Kia Cee'd 1.6 CRDi LS

One of our class favourites, Cee’d is a strong choice

  • Attractive, well made, fun handling
  • Generic looks, some cheap cabin materials

Park the Cee’d alongside Hyundai’s i30, and it’s easy to see the family resemblance. Both models take on a rather generic look – but we think the Kia is marginally the more attractive of the two. The styling is neat and inoffensive, and when you get inside, fit and finish are excellent.

While the quality of materials used in the cabin is impressive, we’re disappointed by the cheap finish on the door control panel and the instrument binnacle – in bright sunshine, it creates an annoying reflection. But this higher-spec Kia feels more sophisticated than the Hyundai, thanks largely to the LS model’s metal-effect centre console. What’s more, the driving position is better than the Auris’, although the seats are a little thin in comparison. All-round space is pretty good, with enough room for four adults and a competitively sized boot.

The Cee’d’s engine is smooth and tractable, and provides reasonable pace, too; the Kia was the fastest of our trio during performance tests. It’s more responsive around town, and the added power inspires confidence when it comes to overtaking. Yet while it features the same unit as the Hyundai, the Cee’d was noisier.

All three cars are comfortable at cruising speeds, but what separates the Kia is that it also manages to inject an element of fun into twisting roads. This is largely thanks to its good steering and well balanced chassis.

The best thing about the Cee’d is its value for money. At £14,295, it is £1,300 more than the base i30, but this is the flagship diesel, which gets climate control and part-leather upholstery as standard. Add in that market-leading seven-year warranty, and it’s a tempting package.

Details

Price: £14,655Model tested: Kia Cee'd 1.6 CRDi LSChart position: 1WHY: A revelation for Kia, the Cee’d has proved to be a genuine challenger to the best in the sector

Economy

Thanks to its lighter kerbweight, plus an engine that had been well run in, the Kia was more economical than the identical-engined Hyundai. It returned 45.9mpg on average – 1.5mpg better than the i30

Residuals

The Cee’d has been on sale for six months now, so it’s no big shock that its retained values have dropped a little. Our range-topping diesel model holds on to 35.5 per cent of its sticker price, so it’s the worst performer here

Servicing

With a total of £604 for the first three services, the Cee’d is more expensive to maintain than the Auris. Plus, the firm performed worse than Toyota in Driver Power 2007 – although a position of 15th is still respectable

Tax

the 1.6-litre diesel engine in the Cee’d emits an identical 125g/km of CO2 to the Hyundai. So in terms of company car tax, the determining factor is the list price – which is why the Kia is more costly, at £566 a year

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