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IT SEEMS YOU shouldn’t call an estate car an estate any more. According to marketing types, the word ‘estate’ conjures up the worthy-but-dull world of garden-centre shopping and trips to the tip. Call your load-hauler Avant, Tourer or Sportswagon and customers think of wind-surfing, mountain biking and outdoor adventure.


So, the most practical version of Kia’s new Cee’d is called a Sportswagon. Whether you’re going to fill it to the roof with hedge trimmings or the latest active lifestyle accessories doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that it’s a very capable load-hauler.


Seats upright, there’s 528 litres to fill. That’s more space than you’ll find in the equivalent Ford, Vauxhall or Volkswagen. Fold the seats down and there’s 1642 litres. However, to get the load floor flat the seat bases must be tipped forward before you fold down the backs. All cars have net hooks, a 12V socket in the boot and roof rails, plus there’s extra storage under the boot floor.


There are just two engines available; a 1.4-litre diesel with 89bhp and a 1.6 diesel with 126bhp. It’s no surprise that the more powerful of the two feels better suited to towing. With a kerbweight ranging from 1420kg to 1547kg, depending on specification, the 85% match figure varies from 1207kg to 1315kg. The legal towing limit is 1500kg (dropping to 1300kg if you choose the auto).


A firm but composed ride bodes well for stability when towing. We’ve already asked Kia to loan us a car with a towball, and hope to tow with the Cee’d Sportswagon later in the autumn.


The Sportswagon is on sale from Monday. Prices start from £16,895, topping out at £24,795.