Why old school Kia is top of the class

How about this for old school? A car with an ignition key rather than a press button starter? A car with a proper handbrake? And a car which you fill up rather than plug in?

Looking good - the Ceed SW is a long and spacious car
Looking good - the Ceed SW is a long and spacious car

This is the Kia Ceed Sportswagon, a sort of antidote to the modern obsession with button ignition and brakes and electric motors in place of an engine.

That’s not to say it’s unsophisticated. This is a Kia, after all, so this petrol engined car is in fact clean (121g/km), smooth (60mph in 11.4 seconds) and very well appointed. More of the specification later.

It is a neat but not over designed car which means it won’t instantly look dated like some fussy rivals.

It is distinctive from the back

And in an era where cars always cost a few thousand pounds more than even a trained eye would guess, £21,055 isn’t bad for a proper family estate with plenty of equipment and space.

First things first, the engine. It feels like a 1.4, perhaps, but it is a 1.0 litre unit. It offers incredible performance, low emissions and high economy. It felt quicker off the mark than the 11.4 seconds for the 0 to 60mph time suggests.

It is spacious, both for people and parcels. It has a loadbay of 625 with the rear seats upright, rising to 1,694 with the back seats flat.

This car is dashingly well equipped – shod with 16in alloy wheels, chrome trim, LED lights all round, air conditioning, leather trim and remote central locking.

It has 12 volt power sockets front and rear and a USB port for today’s digital generation, 8in touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto links with voice control and safety devices such as anti-lock brakes, lane keeping assist (LKA) and lane following assist (LFA) to keep you in check. It will also endeavor to stop you running into the car in front with forward collision-avoidance assist (FCA), plus curtain, front and side airbags.

Plus it has old-school features such as rear coat hooks and no end of cupholders.

Ceeds is the third generation model and is built in Slovakia. Kia may be a Korean company but this model is designed and built in Europe. It is also put to the test on British roads which means this car is tailored for you and I.

It might not be the most involving or thrilling ride but people who buy midmarket estates generally want a functional, safe and sensible car for a good price. And that’s what they get with the Ceed SW.

The Ceed family is an important range of cars for Kia in the UK. It’s the third best-selling model behind Sportage and Niro and accounted for almost 18 per cent of the company’s sales during 2020.

Ceed has a quality feel to it with upmarket materials used throughout the cabin.

There is an 8in screen on grade ‘2’ or 10.25in ‘floating’ touchscreen infotainment system on ‘3’ grades.

Ceed Sportswagon features an entirely redesigned front-end, sporty updates to the rear, restyled alloy wheels and a refreshed interior and new body colour.

This family offers one of the most comprehensive C-segment line-ups on the market, and its enduring presence in the Kia range highlights the model's outstanding customer appeal and reputation. Long recognised for its key role in establishing the Korean brand in Europe, the Ceed range was Kia's first car designed, engineered and built in Europe specifically to appeal to European tastes. Now contributing to 28 per cent of Kia's European market share, the Ceed range remains a strong contender and stands confidently alongside many best-selling brands that have dominated this segment for decades.

The most impressive part of the Ceed for me is the cabin, which is more upmarket than I expected. The cabin architecture from the most recent Kia vehicles has been adapted for the Ceed Sportswagon, with the dashboard laid out horizontally for a more sculptural, seamless and slimline appearance. This design also creates greater space and a sense of openness for the front passenger, creating more room in the footwell and a clearer view ahead. An impressive car indeed.

Kia Ceed Sportswagon 1.0 T-GDi 2

Price: £21,055 on the road

Engine: a 998cc four cylinder engine generating 118bhp

Performance: Top speed 118mph and 0 to 60mph in 11.4 seconds

Costs: 53.3mpg combined

Emissions 121g/km

Warranty: Seven year, 100,000 warranty