What's the used Kia Ceed estate like?
The rise in Kia’s fortunes in the UK can be traced back to its styling revolution, which started with the likes of the Sportage and Venga, continued through the Cee'd and right the way up to larger models such as the eye-catching Optima and Stinger.
Add to that Kia’s highly favourable seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty – which is transferable and, so far, unmatched in the industry – and you have an attractive range of cars.
The Cee'd is an extremely likeable five-door hatchback, but for those who require a little more practicality and extra boot space, there is the Sportswagon version. Pretty much identical to the hatchback as far as the rear doors, the Ceed SW tags on a voluminous boot, with 528 litres of space with the rear seats up and 1642 litres with them down.
Under the bonnet, the Cee'd SW originally came with a choice of an 89bhp 1.4-litre or 126bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine, and five trim levels: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 4 Tech. There are no options other than metallic paint; instead, all the extras are packaged across the trims, simplifying both the way you choose your car and how you pay for it.
All trims get air-con, front electric windows, central locking, an iPod-compatible CD stereo and Bluetooth. Reversing sensors are standard from 2 versions, while 3 and 4 have a reversing camera. Meanwhile, 4 Tech adds a parallel park assist system that automatically steers the car into kerbside spaces.
A facelift in 2016 added a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a warm hatch trim – GT-Line – that comes with lots of kit as standard, including part-leather upholstery, reversing sensors, air-con and four electric windows.
All models get a six-speed manual gearbox; there’s a six-speed automatic 'box available in 2 trim only.
On the road, the Cee'd SW isn’t the most exciting car to drive, but it does everything with a surprising amount of competence. The 1.0 petrol engine needs working hard to make good progress, but it doesn’t mind it when you do. The 1.6 diesel has enough pace for most, with much more low-end grunt than the petrol unit. It can be a little gruff around town, however, and when the engine’s cold.
In corners, the Cee'd SW is assured and stable, with plenty of grip. It’s not exactly fun, though, with numb steering and handling that veers towards safe and predictable rather than entertaining. However the payoff for that is there’s a comfortable ride, with a largely forgiving suspension that dismisses small road irregularities well. On top of that, it’s impressively refined in terms of road and wind noise, being generally smooth and quiet on the move. However, as mentioned, the diesel’s engine note can intrude at times.
Inside is a good driving position and a pleasant dashboard and layout, although rear visibility can be a little restricted by the rising windowline to the rear. The infotainment system is wonderfully intuitive, unlike the set-ups in some rivals, and ease of use seems to take precedence over style. Big, bold displays and clearly labelled controls are the order of the day, and the wealth of steering wheel-mounted buttons are easy to get used to. Overall, interior quality is good, with mostly pleasing materials on display, although the seat fabrics can look a little cheap.
There’s plenty of room up front, too, and rear passengers will have enough leg and head room, but three abreast will be a bit of a squeeze. The boot not only has plentiful space, it also has a low loading lip and is usefully square.