Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDI £25,750
WE SAY: SMARTER LOOKING, GOOD KIT – AND THE NAME’S BEEN FIXED
Pity the copywriters at Kia. After two generations of the cee’d, they must have just about got their computers programmed not to autocorrect the spelling, only for the bosses to change it to what it always should have been – Ceed.
Still, it makes sense. This isn’t a car that has to rely on gimmicks to sell itself; it’s a car that can rival the best in the class.
Engines available now are either 1.0- or 1.4-litre petrols, and a 1.6-litre diesel. The petrols produce 118bhp or 138bhp, with 114bhp and 207lb ft for the diesel, and fuel economy is up there with rivals. The 1.4 we’ve been driving returns 48.7mpg and 132g/km, according to the new WLTP tests.
This 1.4 is all-new to Kia, and it’s the pick. There’s just about enough poke to keep things interesting (relatively so – this is a standard family hatch, after all), and the gearing is better tuned to this engine. You’ve got to stir the gearstick too much in the others because fifth and sixth are too long.
Kia claims this new Ceed has been given a dynamic working over, with 40 per cent stiffer springs and a new damper valve system at the front, plus tweaked rear suspension. Sadly, it’s not had the desired effect. Yes, it handles better than the last one, but a car like the Ford Focus is still more fun.
As you’d expect from Kia, there’s plenty of standard kit, so even base cars get full connectivity with your smartphone via the touchscreen floating dash, plus tech like DAB, Bluetooth, reversing camera and cruise control. Top-spec ones even have heated rear seats – dad’s taxi service is going to be popular this winter.
What’s really impressive is the build quality. There are some sleek piano-black surfaces inside (remember when those were just the domain of Range Rovers and the like?), soft-touch plastics everywhere and a general feeling of robustness.
Of course, all this comes at a cost. Although you get extra kit compared to rivals, the headline price is getting close to the likes of a VW Golf or Focus. The fact that this isn’t laughable is testament to how far Kia has come.