The new Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon isn’t as big as its name suggests. Less of a wagon and more of a small estate car, it boasts a top-notch interior, a big boot, and an attractive 7-year warranty that Kia are becoming known for.
This South Korean manufacturer has had an interesting history; from making bicycle parts to a company renowned for reliability and 7-year warranties. Read more about them in our brief history of Kia.
Small estate cars tend to either be average or evergreen bestsellers, like the Golf Estate. The Cee’d is still fairly new but it’s far from average. With lots of standard kit, slick looks and a solid range of engines, it’s got a lot going for it.
But has it got enough to jostle its way to the top of your shortlist?
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon review.
Overview of the Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon
On the Road
As it is, the Cee’d is neither a wagon nor very sporty. Instead, it’s a comfortable small estate car that’s easy to drive, and which feels very relaxed.
The steering isn’t the most responsive that you’ll come across, but it’s relaxed and all models above the entry level come with the brand’s adjustable FlexSteer system. This offers 3 separate weights, with the idea being that you can make the steering as light or as heavy as needed at a particular time.
It works okay, but the heaviest setting causes the Cee’d to feel a tad out of control on winding roads – which is never a good thing.
Ride quality is a little firm for our liking, but it does soften up at speed. Overall, the Cee’d might be easy to drive but it isn’t very engaging. For that, you’d need to look elsewhere.
In terms of its engines, there are two diesels on offer with the new Sportswagon. They’re not the most powerful in this range and they can struggle with the car on a full load when you’re ascending a steeper incline. However, both engines are quiet and smooth.
A 1.4-litre CRDI diesel kicks things off. It’s slow and takes around 13.0 seconds to complete the 0-62 dash. As a matter of fact, it’s the slowest engine in the range, but frustratingly it isn’t even the cheapest to run.
Our top pick is the 1.6-litre CRDI diesel. It can get you from rest to 62mph in 10.1 seconds and has enough pulling power to cope with the car on a full load – though only just.
Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon Interior, Design and Build
A couple of years ago, you’d be forgiven for expecting a fairly drab and grey cabin from Kia, but times have changed. The price tag might still be small but the Cee’d SW sports a cabin that could even be called upmarket.
Quality is good, everything feels solidly built, and while blacks and greys do dominate, there are lashings of silver and chrome to break things up.
If you opt for the 3 model, you’ll even get a truly premium interior that raises the bar with its gloss black fascia and top notch trim finishes.
Whichever model you go for, you’ll be treated to a cabin that looks good and which should stand the test of time.
Comfort is good, too, with headrests for the rear seats a nice touch. Insulation is also good for the most part, although more exterior noise will creep in as you pick up speed on the motorway.
Is the Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon practical? This is the area where the car is as close to a wagon as it gets, and for a small estate car, it really is quite spacious. Four adults can easily sit in comfort on longer trips, with leg and headroom good for all.
Storage solutions are just fine and include a few “secret compartments”, such as one or two beneath the boot floor.
The boot itself measures 528-litres. Fold the rear seats and it extends to an impressive 1,642-litres, which goes some way to justifying the “wagon” moniker.
Read our balanced assessment of Kia’s reliability. Is the brand as reliable as they would have us believe?
Equipment and Safety of the Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon
There are 5 trim levels available. The entry-level 1 model covers all the basics, with the likes of supportive seats, Bluetooth, remote central locking and air conditioning available as standard. The 2 model adds chrome instrument cluster rings and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, as well as power-folding heated door mirrors and 16” alloys.
The 3 model gets you reversing sensors, sat nav, a camera and a 7” touchscreen, while the Tech model rounds things off with lane departure warning, parking assistance and a panoramic sunroof.
Safety wise, the Cee’d was awarded all five stars for its crash test by Euro NCAP. It scored especially well for adult occupant protection (89%), while its standard safety kit includes emergency stop signalling, brake assist, hill-start assist, vehicle stability management, electronic stability control and 6 airbags.
Costs of the Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon
Prices for the new car start at £18,525 and rise to £25,335. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the 1.4-litre diesel might be the smallest and slowest engine in the range, but the 1.6-litre CRDI diesel is the most frugal. It can return as much as 72.4mpg economy on a good day and emits just over 100g/km of CO2. However, opting for the twin-clutch automatic transmission will have a negative impact on returns.
The car is inexpensive to insure and occupies groups 6 to 15.
Pros and Cons of the Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon
Measuring 528-litres, it’s one of the biggest in this class.
Kia’s are looking better and better all the time, with the latest Cee’d SW a testament to that.
