty.
These latest, second-gen mid-sized cee'd estate cars aren't just smarter on
the outside beneath the new sporty-looking skin with tight shutlines
and quality paintwork is a stronger bodyshell: torsional body strength is up
by 51% over the previous model. Plus the improved rigidity features such
as the bonded-in windscreen have further improved the cee'd's refinement.
In the same way that the quality of a restaurant's house wine tells you a great
deal about eating there, the entry-level model of a range says a lot about the
rest of the line-up. Which is why, despite the obvious appeal of testing a fully-specified,
all-the-bells-and-whistles model, we've been driving the cheapest version of
the new Sportswagon the 1.4 CRDi.
acid test for a 'starter' model is how much it gets in the way of those essential
but unseen active and passive safety features such as airbags and electronic
stability and traction control systems tellingly, the range-starter Sportswagon
scores very well here with its class-leading safety which includes Electronic
Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Hill-start Assist, six airbags,
and emergency Stop signalling (this flashes the rear brake lamps during an emergency
stop to alert following drivers).
The turbodiesel engine
is gutsy so its
1.4 litres, despite
sounding small for a
is enough for
Jumping the gun a bit, Were we disappointed driving the 'cheapest' model? Not
in the least. Read on and you'll find out why... Engine choices are pretty straightforward:
1.4 and 1.6 CRDi turbodiesel units. The base model alone gets the 1.4, which
despite sounding small kicks out 89bhp and 162lb ft of torque from just 1,500rpm.
The turbodiesel engine is gutsy so its 1.4 litres is enough for laid-back driving;
but equally, it's eager to rev for instance, when joining motorways it
zips up to 70mph briskly enough. Once there, it's flexible, picking-up cleanly
in sixth to pass slower traffic.
Gearchanging is unfussed; the fluent-changing manual six-speed gearbox ensures
cog-swapping is never a hardship. A shift reminder is there to help the driver
do their bit to maximise fuel consumption but it's not intrusive and quickly
goes away. Ignore it if you choose. And the same goes for the stop-start: simply
switch it off whenever it suits you.
to a six-speed manual gearbox, and benefiting from Kia's Intelligent Stop &
Go (ISG), this 1.4-litre engine is officially capable of 67.3mpg in the Combined
Cycle while emitting a low 109g/km of CO2.
real-life driving conditions, most owners, even driving as hard as we do, should
match our 53.9mpg average consumption figure. With
50mpg today offering the satisfaction that 'The Ton' once did for Sixties drivers,
few will complain. And, of course, you won't be paying road tax for the first
year and after that it's only £20 per year. Tesco is right: every little helps.
prices begin at £16,895 for the 1.4 and then run, all with 1.6-litre power,
through five trim grades that follow Kia's standard numbering system: 1, 2,
3, 4, and 4 Tech) to £24, 795.
unfussed; the fluent-
is never a hardship.
A shift reminder helps
drivers maximise fuel
While the wedge-shaped all-new cee'd models are pretty smart on the outside
(you can't miss the distinctive front lights, more cab-forward design and rakish,
coupe-like roofline), thanks to being longer at just over 4.5 metres
long and having one of the longest wheelbases it in the class, they're
even 'smarter' space-wise on the inside.
Open and close one of the wide-opening, easy-shut doors and settle in one of
the comfy front seats and you'll be impressed by the cabin ambience; soft-touch
plastics, well-considered brightwork and a crisply styled fascia with big, easy-on-the-eye
dials and a driver-centric console all make for a soothing environment which,
despite the all-black theme, is refreshingly airy. Long windows help; they also
contribute to the A1 visibility.
Entry-level doesn't mean you go short on essential kit even the base
'1' spec cee'd comes with AirCon, power-operated heated door mirrors, power
front windows (auto one-shot up/down), tinted glass, chilled glovebox, daytime
running lights, speed-sensitive auto door locking, iPod-compatible audio system
with radio and CD player, USB port and Bluetooth with voice recognition and
music streaming as well as tailored mats and a sunglasses case.
Drivers can quickly set a driving position that suits them perfectly thanks
to height adjustment on the seat as well as a decent range of adjustment for
both height and reach of the steering wheel. The wheel is a multifunction item
with handy controls for voice, phone, audio and trip; and all the switchgear
works with a pleasing damped-yet-decisive action.
importantly, the heater does a nice line in hot for the winter months; a large
cooled glovebox keeps your refreshments fresh and appetising in the summer.
