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Chevrolet Cruze SW, Kia Ceed SW, Skoda Octavia Combi in the driving report

Dino Eisele
Chevrolet Cruze, Kia Ceed, Skoda Octavia in the driving report
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W he is in Germany today as an importer in the Golf class, you have to set yourself realistic goals - and not be guided by the approvals of the eternal bestseller from Wolfsburg. The Skoda Octavia is more suitable as a yardstick, but it is hardly easier to overcome. Because the Czech shares the technology with the group brother VW Golf. The fact that it has been the best-selling import car in its class for years and has contributed significantly to Skoda's success and image change is also due to the extremely popular station wagon version, which more than half of all customers prefer.

Where Skoda is in Germany today, Kia and Chevrolet still want to go there. Their requirements are quite comparable: Kia is backed by the parent company Hyundai, and the new Cee’d, which was significantly co-developed in the German development center, is the sister model of the Hyundai i30. Shortly after the model change in early summer, it is now available again as a Sportswagon, as the station wagon is called by Kia.

Chevrolet Cruze SW shares platform with Opel Astra

Chevrolet, on the other hand, took three years for this variant with the Cruze. He shares the platform and controls with GM's brother, the Opel Astra. From there, the latest engine with which the Wagon station competes for comparison is also known: a 1.4-liter turbo gasoline engine with 140 hp. Price: from 21,945 euros.

For the Cee'd SW in this performance class, Kia relies on a direct injection engine (from 19,390 euros) with 135 hp from 1.6 liter displacement, which is only available with six-speed Double clutch transmission (extra charge, depending on equipment, 1,200 to 1,500 euros) was available. The same applies to the 122 hp Skoda Octavia Combi 1.4 TSI (from 21,910 euros), in which the DSG (1,800 euros) has seven gears.

In theory, the chances for the two new challengers are particularly good at the moment , because the Skoda Octavia Combi is about to be replaced - Skoda will present the successor at the Geneva Motor Show this spring. The current model does not seem out of date, although it has a visibly factual appearance than the more modern competitors, whose rear ends are much more confusing.

Especially in the Chevrolet Cruze SW, the driver has to do with a large car. At 4.67 meters, he is 17Centimeters longer than the Kia Cee'd SW, with the wheelbase only 3.5 centimeters larger. Noticeable advantages are not associated with it, on the contrary. In the very spacious rear, passengers on the tight Cruze rear seat have little room for maneuver on their head and knees. 500 liters fit under the load compartment blind, which can be pushed up on the D-pillar. Only the backrest folds forward for expansion, but when the vehicle is loaded up to the roof, the strong lateral indentation limits the volume to 1,478 liters. In the clearly arranged cockpit, simple plastics determine the quality impression. Nice detail: the lockable compartment above the center console with integrated multimedia connections.

Kia Cee'd SW scores with more pleasant materials

Kia accommodates these interfaces in the practical shelf in front of the gear lever, has no weaknesses when it comes to operation and storage options, but scores with more pleasant materials. Although the flat windshield impairs the feeling of space on the comfortable front seats, there is no lack of space in the Kia Cee’d SW. The luggage compartment has a capacity of 528 to 1,642 liters, underfloor storage compartments, a fixing system (from Vision) and dividing net are standard on board. For a consistently level loading area, the rear seat must also be folded forwards, as in the Skoda Octavia Combi, but the headrests can remain in place.

When it comes to loading, the Skoda Octavia Combi has the edge. At 565 kilograms, it can pack at least 88 kilograms more than the competition, with the volume being the largest at 580 liters under the cover (maximum 1,630 liters). A variable loading floor and dividing net are recommended, but each cost 165 euros extra. Practical details such as fold-out bag hooks or door pockets for liter-sized water bottles are not lacking in the Skoda, and in terms of space, operation and workmanship, there is still no nakedness shortly before the replacement. Its true strengths, however, show when driving: not too soft, not too tight and with a finely responsive steering, the chassis offers a balanced compromise between comfort and agility. The turbo direct injection is nominally the weakest, but convinces with good torque, decent running smoothness and acceptable consumption.

Skoda Octavia Combi overall most balanced

There is a lack of turbo in the Chevrolet Cruze SW , which despite the automatic start-stop system and low standard values ​​swallows significantly more as soon as it is demanded. Still, it doesn't look as lively as the TSI in the Skoda Octavia. The Chevy performs better when braking and driving. The steering could provide more feedback, but in curves the tightly tuned Cruze can hardly be disturbed even by bumps.

The Kia Cee’d SW does not bounce like a litter either - despite the softer damping. With increasing loadthe body hardly comes to rest on bumpy roads. This hardly has a negative effect on driving safety, but cornering is not much fun in the Cee’d because of the synthetic steering. The characteristic curve, which can be set at the push of a button, does not change anything. The only naturally aspirated engine in the field lacks bite. The direct injection sounds strenuous at high speeds, but shines with the lowest consumption. The Cee’d is not only easy on the wallet at the gas station, but also when buying. Equipped in a similar way, the Skoda Octavia Combi is clearly the most expensive. With its seven-year guarantee, the Kia can leave the Chevy behind, but not the overall well-balanced Octavia, which also offers the cheapest maintenance costs.

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