The Kia Ceed Sportswagon is the estate version of the company's latest small family car. Despite the name, the changes over the Ceed hatchback are designed to improve practicality, rather than boost its sporty credentials.
Fold the rear seats and capacity grows to 1642 litres, which is 140 litres up on the Focus and almost on par with the Octavia.
What's the 2012 Kia Ceed Sportswagon like inside?
To boost practicality, there's an almost totally flat entrance to the load area, and a couple of neat and well-shaped underfloor cubbyholes. The rear seats fold totally flat, although you do have to flip their bases first.
With the seats in place, the Sportswagon has enough rear head- and legroom to keep most adults happy.
Kia Ceed Sportswagon is available only with diesel engines
Front space is even more generous. There's a wide range of adjustment for the driver, too, and the dashboard has simple controls and a smart design.
Entry-level 1 trim brings air-conditioning, Bluetooth and front electric windows, while 2 editions add reversing sensors, alloys and cruise control. Range-topping 4 Tech versions get everything from a panoramic glass roof to a parallel-park-assist system.
What's the 2012 Kia Ceed Sportswagon like to drive?
The Ceed hatchback isn't at all sporty to drive, and neither is this estate version. The steering is slow-witted and vague, while there's a fair amount of body sway through tight twists and turns.
On the upside, the Sportswagon soaks up bumps well; whatever speed you're doing, the ride remains impressively smooth and composed.
The entry-level 1.4-litre diesel has just 89bhp, but there's enough low-down pull to get you and your payload up to speed briskly enough.
The engine runs out of puff above 3000rpm, which is a good thing because it gets decidedly clattery if you exceed this benchmark. CO2 emissions of just 109g/km mean this entry-level engine is the pick for company car drivers.
Our True MPG team achieved an impressive real-world average of 58.7mpg with this model, too.
The 126bhp 1.6 diesel adds a welcome boost in performance, but it also adds 800 to the price and increases CO2 emissions to 113g/km. That said, the larger engine achieved an almost identical 58.9mpg in our True MPG tests.
Whichever version of the Sportwagon you choose, you'll have to put up with lots of road noise. Versions equipped with Hankook tyres are the noisiest, but even cars shod with Continental rubbers kick up a fair amount of tyre noise at motorway speeds.
Should I buy one?
The Ceed Sportswagon is a practical estate that provides lots of space and plenty of kit for a competitive price.
That's especially true if you stick with the entry-level 1.4 CRDi 1 model, because it costs just 16,845 1500 less than the cheapest diesel version of the Ford Focus Estate.
Just make sure you avoid the range-topping 3 and 4 editions; if you have more than 20k to spend, there are better estates to choose from.
Read the Kia Ceed Sportswagon review for parents at Mumsnet Cars
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