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SMART NEW KIA CEE'D SPORTSWAGON ON TEST IN THE WEST By Brian Foley

Anyone recently passing the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Galway (pictured) could well have thought that a fleet of unusual cars had landed from outer space. Well the all new Kia cee'd Sportswagon is certainly a 'space wagon' , not from the compact outside but from the inside. The estate-type rear gives a cargo space of 528 litres, almost 40 per cent more than the equivalent cee'd 5-door hatchback's 380 litres. Unlike the often unattractive looks of a conventional estate, the cee'd Sportswagon is a neat blend of styling and practicality which makes a huge amount of sense as a versatile dual purpose business-cum-family car. Build quality, equipment, fittings and furnishings of the Sportswagon are of an extremely high standard,which applies to all models across the diverse Kia range. Of course, as the old saying goes the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and in the case of the Sportswagon a test drive over a varied mixture of roads and surfaces in Connemara proved positive in terms of travel comfort, stability and a quality of travel refinement up to the high standards of a premium model. Lots of power from the 1.4 litre diesel engine and for the long distance driver there is a 1.6 litre diesel with 126bhp as compared to the 89bhp of the smaller engine. Both engines combine diesel economy with low CO2 emissions. Standard equipment includes 6-speed transmission, ESP, Hill Hold, six airbags, emergency stop signal, air con, electric mirrors, Bluetooth and audio remote controls. Four model specs., all diesel: 1.4 TX €21,795; 1.6 TX €22,595; 1.4 EX €23,295; €1.6 EX 24,095. All price are ex-delivery. All Kia models come with a unique 7 Years Warranty.

PS
The Kia cee'd Sportswagons at Glenlo Abbey were Press/Demonstration vehicles, no doubt now all in happy homes - like Kia's slogan The Home Of The Seven Year Warranty.

PPS
Kia is to enter the World Rally Championship in 2014, following the entry of Hyundai with the i20 WRC in 2013. Meanwhile there will ne no Ford 'works cars' in the WRC after 2012 (see autonews).