Kia estate makes

driving a pleasure

Kia cee’d Sportswagon, front
Kia cee’d Sportswagon, front
Kia cee’d Sportswagon, side
Kia cee’d Sportswagon, rear
Kia cee’d Sportswagon, boot
Kia cee’d Sportswagon, interior

THE Queen's speech, not the one where she said thanks for the birthday doilies and thoughtful flowers but the policy stand up she does not actually write, promised a glowing future of autonomous cars.

It seems you cannot stand in the way of progress. Or rather in this case you can because unlike normal cars robots are trustworthy and won't run you over. Well that's the theory, Dave.

The UK is well placed to be at the forefront of driverless technology because, in our typically reluctant way, we failed to sign up to the 1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic which stipulated that there must be a responsible adult behind the wheel of any moving vehicle.

Clearly from what is seen daily we have made maximum use of this omission.

For those who are signatories to the convention driverless cars may well be rendered pointless except that arms will not be fatigued from holding the steering wheel.

But at least they can imagine being in charge, making engine noises and pretending to screech around corners. All joys of motoring which will be lost with robocar.

I see no point in being computer driven if you cannot face the other way and engage in some light Scrabble or a good book. Well not the book because, as mum told you, reading in a car causes travel sickness. Unless you sit on newspaper. Or take some ginger biscuits with you.

Personally I would rather drive. It can be quite fun. Which is why I do not ride a bicycle. Mind you, ever seen an elephant on a bicycle?

And why today we focus on the estate version of the Kia cee'd, the Sportswagon.

Here we have yet another pleasant surprise from Kia. Opt for the one-litre T-GDi six-speed manual, that'll be £19,720 please, and you get a remarkably smooth, small-engined turbo diesel which should give even the clog dancing tendency a healthy return of 50mpg. The saintly will get more. That said other similar models claim a better emissions figures. Even so tax is only £30 a year.

Out on the road the 118bhp is happily sharp without falling into the performance bracket at 11 seconds to 62mph. GT-Line models are set up to be a little firmer than others but the ride is still smooth. Some will baulk at the idea of covering long motorway hauls in such a small capacity car but it's far from lacking in this environment.

Not least because of a high level of equipment and creature comforts. GT-Line seats were good quality leather and top be enjoyed was the full range of plug-ins, entertainment packages and screen functions, sat nav, air-con and reversing aids. The parking assist function is excellent. To keep you safe and sound there is blind spot detection and speed limit information.

While the GT Sportswagon undercuts a lot of the opposition it is not a cheap car but Kia's generous fixtures make it great value and while not the most inspiring of cockpits but it is well finished in quality materials and far from the Spartan's underwear we used to expect from Korean makers.

With autonomy looming it is well worth giving thought to the rear seats in your next car. At the moment sitting facing the pointy end may be the sensible option but when the work startsdigging in drive-by-wire systems you should have plenty of hold up time to enjoy a quick kip.

The cee'd Sportswagon is surprisingly roomy given what you see in exterior profile. With the seats down the luggage space is impressive. Plenty of hidden storage, too.

Obviously I'm not over enthusiastic about a world where I am chauffeured around by R2D2. It smacks too much of Scalextric and we all know how easy it was to get one of those off the track at skirting board corner and up the cat's pencil sharpener.

On the other hand if a super-smooth, quiet, frugal and roomy mid-sized estate car is the future, bring it on.

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