Kia Ceed Sportswagon estate - Engines, drive & performance

The Kia Ceed Sportswagon has sharpened up, but at the expense of some comfort

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

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If you consider yourself a driving enthusiast, the Ceed Sportswagon probably isn't the small estate for you, because the Ford Focus Estate offers sharper handling and models like the SEAT Leon ST are available with powerful 2.0-litre engines. But, if you simply want a practical model that's also competent, the Ceed performs well.

Every version can get from 0-62mph in under 11 seconds and it feels stable and safe along a stretch of twisting road or sat on the motorway. It's also somewhat firmer than before, so we'd recommend avoiding big alloy wheels.

Kia Ceed Sportswagon diesel engine

The Ceed Sportswagon's sole diesel is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder with 113bhp that's been designed to be quieter and cleaner. Fitted with this engine it takes a respectable 10.7 seconds to get from 0-62mph, with a top speed of 119mph. It's a close match for equivalent diesels in the SEAT Leon ST and Volkswagen Golf Estate.

Petrol engines

With 118bhp, the 1.0-litre T-GDI engine is our pick of the bunch if you can live without the extra performance of the 1.4-litre T-GDI. It takes the lengthiest 10.9 seconds to reach 62mph from stationary, but it's smoother than most rival 1.0-litre engines and works well in town. If you plan on regularly filling every seat and the boot, the larger petrol is probably a better bet, with an extra 20bhp reducing the 0-62mph benchmark to 8.8 seconds. This is also the only Sportswagon available with Kia's optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, rather than the standard six-speed manual.

Plug-in hybrid engines

If you want to reduce your bills further, the plug-in hybrid model officially offers the best efficiency in the Ceed Sportswagon lineup. It combines a 1.6-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a 8.9kWh battery, giving it 139bhp. Power goes to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox.

The powertrain is shared with the Kia Niro and XCeed PHEV models, and performs similarly well in the Sportwagon’s larger estate body, managing 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds with a top speed of 105mph.

Compared to the petrol and diesel models, the PHEV model isn’t as good to drive. The battery has been hidden beneath the boot floor, which impacts practicality and adds more weight over the rear wheels. The steering is tactile and precise, with sure-footed handling but it’s let slightly down by additional body lean in the corners when compared to the standard car.

Once the battery is depleted, the start-up of the petrol engine is slightly harsh, and easily noticeable from the driver's seat. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox is not as smooth as the one used in the Renault Megane PHEV, with quite abrupt gearchanges. Despite this, the Ceed Sportswagon is comfortable at higher speeds, with a refined ride quality that’s only occasionally upset by larger road imperfections.

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