Kia cee'd 2006 review

Kia's compact family hatchback is a genuine class contender and is sure to suc-cee'd

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Previous Kias have been designed to be adequate, rather than class-leading. But the cee’d is an impressive compact family hatch. Inoffensive styling and a well built cabin aren’t all the cee’d has to offer – it has the dynamic abilities to challenge many rivals, too. Add in an unbeatable seven-year manufacturer’s warranty, and this is a Kia that will give rivals a run for their money.

We've heard the fanfare, put every model under the microscope and been told that this is Kia's big moment - but now it's time for the cee'd to finally prove itself.

Back in issue 936, Auto Express gained an exclusive preview of the cee'd five-door, together with the load-lugging estate and Pro_cee'd three-door concept. We were impressed by the space and quality on offer from the newcomer, but can the Kia compete where it matters - on the road?

Climb into the driver's seat, and initial impressions are that this is the first Korean family car that can match the ergonomics of the class leaders. It's easy to get comfortable, thanks to the height-adjustable seat and a wheel that moves for rake and reach.

Once on the move, the steering feels instantly connected, with even slight movements of the wheel around the straight-ahead position causing small but accurate changes of direction. This precision is mirrored in the gearchange, which has a short, snappy shift.

Our test car was powered by a 113bhp, 1.6-litre diesel, which seems to be the cee'd's perfect match. It's not the quietest at any speed and fails to mask its oil-burning rattle, but torquey performance and claimed 60mpg economy are a winning combination. So how does the Kia fare where its predecessors have always failed - when the road gets twisty? Unfortunately, the handling can't live up to the steering. It's streets ahead of its unresponsive Cerato stablemate, but there's still more body roll and understeer than with the razor-sharp Ford Focus and Honda Civic.

The cee'd is far more comfortable on the motorway, where the smooth suspension comes into its own. Bumps in the road and expansion joints are easily absorbed, and the Kia is a relaxing long-distance cruiser. Inside, the attractively designed cabin is free from creaks or rattles. Only some cheaper materials used around the handbrake and dials detract from the build quality of the spacious interior. Passengers have bags of legroom front and rear, while the boot is also good for the class.

Prices are expected to start from around £11,000, with range-toppers unlikely to cost much more than £16,000. All models come with hi-tech Apple iPod and USB connections as standard, as well as air-conditioning.

While the Korean newcomer won't break any records for its ability or desirability, Kia's compact family hatchback is a genuine class contender - and is sure to suc-cee'd...

Most Popular

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021
E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?
Petrol pump
News

E10 petrol explained: UK prices, checker tool and is it OK for your car?

E10 petrol is up to 10 per cent ethanol and is available at UK fuel stations now as part of the bid to cut CO2 emissions
1 Sep 2021
What is Skoda vRS? History and best cars driven
Skoda vRS range
Skoda

What is Skoda vRS? History and best cars driven

To mark 20 years of Skoda’s vRS badge, we rounded up some of the performance cars from the past two decades that have worn the subtle green badge
17 Sep 2021