Small on the outside, big on the inside; junior estate revival at Swiss show
8 March 2007

Anyone seeking to move minor mountains on a budget will be impressed with the resurgence of Tardis-like small estate cars at the Geneva motor show. It's hardly been the most hotly contested segment of the new car market of late; the Peugeot 206 SW (which ceased production in 2006) and Skoda Fabia estate were among the few supermini-based estates on offer last year. However, things look to be changing for the junior estate car.

Super-practical superminis

The Peugeot 206 SW's successor, the 207 SW, is on show in cocnept form at Geneva, where it meets stiff competition from Renault. Both companies have taken their successful superminis and given them extensions, resulting in elongated, taller estate versions intended to test public reaction before their production equivalents arrive on the road. Renault's version is the Clio Grand Tour Concept. Renault isn't officially classing this Clio wagon as a production vehicle yet, but published spy shots of the final car testing only last month, proving that the junior load-lugger is already a part of the product plan.The Clio Grand Tour utilises an unusual three-door layout, very much like Volkswagen's booted, second-generation Polo estate. The production version will have five doors. Renault claims that it has a 430-litre boot capacity with the seats up, and 1275 litres with the rear seats folded flat into the load area.Peugeot hasn't published any official figures on the 207 SW Outdoor concept's boot space. It has, however, given this concept a faux-4x4 makeover by adding moulded plastic sills and wheelarch extensions. This hints that the finished car might be a little more rugged-looking than the 206 SW, borrowing cues from cars like the new Skoda Octavia Scout and Volvo XC70 when it arrives later in 2007.

Slightly larger luggers

Moving up a size, Geneva is also the venue for the introduction of two new Focus-sized estate cars, both finished and ready for the road.Kia's booted Cee'd is the first. The second member of the Cee'd family, the Sporty Wagon will be badged the Cee'd SW in the UK when sales start in the autumn.The SW packs 534 litres of luggage space with all the seats in place, growing to 1664 litres with the rear seats folded. Competing with the Cee'd SW for Geneva show plaudits is the long-awaited estate version of the VW Golf. This was the car VW was trying to make redundant with the Golf Plus, but buyers haven't taken to the new, taller Golf as keenly as they might, forcing Wolfsburg's hand.The new Golf Estate can't match the Kia for space, with 505 litres seats-up, and 1550 litres seats-down.You can bet the Kia will be cheaper, too. Although prices won't be confirmed until the summer, the cheapest, 1.6-litre petrol Golf Estate is likely to set you back a little over £15,000; the Cee'd SW is likely to start at under £12,500.

Victoria Parrott

Our Verdict

Kia Cee'd

The Kia Cee’d is more than good enough to harry the opposition, which is an achievement in itself for the fiercely competitive family hatchback class

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