Kia Cee'd review
The Kia Cee'd is a well built and practical family hatchback. It's a shame it's let down by a dull drive
The Kia Cee'd is the Korean manufacturer's answer to the Volkswagen Golf, the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra, cars that regularly top not just the family hatchback segment, but both appear in the top-ten best-selling cars in the UK.
In addition to its five-door hatchback body-style, the Kia Cee'd is available as the Sportswagon estate, which rivals the Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer and Ford Focus Estate. Furthermore, Kia offers a three-door version of the car called the Pro_cee'd, which looks slightly sportier thanks to a 40mm lower suspension, and sleeker roofline.
While the Cee'd is a serious rival for the regular VW Golf and Ford Focus, Kia's sportier versions of the Cee'd - the Cee'd GT and Pro_cee'd GT aren't really designed to trouble the likes of the Focus ST or Golf GTI for behind-the-wheel thrills. However, look tidy and feel well put together.
The two petrol engines in the Kia Cee'd kicks off with a 98bhp 1.4-litre unit. The rest of the mainstream line-up is comprised of either a 1.6-litre CRDi or GDI diesel. The CRDi units produce 124bhp, while the GDI produces 130bhp.
The performance focused Cee'd GT models, however, features a 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine, which kicks out a hefty 201bhp.
The Kia Cee'd is available in a wide variety of trim levels, with the 1 kicking things off and even this model gets air-conditioning as standard. The mid-range Kia Cee'd 2 gets cruise control and day-time running lights, while 3 cars feature integrated european sat-nav, rain sensing wipers and a reversing camera.
Flagship 4 and 4 Tech models feature black leather seats and a panoramic sunroof, and start-stop technology. The Cee'd VR7 special edition, meanwhile, gets Bluetooth with voice recognition and music streaming tech thrown in as standard, as well as all-round electric windows.
Our choice: Cee’d 1.6 CRDi 2 ISG 5dr
Compared to the understated Volkswagen Golf, and the slightly awkward looking Ford Focus, the Kia Cee'd stands out for sure. At the front, it looks good with its large 'tiger nose' grille and distinctive headlights. The stylish tail lights mean it looks great from behind, too.
While it's unable to match the Golf GTI for driving dynamics, the Cee'd GT certainly looks smart with an aggressive body-kit, and 'ice-cube' LED daytime running lights. Two-tone 18-inch alloys and extra chrome trim adds a little extra sparkle to the exterior styling, too.
Step inside the Kia Cee'd, and the overall feeling of quality continues. Kia has used plenty of up market materials, and as we've discussed, all models come generously equipped. One criticism of the interior however, would be that the red digital displays for the climate control and clock look somewhat cheap.
Unfortunately, the Kia Cee'd isn't exactly inspiring to drive, and compared to the Focus and SEAT Leon, it feels slightly inert.
On certain models, adjustable steering is an option, meaning that the driver can choose between Normal, Comfort and Sport modes. However, they don't really seem to make a lot of difference to the core problems with the Cee’d - that the nose feels heavy under cornering and the steering needs constant adjustment.
It's a shame that the handling isn't more polished at higher speeds, because at more sedate speeds around town the Cee'd is smooth and quiet with a lightness to all the main controls that makes it easy to manoeuvre.
In terms of engines, the 1.4-litre petrol and two 1.6-litre diesels feel solid enough, but none are particularly exciting. It's worth noting that for drivers who do a lot of miles, the diesels are the best choice thanks to strong power delivery in normal driving conditions.
The 1.6-litre 200bhp Cee'd GT is punchy and feels fast, but it's more of a warm-hatch, as opposed to a full-on hot-hatch.
The latest Kia Cee'd first featured in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey and finished 10th out of 150 cars. Kia as a whole performed well and ranked seventh out of 33 manufacturers, while a seven-year warranty proves how much confidence Kia has in its car too.
The Euro NCAP crash tests saw the Kia Cee'd scoring the full five stars, partly thanks to an 89 percent rating for adult occupant protection.
The safety equipment list is very strong, and it includes stability control, Isofix child seat fixings, seatbelt reminders and six airbags as standard. Buyers can also choose lane-departure warning as an optional extra.
The Kia Cee'd is undoubtedly practical, which is slightly unexpected given its small dimensions - it's just 4.310mm long, and 1,780mm wide.
However, intelligent design means the 380-litre boot of the Kia Cee'd is 60-litres larger than the one in the Ford Focus, and 10-litres bigger than the Vauxhall Astra. What's more, with the rear seats folded, this expands to a cavernous 1,318-litres. Should that not be enough space, buyers can also opt for the Kia Cee'd Sportswagen estate, which has a 1,664-litre boot.
Look closely, and it's clear that Kia has geared the Cee'd to family life, as it features plenty of interior storage spaces, and rear head and legroom are both very impressive.
Buyers seeking economy from their Kia Cee'd should go for the 1.6-litre CRDi ISG diesel, which returns 76.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 97g/km. This also means it's tax free and is similar to the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion in terms of economy but better value to buy.
Kia Cee'd models with the 1.6-litre CRDi and 1.6-litre GDI are also available with an automatic gearbox, but it drastically affects fuel consumption. GT models with their turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine achieve 38.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 171g/km.
This being a Kia, you get an excellent seven-year warranty as well, which means repair costs will be minimised over your ownership.