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Kia Ceed Sportswagon review

Kia Ceed Sportswagon review
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Comfortable and refined
Build quality and specs
7-Year warranty

Our Rating 
Noisier than the hatch
Not much fun to drive
Less of a bargain than before

Kia Ceed Sportswgaon - front

Does the Kia Ceed SW Estate – or Sportswagon – live up to the promise of the five-door hatch?

The Kia Ceed Sportswagon is a roomy family estate that’s worth considering if you’re in the market for a competent compact family hatchback-based hauler. It has just about as much room in the back as a Ford Focus Estate or Volkswagen Golf Estate, and drives well enough to keep most owners happy with either diesel or three-cylinder petrol power. With good equipment levels on offer too, and a comfortable and high quality interior, there’s not a lot to actively criticise.

One downside is that more volume in the back means there’s a little more interior noise when the load bay is empty, and the Ceed generally is not an especially thrilling drive. As Kia becomes more mainstream the price gap between it and more traditional choices narrows, too.

4 Feb, 2019


Kia continues its march upmarket, but high spec and lots of tech doesn’t hide occasionally low rent trim 

Although there’s a bit more sparkle in the cabin due to a small trim changes and chrome effect detailing, the interior of the new Ceed is identical to that of the previous version. That means you get a swooping dashboard that looks contemporary and attractive, with the controls laid out sensibly. The central touchscreen is carried over too, and it’s just as easy and intuitive to use. The most significant change to the new model is the extra connectivity so you get traffic updates for the sat-nav, speed camera warnings and search functionality.

Overall the feel is one of quality, but there are one or two applications of cheap hard plastic that you wouldn’t find in a leading European rival.

The exterior of the new Ceed Sportswagon is very close in design to the regular hatch, apart from the extended roofline and rear overhang mentioned previously. All models look respectable with body-colour bumpers and alloy wheels, body-colour door handles and mirrors plus chrome window surrounds and roof rails – there’s no ‘poverty spec’. Projector-style headlamps give a contemporary feel up front, and the lavishly equipped First Edition adds LED headlamps and cornering lights.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The seven-inch standard or eight-inch navigation touchscreens in more luxurious models are brightly illuminated with good clarity, and straightforward to use with intuitive menus. The ‘connected’ services are included for the same seven-year period as the Kia warranty, which is good news too.

All models get a decent six-speaker audio set up with DAB radio, USB and aux connectors, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with voice control. Top spec First Edition models get an upgraded JBL eight-speaker stereo and also benefit from the addition of wireless phone charging.


The driving attributes of the Ceed SW are very similar to those of the hatchback, which is what you’d expect as the cars are to all intents and purposes identical under the skin. There’s no reduction in stability or grip, and nothing in the handling characteristics to suggest you’re paying a penalty for the extra luggage space tacked on the back.

It’s worth noting that the 16-inch alloys give the Ceed SW a more comfortable and pliant ride than the sporty looking 17 inchers, and the latter do introduce an element of harshness to the ride quality that can be annoying. In fact, it’s fair to say the Ceed in all guises is a little less comfort-focused than before, but it feels stable and composed on twisty roads.

There’s no doubt there are other estate cars in the same segment that are more fun to drive, but for owners who prioritise practicality and comfort over sporty chassis responses, the Ceed’s handling will be more than satisfactory.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The Kia Ceed has an engine line-up that’s competitive with key rivals, and high mileage drivers can opt for the 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that will whisk the Sportswagon to 62mph in 10.7 seconds. Top speed is 119mph, which is similar to the performance offered by VW Group equivalents such as the Golf Estate or SEAT Leon ST.

There’s more choice in the petrol line-up, and we’d favour the 1.0-litre T-GDI with its 118bhp output. It’s enough for a 10.9 second 0-62mph time, which is hardly electrifying but power is delivered smoothly. The 1.4-litre T-GDi petrol may be a better bet if you’re going to use the Stationwagon’s load-lugging ability regularly, as it gets a noticeable 20bhp power boost. It delivers 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds – and you can also have it with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto. All other models have only a six-speed manual option.


