In the family way

* A year with a Kia Cee'd * How was it to live with? * Our long-term test reviewed...

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What Car? Staff
24 July 2009

In the family way

In the family way
A new baby boy brought out the Kia's family-friendly qualities. Wide-opening rear doors meant the car seat was in and out in a flash, while a passenger could easily reach back to hand over toys or make sure he was okay.

He doesn't exactly travel light, but the boot was never to be beaten. Naturally, safety has risen up my priority list. Happily the Kia scored a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP's crash tests for adult protection, and four out of five for child protection.

It rightly lost points for the lack of visible information about how to switch off the front passenger airbag, and warnings of the danger of failing to do so if you're putting a child seat in the front. I scoured the manual for more details, but it was painful to navigate. The index is designed for lateral thinkers, with items under 'I' including 'If your car gets a flat tyre'. To find out about oil checks, you need to remember to look under 'E' for 'engine oil'. Rather than cooking oil, presumably.

Stability control isn't available even as an option on this model, which is disappointing, although Kia claims that few customers choose to add it to their cars. We would have if we could.Still, money saved in these areas helps the Kia to retain its budget charm. With a warranty that will last until baby Arthur is a satchel-wielding seven-year-old, it's great that car problems can be crossed off the long list of things to worry about in the meantime.

So easily did the miles speed by that I was surprised to realise that the
12,500-mile first service was almost overdue. Only one of the three nearest dealers could help within three days: West London Motor Group in Ruislip (0845 092 1511). They offered a service while I waited for 178.65. A check with Wessex Kia in Bristol showed that there was no point putting another 120 miles on the clock, as it would cost 'about 180' there, too.

The service took the promised hour-and-a-half, and I was soon back on the road as a very satisfied Kia customer. It appears that I wasn't the only one: Kia experienced sales growth in the UK in 2008, despite the grim economic situation, particularly for car manufacturers. Like supermarkets' value brands, which grew by 30% last year, it seems the company has caught the public mood.

So please join me in raising a glass (of prosecco) to the Kia Cee'd SW.