- Beautifully styled with dynamic performance
- A choice of punchy, yet economical engines
- A range of generously equipped trim levels
- Ride can be a little firm
- Prices have crept up
- Diesel engine lacked mid-range zip
More than 1.3 million cee’d models have been sold since production began in Slovakia in 2006, but the latest model finally gets a sensible name. It’s now called the Ceed and is a very serious contender for sales in the C-sector.
The five-door hatchback looks sportier and more dynamic thanks to a lower, wider design and the ‘tiger nose’ grille that has become synonymous with recent Kia models has been stretched. There are lower air intakes as well as ice cube LED daytime running lights.
The interior is also far more premium in its design and customers can choose from 11 variants based on three engines, two transmissions and four trim levels.
The trims are called ‘2’, ‘Blue Edition’, ‘3’ and ‘First Edition’ and prices start from £18,295 rising to £26,850.
On The Road
The front-wheel drive Kia Ceed looks dynamic in its styling and boasts performance capabilities to match. The Korean company has pulled out all the stops on this car, launching it with a range of powertrains – some of which are completely new to the brand.
Firstly, on the petrol front is a 1.0-litre 118bhp engine or a 1.4-litre unit delivering 138bhp. And not to be put off by the scaremongering, diesel fans will be pleased to learn that the Ceed is available with Kia’s U3 diesel engine that is cleaner than the ultra-strict Euro-6d-Temp Emissions regulations. It’s a 1.6-litre engine with 114bhp.
All engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission, although the 1.4-litre T-GDi and 1.6-litre CRDi powertrains are also available with a seven-speed DCT automatic gearbox.
We tested the 1.4 138bhp T-GDi petrol model in range-topping First Edition trim mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox. This car with 242Nm of torque was priced at £26,850. It could complete the 0-60mph sprint in 8.9 seconds and topped out at 128mph.
We drove the car on a variety of motorways, country lanes and the twisting mountain roads in Slovakia, the birthplace of the Ceed and it excelled on all counts.
There was a constant stream of instant power from the punchy petrol engine and the acceleration through the gears proved smooth and responsive with ample power on tap. There are Normal and Sport driving modes that adjust the car’s dynamics with Sport livening up the throttle responses and steering for sharper handling.
The road holding was confident and even when tight bends were attacked ‘enthusiastically’ there was no sign of body sway.
A lot of the roads in Slovakia were quite pitted so the test drive was a fair reflection of how the car will handle back in the UK and it was apparent that Kia’s focus on improving the suspension and steering systems on this Ceed has paid off.
The fully independent suspension system provides the driver with more agile and immediate handling responses and this is complimented by revised spring and damper rates and a faster steering rack.
The Ceed has been tested extensively on European roads, including the UK, and the ride remains comfortable even when firing along winding roads with lots of hairpin bends.
Motorway cruising is a breeze and even at the higher national speed limits the car feels composed and confident. It’s agile around busy town centres and the test car’s 17-inch alloy wheels were a perfect match. Too often, cars are fitted with larger alloys and that is detrimental to performance, comfort and economy.
Another feature worth mentioning is the automatic transmission. The gear timings seemed perfectly suited to the driving conditions and the Sport mode adds a little more dynamism to the mix when required.
Taking its inspiration from the Stinger the interior of this Ceed is very upmarket with improved materials, trims and technology. Our range-topping test car featured all the bells and whistles with powered seats that could be ventilated and heated, excellent infotainment systems and a number of features usually seen on high-end cars.
There was smart leather upholstery with contrast stitching, a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift, heated outer rear seats, a sunroof with tilting and sliding function along with an automatic electric blind.
Kia has built up an enviable reputation for packing its cars with technology whilst keeping optional extras to an absolute minimum and the Ceed follows that train of thought. Basically, you find the trim level that suits your needs and that’s the one you opt for.
When it comes to cabin refinement on the move, this is an area Kia engineers have paid close attention to. The ride can be a little firm at times but the highly effective suspension system irons out all the road’s creases and only the more severe bumps and potholes will send any judders through the car.
