The Kia Cee’d SW is, essentially, just a Kia Cee’d hatchback with some extra bodywork tacked and a bigger boot to make it into an estate. Despite its full name being ‘Sportswagon’, it very much majors on comfort and value for money rather than sporty handling.
Its rivals in this class are cars like the Ford Focus Estate, SEAT Leon ST and Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer – all of which are estate versions of existing mid-size family hatchbacks. The Cee’d is roomier than all of these rivals and only beaten in terms of boot space by the Skoda Octavia estate. With the seats down, the Cee’d SW manages 1,624 litres of space (528 with them up) while the Octavia offers 610 and 1,740 litres respectively.
You can have your Cee’d SW in one of a grand total of seven trim levels: 1, SR7, 2, 3, 4, 4 Tech and GT-Line. All get Bluetooth phone connectivity, air-conditioning, DAB digital radio, a multifunction steering wheel and electric front windows. You have to upgrade to SR7 for alloy wheels, while you don’t get sat nav unless you go for the 3 at least.
A Cee’d SW in 4 trim adds leather upholstery, while 4 Tech boasts a panoramic sunroof and power-adjustable seats. The top-of-the-range GT-Line model gets a sporty bodykit, European mapping for the sat nav and dual-zone climate control.
There's a selection of petrol and diesel engines available in the Cee’d SW. Of the two diesels, our favourite is the 134bhp 1.6-litre. It's only slightly more expensive to run than the 1.4-litre and offers considerably more power and performance. The 1.6-litre costs just £20 a year to tax, thanks to CO2 emissions of 102g/km. This figure puts it in the 18% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax bracket, while it’ll also return 74.3mpg fuel economy.
If you’d prefer petrol, the best bet is the 118bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre in 3 trim. It's much cleaner than the less powerful 1.4-litre naturally aspirated engine, so it’ll be cheaper to run too. Thankfully, the 3 trim is our favourite spec, too – whether you’re going for petrol or diesel.
Euro NCAP awarded the Cee’d hatchback the full five-star rating for crash safety when it was tested and the SW version should score exactly the same. It comes with lots of airbags, as well a tyre-pressure monitoring system and the obligatory electronic traction and stability control systems.
Kia is no-longer the ‘cheap’ option it once was – its prices are approximately in line with those of rivals Vauxhall and Ford – but resale values are improving and an excellent seven-year/100,000-mile warranty across the range makes the brand more appealing, too. All versions are also pretty well equipped.