Gareth Butterfield tests out the new Kia Ceed
I CAN remember when Kia launched the last C’eed. Oh, how we laughed. The Korean firm didn’t have anything like as much credibility in those days, and although it was beginning to find its feet and the Cee’d was actually pretty good, we took great joy in mocking the silly apostrophe in its name and pondering its potential awfulness.
But actually Kia was having the last laugh. Not only was it a good car, it was a big success. And so the arrival of the new Ceed (note they’ve finally dropped the apostrophe) has been met with barely a muted snigger.
That’s also because, unlike the last car, the new version looks fabulous. You’ve doubtless read a dozen times that Kia has come such a long way in so many senses, so I won’t labour the point, but in case you’re getting ready to dismiss this new hatch in favour of a more established brand – shame on you. You only need to sit in a modern Kia to realise they’re (nearly) all worth serious consideration.
The front of the new Ceed is reminiscent of Kia’s flagship, the Stinger. And the interior of the Stinger draws heavily from its big saloon and estate sibling, the Optima. Happily, the Ceed blends the qualities from both those cars. It means this is probably Kia’s best interior yet, pound for pound.
And there’s another point to make here. Kia’s prices have been creeping up alongside their leaps and bounds in build quality, but the Ceed is still priced keenly. A reasonable £18,600 will get you into the base-model “2”. And spec is generous throughout the range. Oh, and don’t forget there’s a seven-year warranty to be had.
So it’s attractive, well made and good value for money. What’s not to like?
Well, the worst aspect of the Ceed is still its numbness. So let’s get that out of the way. The newcomer is better to drive, and it’s as comfortable and refined as you’d like it to be, but don’t expect any thrills.
Fuel economy is good though. The engine range is modern and fresh, unlike one or two cars you could opt for instead.
There are two petrols to choose from – either a 1.0-litre turbo or an all-new 1.4-litre. Power is at 118bhp or 138bhp respectively and the beefier lump is quicker to 62mph by a good few seconds.
These come with either a decent manual box or a very good seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
The diesel is also a new engine – a 1.6-litre producing a thoroughly acceptable 138bhp and 178lb ft. The diesel is said to be good for 74mpg and dips below the 100g/km mark too.
Interior space is good, there’s nothing concerning about visibility and did I mention how good the cabin quality is? Seriously, it’s getting to the point where a VW owner would be impressed to sit in a Kia.
So it all adds up rather well for the Ceed. It’s almost certainly Kia’s best car yet and that’s becoming increasingly high praise for a company that continues to make bigger dents in the European competition.
First and foremost, it’s a car that should not be overlooked. If you’re in the market for this type of car, there’s no longer any reason to be ashamed to opt for a Kia.
In fact, all things considered, it’s pretty much the best choice at the moment. Who’d have thought we’d be saying that 10 years ago?