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Kia Cee’d Review

Kia is making waves in the family hatchback sector. The Cee’d raised the bar for Kia and the Korean maker has gone from strength to strength. Now a major player, the Cee’d received a light refresh to keep it among the heavyweights in the segment.

Starting price:

Why we love it:
  • More stylish than ever before
  • New range of efficient engines
  • Impressive seven-speed DCT gearbox
Where it could be better:
  • Not quite as good fun as some rivals
  • Prices creeping up
  • Badge snobbery may hinder sales
More On This Car
Take one for a spin or order a brochure
Request a Kia Ceed brochure
Request a Kia Ceed test drive


When Kia launched the original Cee’d back in 2007, it was a turning point for the company. It had a good family hatch, okay, so it was no VW Golf or Ford Focus, however, the Korean company was moving in the right direction. Now in its second generation, and a mid-life refresh, the Cee’d is maturing nicely. It looks great, comes with a sport trim while the engine line-up is much more efficient. The only downside is that the price is creeping up but then the counter argument is that the Cee’d now looks and feels the part. Is it good enough to take conquest sales off the likes of Ford’s Focus and even VW’s Golf? Read on to see if the Cee’d is heading to the top of the class…

On The Road


When the first iteration joined the hatchback sector, it was lacking that fun factor and the engines were a little under-powered, however it was a good A to B car and more importantly to get buyers through the showroom door, it was priced competitively.

This refreshed version is a whole new ball game. It’s fun to drive and this is reflected in the performance times.

There’s a decent choice of engines starting with Kia’s new 1.0litre T-GDI. An impressive three-cylinder unit, it has a power output of 98bhp and 172Nm of torque while there’s also a higher-powered version, which produces 118bhp. The lowered powered model will reach 62mph from a standing start in 12.8 seconds while the higher-powered version will complete the benchmark sprint in 11.1 seconds.

On the diesel front, the Kia Cee’d comes with the enhanced 1.6-litre CRDi which now produces 134bhp and 285Nm of torque. This engine is our favourite diesel unit and can get from zero to 62mph in 10.2 seconds.

The Cee’d continues to come with the 126bhp 1.6-litre GDI and the 98bhp 1.4-litre MPI petrol engines while the popular 1.4-litre CRDI diesel engine will also remain on the line-up.

Kia is offering its new seven-speed double-clutch transmission on models with the 134bhp diesel unit. The transmission has been developed in-house and is a very smooth changing and quick shifting system. 

Ride Handling

Under the skin is where a lot of changes have taken place and the Cee’d feels so much better for it. There are noticeable improvements not only in the day-to-day ride but also in the dynamics. The Cee’d’s is now fun to drive, it was devoid of a fun factor prior to this new model. According to the engineers, is the addition of the torque vectoring system, which reduces understeer. Not only is the handling very good, the steering is improved. The steering feels better weighted and more direct than before. The Cee’d is a little way off the top of the class Focus and Golf, but it is certainly on a par with the new Vauxhall Astra, which has also improved drastically on the ride and handling front.


Road, wind and tyre noise are minimal. There is a little noise from each, but this is unobtrusive meaning that you won’t have to raise your voice to be heard – definitely a good thing.

The ride is comfy although it may be a little firm. However, this helps the dynamics when you want to push on.

In The Car

Behind the Wheel

The refreshed Cee’d has had a subtle nip and tuck on the interior. There are flashes of chrome around the instrument binnacle, driver-side and central air vents and around the upper edge of the instrument panel. The central fascia panel is designed with an anti-scratch gloss black panel. I f you are a lover of chrome then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s more, the base of the gearstick, the door handles and temperature control dials receive a sprinkling of chrome however, these are dependent on trim levels.

The facelifted car receives a new trim called GT Line giving it a sporty look but with a new eco-friendly three-cylinder one-litre engine.

Take a deep breath as there is tons of kit, here you go…

Opt for the entry level 1 trim and highlights include pprojection headlights, aircon, Bluetooth® with music streaming, electronic stability control (ESC) and vehicle stability management (VSM), electrically adjustable & heated door mirrors, front electric windows, luggage under-floor box & side tray and roof rails, all of which comes as standard.

Move to trim 2 and this adds 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights reversing sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, electric windows, electronically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with LED Indicators and kerbside lights and Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming.

Trim 3 highlights include dual automatic aircon, 7-inch touchscreen with integrated satnav, reversing camera system, Bluetooth with Voice recognition and Music Streaming, rain sensing front wipers, LED daytime running lights, cruise control and speed limiter, electronically folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors with LED indicators and kerbside lights.

Trim 4 adds 17-inch alloy wheels, engine Start/Stop button with smart entry system, speed and multifunction LCD full colour display, electric parking brake, black leather seats with contrast grey Inserts.

4 Tech includes panoramic sunroof with tilting/sliding function and automatic electric roll blind, 10-way power adjustable driver's memory seat with power lumbar support on front passenger's side, lane departure warning system, parallel park assist system (PPAS) with front and reversing sensors.

Finally, GT Line adds 16-inch alloy wheels, leather trimmed steering wheel & gearshift, USB & AUX ports, cornering lights, LED daytime running lights, privacy glass (rear windows and tailgate and automatic headlight control.

Space & Practicality

The Kia Cee’d offers a loadspace of 380 litres, that’s 64 litres or a couple of soft bags to you and me more than Ford’s Focus, 30 litres more than the Mazda3, 28 litres more than the VW Golf and two litres more than Hyundai’s i30. Fold the rear bench down and this expands the load space to1,318 litres making the Cee’d a practical family car. There are more than enough cubbies in which to nik-naks while the door pockets are of a good size. 


Running Costs

Kia’s Cee’d is a competitive player in the popular family hatchback market. Not only has it got a range of efficient engines, it also comes with an optional three or five year service package.

Quality & Reliability


Safety & Security

Safety features include stability control, anti-lock brakes, emergency brake assist, hill assist control to prevent rollback – especially useful for drivers stopped at traffic lights on an ascent. There’s also six airbags as standard while the Cee’d has also got collapsible headlamps, a stiffer lower bumper lip and shock-absorbing structures in the bonnet and its hinges. When tested by Euro NCAP the Cee’d achieved five stars. 

More On This Car
Take one for a spin or order a brochure
Request a Kia Ceed brochure
Request a Kia Ceed test drive
By Simon McBride
Nov 09, 2015

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