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The maternity-leave cruiser

  • A year with a Kia Cee'd
  • How was it to live with?
  • Our long-term test reviewed
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The maternity-leave cruiser
Once I started maternity leave, the Kia was tested as a long-distance cruiser on journeys to visit family in the West Country, and it was then that I rued the GS trim's lack of cruise control.

However, considering it costs less than half the price of a Volvo V70 which I consider to be one of the comfiest ways to travel the Cee'd stood the test well. It was definitely more than half as comfortable as a Volvo and, believe it or not, with the rear seats folded gave me 1664 litres of load space that's 64 litres more than the V70.

The Cee'd was let down by its seats, which are cheaply made and had me wriggling like an MP justifying an expenses claim in order to get comfortable. Off the motorway, the car's overly firm ride didn't help, with too many bumps reaching my bottom for the drive to be really restful.

Cue soothing music and what should be one of the Kia's most impressive ingredients. The standard iPod lead allows you to control your MP3 player via the stereo controls, and charge it, too; something many 'smarter' cars offer only as an option. However,
it was so fiddly and unintuitive to operate (even after lengthy consultation with the manual) that I found it easier to use a jack-to-jack lead in the auxiliary socket and rely on my pre-programmed playlists or a passenger to choose the tunes. Luckily, my singing was loud enough to make up for the rather feeble-sounding speakers.

Grappling with a hands-free kit is as hazardous to my driving as using a phone, so Bluetooth connectivity is essential in a car. It's not available in the Cee'd, so we had a Parrot LS3200 system fitted by Paralight (www.paralight.co.uk), at a cost of 200. It was easy to use and helped me answer vital calls legally. Better still, it can be removed and transferred to another car when you sell yours.