Kia Ceed

Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDI £25,750

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents - PIERS WARD

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 281Nm for the diesel, and fuel econ­omy is up there with ri­vals. The 1.4 we’ve been driv­ing re­turns 5.8L/100km 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.

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