Gareth Butterfield tests the smart new apostrophe-free Kia Ceed
IF you’ve never bought a Kia before, prepare to be surprised. And if you’re already a fan of the marque, prepare to be delighted. The new Ceed is really very good.
Perhaps more importantly, they’ve dropped the odd apostrophe from its name. But there’s plenty of other things to like in the latest version.
For starters, it looks pretty good. Much better than the outgoing version. Its overall outline bearing something of a resemblance to the Mercedes A Class is probably no accident, but it does have its own style and it’s distinctive and individual from almost all angles.
There’s been a few changes in the engine line-up of the new Ceed, there’s two petrol engines, including a new 1.4 litre petrol engine, and a return of the one litre turbocharged three-pot. There’s also a 1.6 litre diesel, if that’s your preferred poison. The diesel puts out 138bhp, which is identical to the new 1.4 petrol engine, while the buzzy little one litre engine offers 118bhp.
The diesel is the more frugal engine, unsurprisingly, but the petrol engines seem to suit the Ceed better. Both are available with a manual or automatic gearbox.
In the inside you’ll find a floating touch-screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard even in the base model, along with a few free luxuries such as cruise control, DAB radio, reversing camera and automatic headlights.
Safety kit is also generous, as is the spec that mounts up if you select more premium models. Heated rear seats are available, for example.
Overall the interior is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. It’s not exactly filled with design flair, but build quality is now better than ever. If you’ve not poked around a Kia in a while, have a sit in the Ceed. It will surprise you.
It’s also very refined. Even in the diesel version, there’s very little engine noise intruding into the cabin and ride comfort is also very good.
Cabin space is good, if not ground-breaking. You can happily carry four adults and the boot space is pretty impressive with 395 litres on offer with the seats up.
For a car that looks sporty, the Ceed’s handling is perhaps one of the few disappointments. It makes a reasonable job of tucking into corners, but the steering is a little numb and long gearing doesn’t help. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t bore you, but there are more competent hatches when it comes to thrills.
Yes, it’s a Kia. And if that badge still causes you a problem then shame on you. What you’re looking at here is another big leap forward for the former underdogs. This is a car that can compete with Volkswagens in terms of cabin fit and finish, but still undercut many rivals on price. Rivals, that is, that don’t offer Kia’s legendary seven-year warranty.
It might not be as sporty as its looks suggest, but hatchback buyers would be silly not to give the Ceed some serious thought