By Steve Berry
FIRST off, let’s get one thing straight: It’s Ceed, not cee’d anymore. The pronunciation is exactly the same but Kia have decided the original name could be a little confusing so they’ve dropped the apostrophe and capitalised.
And with a “snappier” name comes a snappier look. Lower, wider, and with a longer rear overhang than the car it replaces, the Ceed’s silhouette certainly looks sportier.
New LED daytime running lights give the Ceed greater visibility on the road. Paired with straight lines in the bodywork and a subtle rear boot spoiler, the Ceed presents a more “planted” and slightly more aggressive appearance which compares favourably with rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia and Peugeot 308. It even gives the new Ford Focus a run for its money.
The new Ceed is available in 11 versions, based on four trim levels – 2, Blue Edition, 3 and First Edition. All models are front-wheel-drive and feature a five-door hatchback body-style, with prices ranging from £18,295 up to £26,850.
The range has a wide choice of powertrains with petrol options including an updated version of Kia’s popular 1.0-litre T-GDi engine, producing 118bhp, as well as an all-new 1.4-litre T-GDi power unit. The 1.4-litre T-GDi engine produces 138bhp with the turbocharger giving a wider torque band than the earlier 1.6-litre engine making it more responsive while also reducing emissions.
The Ceed is also available with Kia’s all-new 1.6 diesel engine. The engine produces 114bhp and 280Nm of torque when paired with a manual gearbox or 300Nm of torque when fitted with Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT).
Every engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission, while the 1.4-litre T-GDi and 1.6-litre CRDi engines are also available with Kia’s seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission.
I’ve been driving the £25,750 Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition model fitted with a manual gearbox and not only does it look fabulous but the interior is even more impressive.
The Ceed feels more ergonomic than ever and contains better quality materials. The perforated full-leather seats looked and felt very classy. They’re comfortable too with 10-way electronic adjustment.
The cabin layout has been adapted with the dashboard laid out horizontally for a more slimline appearance and split into an upper area for the ‘floating’ touchscreen infotainment system and lower level, which houses controls for audio and heating and ventilation.
Visibility is good looking forward but only so-so through the narrow rear window – but fear not as every Ceed comes with a reversing camera as well as electrically adjusted and heated wing mirrors. Step up to the ‘3’ model and you also get rear parking sensors.
All but the base model get an 8in touchscreen with Sat Nav and Apple CarPlay along with Android Auto. Base models get a 7in screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Rear passengers won’t have much to complain about as the Kia Ceed is comfortable enough to carry two adults, and three at a pinch. My only criticism would be the standard-fit sunroof on the First Edition model eats into the headroom by a couple of inches. At least the rear doors open nice and wide so entering and exiting shouldn’t be a problem and neither should lifting out babies and toddlers.
Boot space is slightly better than the Golf and Focus at 395 litres and the boot floor is usefully adjustable too. The 60/40 split rear seats also fold, giving you a whopping 1,291 litres, if needed.
On-board tech is plentiful with even the base 2 model getting many features that are usually a cost option on rivals, including cruise control with speed limiter, air conditioning, electric windows all-round and automatic headlight control.
Moving inside, base models also get a leather-trimmed steering wheel, gearshift and handbrake, DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming. Safety systems are impressive with Lane Keeping Assist, High Beam Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Hill Start Assist Control and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.
My ‘First Edition’ model was brimming with technology, including a Smart Park Assist System while smart cruise control and a Drive Mode Selector are featured when the seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission is chosen.
Inside there are heated and ventilated front seats, heated outer rear seats and a wide electric tilt and slide sunroof with automatic roll blind. There is also a heated steering wheel, stainless steel pedals, smart entry system with engine start/stop button and an eight-speaker JBL premium sound system with wireless mobile phone charger.
But how does the new Kia Ceed drive? Well, the 1.4 T-GDi provides more than enough power and flexibility to make the Ceed a pleasant drive around town and a very able motorway cruiser. The gearshift is slick enough while the steering is a little numb but no worse than rivals.
You will find the ride pliant over the worst roads and speed-humps and although both the VW Golf and Ford Focus do a better job of insulating you from the worst jolts, the Ceed certainly won’t disappoint.
Take the Ceed for a blast along A or B-roads and you may be pleasantly surprised by how the car responds with well-controlled body-roll and steering that is quick (just 2.44 turns from lock-to-lock), with just a hint of understeer if you get a little silly.
All-in-all the new Ceed is certainly taking Kia in the right direction. It looks and feels more upmarket than its predecessor while remaining significantly cheaper and with more standard features.
AT A GLANCE: Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition
OTR Price: £25,750
Engine: 1.4 turbo petrol
Power: 138 bhp
Transmission: 6-speed manual
0-62mph: 8.6 secs
Top Speed: 130 mph
Combined Economy: 48.7 mpg
CO2: 132 g/km