With the brand recording an eight-place finish in the 2018 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, Kia owners can be more confident that their choice of brand won’t leave them stranded, although the previous generation car dropped down the rankings to 61st out of the top 75-finishing cars with a relatively high incidence of electrical faults.

The hatchback has been tested by Euro NCAP and presents the expected five-star rating. There’s plenty of safety kit, and even the entry model Stationwagon gets Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Warning and optional City Braking. All cars also get stability control. ABS, Hill-Start Assist and Tyre Pressure Monitoring. Top spec First Edition models add Blind Spot Warning and standard-fit City Braking, as well as Speed Limit Recognition and Lane Following Assistance on dual-clutch auto versions.

The roster of passive safety kit includes twin front airbags, and twin side and curtain airbags. There are latest top-tether ISOFIX child seat mounts in the rear, and a front passenger airbag cut-off switch so you can use a child seat in front.


You really can’t fault the Kia Warranty offer, which is leagues ahead of most rivals with a full seven years of cover up to 100,00 miles. The first three years include unlimited mileage. You also get one year’s free roadside assistance.


Kia offers two servicing packages, called Care 3 and Care 3 Plus. These packages are for three and five years respectively and cost around £300 or £600 for all-inclusive maintenance – wear and tear items excepted.


The roomy boot is a key selling point for the Kia Ceed Sportswagon, which, in spite of its name is definitely one of the more practical options in the compact estate sector. The latest Ceed is wider and longer than its predecessor meaning there’s more space for occupants too.

Designers have allowed plenty of storage for oddments with decent door bins and a roomy glovebox, while you also get two cupholders in the practical cabin.

The driving position offers plenty of adjustment too, with lots of movement in the seat and steering wheel suggesting all shapes and sizes should be comfortable.


The estate version of the Kia Ceed is 4,600mm long, which is a noticeable extension over the hatchback at around 4,300mm long.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

The bigger volume of the latest Ceed bodyshell means occupants at the front and rear both benefit from more space. There’s more headroom up front, and a little more shoulder room for passengers in the rear. 


The Kia Ceed Sportswagon’s boot is not only large, but it’s a well thought-out installation too. It has a storage area under the floor for valuables or rarely needed items, and there’s an optional luggage rail system that’s fitted as standard to the luxurious First Edition.

The rear seat folds 60:40 in the standard model, while higher trim levels get a 40:20:40 split for added convenience, and there are levers in the boot to operate the seat backs. There’s a low loading lip, and with 600-litres of luggage volume it’s a viable competitor for the Golf and Skoda Octavia Estates.

Towing capacity is reasonable too, with both the 1.6 diesel and 1.0 petrol rated for 1,200kg braked trailers. The 1.4 engine is only rated for 1,000kg.


There are only three engine choices in the Sportswagon, and all of them are relatively efficient with no real performance options available. As a result you can expect them all to be cheap to run.

The most economical petrol is the 1.0-litre, which under the latest WLTP measurement regime offers up to 47.1mpg. The 1.4-litre petrol returns up to 44.8mpg, while the 1.6-litre diesel returns up to 58.9mpg, so you’d need to do quite a few miles to make the diesel a cost-effective option. CO2 emissions are 137g/km for the smallest petrol and 127g/km for the diesel, with the 1.4 petrol the worst offender at up to 143g/km of CO2.

Insurance groups

There won’t be many shocks on the insurance front for Kia Ceed Sportswagon owners, as the insurance groups are competitive and pretty low. The cheapest models to insure will be the 1.0-litre petrols which fall into groups 12 or 13 depending on spec. The 1.6-litre diesel has a group 15 insurance ranking, while the costliest to insure will be the 1.4 petrol which is rated at group 18. That still makes the Ceed less expensive to insure than some superminis.


Secondhand values of the Kia Ceed range are expected to be reasonable, and pretty close to mainstream European rivals like the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra. The last generation Ceed hatch residuals were decent at 42-47 per cent for petrol models, and 36-44 per cent for diesels – all at three years/30,000 miles. We’d expect the new generation car to do better, as it’s better equipped and better built. Estate models should retain a small extra percentage of value too, thanks to their extra usefulness.  

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