First DriveThe new Kia Ceed gets a new platform, new engines and - shock horror - loses its apostrophe in a complete redesign. Can it compete with the Ford Focus?
First DriveKia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process.
What is it?
The second of Kia’s new European-model family, the Cee’d SW – or Sporty Wagon, according to the Korean blurb – which will be launched in the UK later in 2007.
An extra 235mm of length has been inserted behind the rear wheels, while the SW gets taller by just 10mm. Kia makes a big play of the tailgate design, which cuts back into the roof by 225mm, allowing a bigger load opening. It also claims more seats-down load space than the Vauxhall Astra estate.
What’s it like?
Clearly influenced by the Peugeot 407 SW, the Cee’d SW looks crisp and modern, if somewhat stateless.
Inside, the emphasis is on unflashy practicality. Under the boot floor are large moulded trays for oddment storage. The rear seats fold completely flat and the load bay gets a tough metal-cased luggage cover.
The cabin is also notable for its storage space, including a large centre bin, decent console tray and twin trays in the centre stack. However, the cabin feels around half a size smaller than a Focus’s or Golf’s.
Our test car had a tweaked version of Kia’s 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, which uses a new injection system and variable-vane turbo to produce 138bhp. It’s not confirmed whether this will come to the UK.
It’s an impressively refined engine and offers a useful mid-range turn of speed. The slick six-speed ’box has very long ratios, however, so sixth is only for loping along motorways.
Overall, the SW’s handling is satisfyingly neat and tidy. There’s a brisk handiness about it, although the ride can be on the firm side.
Should I buy one?
Crisp, well made, practical and sold in the UK with a seven-year bumper-to-bumper warranty, the SW could be a definitive long-term private buy. But a slightly cheaper, lower-spec, lower-powered version might ultimately be better value in the long run.