Why this smart, new third-generation Kia is designed to Suc-Ceed
Kia has raised its game with the third-generation Ceed hatchback which closes the gap on the class big guns and is boosted by generous kit, safety features and that long warranty, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
The cee’d was a turning point for Kia – the first model with a seven-year/100,000-mile warranty and designed and built in Europe, hence the convoluted name.
It was conceived from ‘cee’ (European Economic Community – remember that outdated concept – in French) with ‘ed’ for European design with the apostrophe instead of one ‘e’.
Like most motoring journalists, I ignored the small ‘c’ and apostrophe but we couldn’t ignore it was a pretty good five-door family hatchback – there’s also an estate – loads of kit, value, reliability and dealer customer service that outweighed the brand’s early lack of charisma.
Now the third-generation model has risen to a new level and becomes Ceed – Community of Europe, with European Design.
Looks and image
Lower, wider, with a longer rear overhang, straight lines have replaced rounded styling for a sportier look. All models now get ‘ice cube’ daytime running lights.
It’s smart enough to hold its own in the class style stakes, enough to make you look twice to confirm it really is a Kia.
Under the bonnet
An all-turbo line-up – revised 118bhp 1.0-litre and all-new 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol and new 114bhp 1.6-litre diesel – the latter two also with seven-speed automatic transmission.
With its turbo, the 1.4 petrol unit, replacing the naturally-aspirated 1.6, has a wider torque band so is more responsive. It pulls willingly from low revs and spins freely so, keep the engine on the boil with the light-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, and it feels and sounds pleasingly sporty but still returned 41mpg overall, 50 on a run.
How it drives
New suspension, with revised spring and damper rates, and faster steering make the Ceed more engaging to drive but the ride is still geared for comfort and rear passengers found the softish suspension bouncy on undulating roads.
That said, it’s more entertaining to drive on winding roads with responsive, well-weighted steering.
Space and comfort
There’s more front headroom and decent legroom in the back so four large adults won’t feel cramped. With more rear shoulder room and efficient packaging, three can squeeze in the back but chunky rear pillars, tapering rear side windows and a shallow back screen make it feel less roomy than it is.
The boot has grown to 395 litres with a two-level floor which, at sill level, sits flush with the 60/40 split rear seat backs when folded down.
Cabin quality has improved with soft-touch materials at main contact points, particularly in the front, and gloss black and silver-effect trim.
At the wheel
The driving position is good but, if you carry a few extra pounds, I’d have liked a bit more seat cushioning for added support over long distances.
A big rev counter and speedo, with inset temperature and fuel gauges, central trip computer display, ‘floating’ eight-inch infotainment screen – seven on entry model – and simple push buttons and rotary control for the climate system make the fuss-free fascia really user-friendly.
Storage is plentiful which will please families.
All models include auto high beam and systems to warn the driver is tired and for keeping in lane, hill-starts and warning and avoiding hitting object in fronts, air-con and cruise control.
Range-topping First Edition is fully loaded including lane following assist, a first for Kia in Europe, to gain more ground in heavy congestion by identifying appropriate spaces in other lanes to move in to, and auto parking. It also includes leather seats, electric sunroof and driver’s seat, LED headlights, heated seats and steering wheel, ventilated front seats and wireless phone charger.
Kia’s Ceed isn’t the budget buy it used to be but, with that long warranty and comprehensive kit, is still good value. More stylish and better to drive, no wonder Kia has high hopes of wooing new converts.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Kia Ceed First Edition 1.4 T-GDi £25,750 (range from £18,295)
Engine: 1,353cc, 138bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol with six-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-60mph 8.9 seconds; top speed 128mph
MPG: Urban 42.8; extra urban 57.6; combined 50.4
CO2 emissions: 127g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 26pc
Insurance group: 20 (out of 50)
Warranty: Seven years or 100,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,310mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,800mm; H 1,447mm