By Mike Torpey on 2021-10-31 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Kia Ceed Sportswagon
1.6 CRDi ‘2'
THE ‘D' word may be getting dirtier by the minute, but it hasn't deterred Korean brand Kia from heralding diesel power in its latest Ceed Sportswagon model.
Already one of the most eye-catching cars in the expansive Kia line-up, the Ceed SW - as it is commonly known - is a sleek looking estate that bears a striking resemblance to the Stinger sports coupe.
The 2021 sportswagon is up for grabs with a choice of three engines, three transmissions and in a trio of trim grades.
And among those powerplants is the cleanest diesel engine ever produced by the brand in the shape of the Smartstream 1.6 CRDi, which has been enhanced with the addition of 48-volt mild hybrid technology.
It exceeds the requirements of the latest, most demanding, emissions regulations and is one of the most efficient units in the family car area of the market, producing 134bhp and good for an official 62 miles per gallon.
But this isn't the only aid to efficiency present in the latest SW, in fact in the entire Ceed range, because making its debut - and available exclusively with the mild hybrid 1.6 CRDi engine - is Kia's new intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT), engineered to improve fuel consumption and cut CO2.
It retains the driver engagement of a conventional manual gearbox while switching off the engine earlier than the car's start-stop system when coasting to a halt.
So efficiency wise, there's plenty to recommend the Ceed SW. Its qualities stretch far beyond what's under the skin though - ergonomics, practicality and tech all playing a major part in the car's appeal.
It may look low slung but there's no compromise when it comes to the carrying capacity so vital to successful estate models.
The 650-litre boot, claimed to be best in class, has an underfloor box containing seven separate compartments plus a tonneau cover and bag hook to stop items rolling round while a low lip makes it easier to hoist heavy items into the boot too.
The split-fold rear seats are fitted in a 40:20:40 configuration and can be folded completely flat via a lever just inside the tailgate - extending the load space to a cavernous 1,694 litres.
Move into the cabin and the dash is split into an upper area for the ‘floating' touchscreen infotainment system and a lower area housing controls for audio, heating and ventilation. The centre console is also angled slightly towards the driver's seat.
On the plus side the interior is finished predominantly in soft-touch materials with surfaces finished with metallic or satin chrome trim, and you do get faux or genuine leather upholstery along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearstick. Otherwise the cabin is a bit underwhelming and dull.
Interior head and legroom is plentiful though, with ample space for three adult passengers across the back and plenty of small stowage areas dotted around the cabin.
There's no shortage of tech either, our tested ‘2' model from the middle of the trim grades featuring an 8.0-inch audio touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, sat nav, a reversing camera and safety features like High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.
It all adds up to a stylish, comfortable and very economical car that's ideal for long journeys or just pottering around the suburbs - an ideal and good value family estate.
Kia Ceed Sportswagon 1.6 CRDi ‘2'
Mechanical: 134bhp, 1,598cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed iMT manual gearbox
Max Speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 10.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 62.8
Insurance Group: 13
C02 emissions: 121g/km
Bik rating: 28%
Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles
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