It really is an unbeatable warranty.
Poor 1.4-litre diesel engine
It’s slow and inefficient.
Rear seats are awkward to fold
The operation should be easier than it is.
Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon vs Ford Focus Estate vs Skoda Octavia Estate
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon review.
Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon vs Ford Focus Estate
The brand new Ford Focus Estate is practical, but it’s also lots of fun to drive and looks great.
Naturally, we don’t all buy estate cars based on how well they drive but it’s always a bonus when a car that is otherwise excellent all-round is also great to drive, too. That’s the case here. The Focus is sharp and involving, and it’s based on Ford’s brand new C2 platform that has been designed to enhance driver enjoyment even more.
A sophisticated suspension layout helps with ride quality, while a Continuously Controlled Damping system automatically tweaks the suspension according to your braking and steering inputs.
In terms of its engines, a 1.5-litre 94 bhp diesel kicks things off. We’d overlook it in favour of a 118bhp variant of the same engine. It comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission and can get you from rest to 62mph in just 10.5 seconds.
Rounding off the range is a sportier 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel that’s available with the ST Line model.
Running costs? The 118bhp can be specified with a 6-speed manual gearbox and doing so can see you return as much as 76mpg on a good day. However, if you specify the 8-speed automatic, the best you’ll return is 63mpg. Emissions, meanwhile, rise from 98g/km of CO2 to 123g/km.
Inside, the Focus Estate is no longer as bland and focused on functionality as it once was. Instead, Ford have spiced things up with carbon effect highlights and metallic wood. How plush your car is depends on the trim, and there is still evidence of harder plastics. All in all, though, this is the best-looking Focus Estate yet.
Button clutter is no longer an issue, with Ford adding a colour touchscreen that grows to be as big as 8” if you opt for the more expensive trims.
Is the Ford Focus Diesel Estate practical? It’s been rebuilt from scratch, and the advantage of that is Ford have been able to create more interior space than ever before. The cabin is easy to access, easy to use, and easy to be comfortable in over longer journeys. Rear seat space has never been this good, and three adults can sit in comfort back there.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 608-litres and grows to be as big as 1,650 when you fold the rear seats.
Kia – £18,525 – £25,335
Ford – £18,805
Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon vs Skoda Octavia Estate
The new Skoda Octavia Estate is one of the most practical cars on the planet, boasting a vast interior and a vast boot. It’s short on looks and badge appeal, however.
It’s also not the real deal on the road if what you’re looking for is a car that will entertain you. That said, this is a solid estate car that’s comfortable, quiet and relaxing to drive.
In fact, it drives a lot like the Octavia Hatchback. It won’t excite you but it also won’t let you down, and its driving experience can be deemed “capable.”
In terms of its engines, there are a handful of diesels available. Sitting at the bottom of the range is a 1.6-litre TDI unit that covers the 0-62 dash in a spirited 10.2 seconds. We like it but if you need more power you’ll probably be quite taken by the 2.0-litre diesel. It develops 148bhp and has a 0-62 time of 8.5 seconds.
Rounding off the range is a VRS model that develops 181bhp, and which covers the 0-62 sprint in just 8.0 seconds dead on.
Running costs? The 1.6-litre diesel is impressively economical for a car of this size and can return as much as 72.4mpg on a good day. It also has a BiK rating of 20%. The 2.0-litre diesel offers more oomph and returns 65.7mpg while emitting 113g/km of CO2.
Inside, the Octavia Estate is roomy and well built, but there are one or two issues. Insulation isn’t the best, and the diesels do get loud under hard acceleration. Meanwhile, comfort will be compromised by bigger alloys and a firm suspension setup.
Quality-wise, the cabin fares well and everything is easy to operate, too.
Is the Skoda Octavia Estate practical? As mentioned, the interior is super spacious, while its 610-litre boot is one of the biggest in this class. Fold the rear seats and you can extend it to 1,740-litres. The boot also comes with a false floor, as well as a 12v socket that will prove handy.
Other than that, five adults can sit in comfort, head and legroom is good for all and there are plenty of good-sized storage spaces here and there.
Skoda – £18,895 – £30,895
Verdict of our 2018 Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon Review
Kia’s overall lineup is getting stronger all the time, and their models in 2018 have a lot of things in common – smart looks, smart cabins, lots of quality and an ever-increasing upmarket feel.
One thing they’ll continue to lack, though, is badge appeal. However, with the brand new statement-making Kia Cee’d Diesel Sportswagon, we think it’s high time that buyers look beyond the established names in this sector to give Kia a proper chance.
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