Incidentally, the footwells are knee- and shin-friendly and there's a proper
rest for your clutch foot.
yes; the seatbelts are height-adjustable too. Also, many drivers will be pleased
to find a foolproof traditional pull-up handbrake instead of an electric parking
The heater does a nice
line in hot for
the winter months;
a large cooled glovebox
in the summer...
cee'd's fabric-covered seats are pleasantly firm and accommodating the
bolstering is soft but effective and proved to be particularly comfortable
on long motorway trips. Rear passengers won't find much to complain about either;
they'll enjoy legroom that's better than most in this sector and all those aboard
are guaranteed plenty of shoulder- and head-room (there's masses in the front).
Ample cubbies for storage are fitted throughout the cabin.
Wind-up windows are standard in the rear cabin but they're fine in use. Apart
from that cost-cutter everything else is as for better trim level versions.
Entry and exit is easy and once in you feel as though you're sitting high. Lean
back against the nicely-angled backrests, enjoy the generous foot room and,
if you're an average-sized adult, you'll have several inches of clear air between
your head and the roof-lining. Three grown-ups can amicably get from A to B
seated side-by-side on the rear bench and the minimal centre tunnel ensures
the often pinched-out middle pair of feet have plenty of room to move.
Even with five riding in the Sportswagon you'll have 528 litres for baggage
no Ryanair compromises here. And easy access too, thanks to the high-opening
tailgate and a low, knee-height loading sill.
If you need more room for cargo, simply drop the 60:40 split-fold rear seats.
The seat bases pull up first, then tumble, which ensures a flat loadbay floor.
Do that and you'll have 1,642 litres to play with, which betters rivals from
Ford and Vauxhall. For the record, we fitted in a very large fridge-freezer
with the tailgate properly closed.
want more? No problem there's a handy multi-section tray beneath the
boot floor plus there are standard-fit roof rails. And if you need to tow, you'll
be pleased to know that the Sportswagon's braked towing capacity is a practical
1,500kg. And for the record, height-adjustable headlights ensure you won't be
dazzling oncoming cars at night however much you're carrying or pulling.
to know too, in a family car, that the brakes are very smooth and powerful.
An unplanned and pretty hard stop from 60mph into a lay-by (triggered by an
angry trapped wasp one of our passengers was allergic to wasp stings)
proved just how effective they are.
The brakes are very
smooth and powerful
an unplanned and pretty
hard stop from 60mph
into a lay-by (triggered by
an angry trapped wasp)
proved just how effective
The cee'd also steers fine and is easy to place. Talking of which, although
you don't get parking sensors on the entry-level model we tested, the deep rear
screen and rear headrests that sit flush to the seatback when not in use means
parking is hitch-free.
While the Sportswagon name doesn't, literally, confer sports car handling, the
typical cee'd customer will be more than satisfied with its reliable dynamics
and particularly smooth ride: the suspension set-up certainly takes the sting
out of bumps and potholes. So while it holds the road well, consider the 'sports'
in Sportswagon in a lifestyle sense bigger, roomier more stylish family
estate or 'wagon' and you'll have got the Sportswagon's raison d'Ítre
In keeping with its mission in life, the Sportswagon does it all with easygoing
but can-do diesel power. Top speed is a perfectly usable 106mph and motorway
driving is a relaxed, and quiet, experience at the legal limit. Getting up there
is quick enough from standstill to the benchmark 62mph is taken care
of in 13.4 seconds.
There's no such thing as a free lunch: Kia offers a seven-year / 100,000-mile
warranty because they're confident nothing will go wrong. Which is great news
for owners with the nous to keep their cee'd for a number of years to maximise
their outlay but should you need to sell on early then the outstanding
warranty will add to your cee'd's sales appeal. Overall a very nice car. And
welcome on my drive any day of the week!
Kia cee'd Sportswagon 1.4 CRDi 1 ISG
Top speed: 106mph | 0-62mph: 13.4 seconds | Average Test MPG: 53.9mpg
Power: 89bhp | Torque: 162lb ft | CO2 109g/km