DESIGNED, developed and engineered in Europe, the Kia Ceed Sportswagon merges individual style with space and practicality.
Lower, wider, and with a longer rear overhang than its predecessor; straight lines now replace rounded-off edges, while its Kia Stinger-inspired nose and now familiar and 'ice-cube' LED daytime running lights also help it stand out.
Looking at it, it's hard to believe it's based on the same platform as its hatchback sibling. The wider body creates greater shoulder room for rear passengers, while a lower seating position creates more knee and leg room for them. Despite the low roofline, the platform and lowered front seating create greater front-row headroom. The lower rear bench also ensures similar levels of headroom for rear passengers.
The interior is a pleasant place to spend time too, with quality black cloth trim and matching faux leather bolsters. There's plenty of soft-touch surfaces, glossy trim, and Kia's easy-to-navigate 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which sits at the centre of the dashboard - itself handily angled slightly towards the driver. This features Bluetooth multi-connection, enabling occupants to connect two mobile devices at once, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
All versions of the Ceed Sportswagon are well equipped but the list of kit on the top ‘3' grade is virtually endless - privacy glass, dual automatic air conditioning, automatic headlights, rain sensing wipers, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, reversing camera and rear parking sensors, LED front and rear lights, and front fog lights.
There's also a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system with DAB radio, cruise control with speed limiter, front wiper de-icer, electric windows all-round, a fast charger for portable devices, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
That long rear overhang helps give the Ceed Sportswagon a boot size of 625 litres, plus there's also an underfloor storage area for stowing smaller items, and a bag hook to prevent groceries rolling around the load bay.
The split-fold rear seats are fitted in a 40:20:40 configuration and can be folded remotely with a single touch from a lever just inside the tailgate. With the seats folded, the boot floor is completely flat and the space available extended to 1,694 litres.
A choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines are available to power the Ceed Sportswagon. There is a 1.0-litre petrol but if you need, or just prefer, a little more poke from your petrol, there's also the company's 1.4-litre T-GDi, which on ‘3' grades comes matched to a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT). It's a bit clunky at times but is generally good enough.
The engine's turbocharger ensures a wider torque band than the earlier 1.6-litre engine, making it more responsive in a wider range of driving conditions while also reducing emissions. A plentiful 242Nm of torque is available from 1,500 to 3,200rpm. It's officially capable of returning 44.8mpg though I managed just 33.3mpg.
The Ceed Sportswagon is not really what you'd call ‘a driver's car' - for that you need to move up to the ProCeed GT - but, as its ride was developed on European roads, it feels safe and stable regardless of whether its cruising down the motorway or taking on a twisty stretch somewhere. A fully independent suspension system provides drivers with more agile and immediate handling responses than you'd expect from just looking at the exterior.
Technology also plays a role, with electronic stability control and Kia's Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) system fitted, which helps reduce understeer around corners.
A Drive Mode Select System enables owners to choose Normal or Sport mode. Sport adds weight to the steering and slightly quickens throttle responses while adding an extra bark to the exhaust note.
Safety has been given a high priority. All well as seven airbags, there's Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Hill Start Assist Control and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist - City all included as standard.