The Ceed is also well insulated against the outdoor world with barely a murmur from the engine or road surface filtering through into the cabin.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The Kia Ceed is a car that’s likely to clock up heavy mileage especially if bought for the fleet market. So, with that in mind, comfort levels need to be good and they are. Our range-topping test car featured 10-way power-adjusted seats with tilt, slide, recline, lumber and height adjustment. And with the tweaking of the steering wheel, getting the perfect driving position is a doddle.
The dashboard is designed and laid out horizontally for a more sculpted appearance and is divided into two sections. The upper half houses the floating touchscreen infotainment system and the lower level is where the controls for the audio, heating and ventilation are located.
And being the bees-knees of the range, our Kia boasted a whole raft of techno treats, including an eight-speaker JLB sound system, an eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with European mapping, smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a DAB radio with MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming and a host of other goodies.
The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and the cabin has been ergonomically designed so all readouts, controls and dials are well positioned for ease of use.
In fact, it would be fair to say with the range of seating adjustment, generous list of creature comforts and well-tuned engine with auto gearbox, the Kia Ceed is a very easy car to drive and long journeys would be enjoyable rather than a chore. Ours was!
Space & Practicality
Being a five-door family hatchback, the Kia Ceed needs to be a practical car for the active family or business driver clocking up the motorway miles while transporting all means of goods. When it comes to storage the boot capacity has increased 15 litres compared to its predecessor. It can now accommodate 395 litres of kit - a capacity that increases to 1,291 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere throughout the car there are numerous convenient storage options including front and rear cup holders, a glovebox, sunglasses compartment, door buckets, a central bin, pockets in the backs of the front seats and rear coat hooks.
With the new design also comes extra space for occupants with additional shoulder room for rear passengers and more headroom in the front. There is space for a trio of adults to sit in the back if they don’t mind squeezing up, but two six footers could easily sit comfortably with ample leg and head space.
With Ceed pricing starting from £18,295 and rising to £26,850, there is a model to suit all budgets and as with all Kias there will not be any additional costs for optional extras.
Our test car was priced at £26,850 and according to official figures, it delivers combined fuel economy of 50.4mpg with carbon emissions of 127g/km. This would result in a Vehicle Excise Duty cost of £160 for the first year and £140 for each following year.
There are cheaper options out there and if running costs are a priority the diesel-powered Ceed could be the answer with combined fuel economy of 74.3mpg and carbon emissions of 99g/km. The diesel models start from £19,545 and would have a first year VED cost of £120 rising to £140 each year after.
Insurance ratings are between groups 12 and 21.
Quality & Reliability
In recent years an area that Kia has worked tirelessly to address is the interior build quality of its cars and the Ceed is another fine example of how far the company has progressed. Early models featured too much hard plastic which rather let down the overall appeal. But the Ceed’s cabin is beautifully refined and features good, solid materials and hard-wearing trim. The leather upholstery in our test car was well constructed and the switchgear is solid in its design. The car feels like it will survive the test of time.
And like all Kia models, the Ceed comes with one of the best warranty packages in the industry thanks to its seven year, 100,000-mile warranty which is fully transferable if the car is sold on.
There are also a number of Kia Care service plans developed to provide customers with a with a wide range of service plan options to suit requirements and these plans can now extend the full seven years to match the warranty. They are available to all Kia owners and can be purchased at any point for cars up to five years of age.
Safety & Security
Although the Kia Ceed has not yet been tested for its official Euro NCAP safety rating, the company is confident it will receive a dual four and five stars rating depending which range of safety kit is fitted.
The car is packed with safety features and driver aids such as lane keep assist, seven airbags, driver attention warning, high beam assist, forward collision warning with forward collision avoidance assist, hill-start assist, blind spot collision warning, plus smart parking assist.
And the intuitive Lane Follow Assist is new for Kia and fitted as standard to First Edition models. This tracks the car in front of the Ceed in traffic and identifies safe and appropriate spaces in other lanes to gain ground in heavy traffic. It detects lane markings to keep the car on course on motorways and controls acceleration, braking and steering depending on the convoy of vehicles ahead. This system operates between 0 and 81mph.
The Ceed is fitted with speed sensing auto door locks and an anti-theft system including immobiliser and alarm.