ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: Kia cee’d Sportswagon
Cold mornings highlighted some clever engineering in Stop-Start systems, but it caught KEITH WARD out during his Kia cee’d Sportswagon road test.
DRIVERS who find those eco-trendy stop-start engine systems refusing to activate these winter mornings should not be surprised.
The latest Kia cee’d, so equipped, caught me out. Repeated pushing of the stop-start master button failed to rouse it, denying me the claimed savings in fuel and foul exhaust fumes.
A reading of the handbook revealed why. If your engine is cold, the heater fan is going full blast to de-mist the windscreen and warm up the cabin, or the battery is cold and under-charged, the engine, as a protection, will refuse to cut out when expected.
Despite this cold-morning eco-strike during one of the chilliest Pennine weeks of winter, the car in our hands returned a pleasing 50 mpg-plus in over 800 miles of hard motoring.
Helping Kia to bust their annual UK sales record in 2012 was the Focus-sized and quirkily named cee’d.
It was named Northern Car of the Year, a clear winner, by the UK’s Northern Group of Motoring Writers.
First launched as a 16-strong hatchback range, with choice of petrol or diesel, it was joined last autumn by the sleek estate version tested here, dubbed a Sportswagon rather than the slightly shorter SW previously, which in its time outsold the hatch among business users.
Hence it comes only with fleet-favoured diesel units, an 89 bhp 1.4 or the 126 bhp 1.6 we tried. Designed and engineered at the Korean company’s European centre in Frankfurt, it too is built in Slovakia. Seven versions start at £16,895, so £2,500 higher than the hatch, rising to £24,795, through five trim levels.
Thought has gone into the practical design of the estate. It stands 15mm longer but 10mm narrower and 40mm lower than its predecessor. There’s seating for four adults in comfort or five at a pinch. It is claimed to be more compact than all its major European rivals, yet boasting the greatest cargo capacity. We give dimensions checked with our own tape.
The 60-40 divided rear seats tilt and fold to give an extended flat floor, flush with the tailgate opening and just 630 mm or around two feet above ground for ease of loading. There are useful underfloor storage trays and roomy lidded boxes to each side. Plus an unusual lidded trough inside the rear sill, handy for carrying bottles upright.
Generous basic trim also includes a retractable luggage cover, roof rails, boot light and 12-volt power socket. Our mid-range ‘3’ trim came with a rail and partition system for the boot and a barrier net.
Inside the neatly-furnished cabin of every Sportswagon are a steering wheel adjustable for reach and rake, electric mirrors and front windows, height-adjustable driver’s seat, air con, remote locking, a cooled glovebox, iPod-friendly, six-speaker audio with USB port and Bluetooth, alloy wheels, hill-start control and six airbags. The indicator stalk is on the left as part of Kia’s “Euro-friendly” thinking.
Our ‘3’ trim on a 1.6, expected to be the best seller at £21,095, bags you cornering lights, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, reversing sensors, auto headlights and wipers, front wiper de-icer, auto dual-zone climate and a fine seven-inch touch-screen sat-nav with built-in reversing camera.
Level ‘4’ promises black leather, a deep centre console, smarter trim and winter comforts like heated seats and steering wheel. Top ‘4 Tech’ adds panoramic sunroof, power driver’s seat, hands-off parallel parking and a lane departure warning system.
On the road, the Sportswagon sits lower and wider-tracked than before, with a body reportedly 51 per cent stiffer, while suspension changes make for a softer ride, so there’s a saloon feel to this estate, without compromise to its sure roadholding and agile handling. That must also be helped by Kia’s effective work on noise reduction. To perform without too raucous a note the 1.6 diesel needs nursing through the smooth gearbox. You are nagged when to best do it for economy by a warning light on the dash.
There’s a 5-star Euro NCAP rating for crash protection. And that industry-leading seven-year warranty. It’s a good all-round package. In short, you can imagine this cee’d being planted on a lot more motorists’ drives in the coming months.
Watch out for: On sale mid-2013 a three-door pro_cee’d GT hot hatch and five-door cee’d GT, each powered by a lusty 201 bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine. Plus a cee’d-based MPV Carens, five or seven seater, on sale Spring 2013.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
Model: Kia cee’d Sportswagon 1.6 CRDi 3 Eco
Engine: Diesel; 1,582 cc; turbo; 6-speed manual; ISG stop-start system
Power: 126 bhp @4,000 rpm; max torque 192 lb ft @ 1,900-2,750 rpm
Performance: 120 mph; 0-60 in 10.8 secs
MPG: On test 50.6; official combined 64.2 mpg; tank 53 litres
CO2: 116 g/km; band C; tax disc Nil then £30; BIK 17 %
Insurance: Group 13 (1 to 50)
Warranty: Seven years/100,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.
CLICK HERE and “Like” our Facebook page for regular updates and follow us on Twitter