If Kia can deliver on the £14,500 price, this Cee’d will be great value – undercutting the cheapest VW Golf by over £1,000. But the engine is a bit too gutless. So while the 1.4 1 is a good car, you’ll be better picking a model further up the range – we’d recommend the 1.6 petrol or diesel. If they’re beyond your budget, the 1.4 is still a capable, top-value hatch.
It’s only available in the most basic 1 trim and will start from around £14,500 when it goes on sale here in June. But as it’s a Kia, you’ll still get a fairly generous equipment list, with essentials like electric windows and air-conditioning as standard.
So is this bargain basement Cee’d any good to drive? Well, it’s quiet and smooth, but with only 99bhp on offer you wouldn’t call it quick. The 1.4 does 0-62mph in 12.8 seconds and hits a 113mph top speed. Out on the road you’ll never feel a real surge of power and progress beyond the city limits is always a struggle.
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The running costs are a letdown, too. While the more powerful 1.6-litre engine claims 54.3mpg and 119g/km of CO2 (with the EcoDynamics pack), the basic 1.4 is only capable of 50.4mpg and 130g/km (with stop-start only).
Still, the rest of the package is very good indeed. Even though this is the cheapest model in the range, the cabin still has an upmarket feel. There’s lots of space and the quality of the materials throughout looks – and feels – impressive.
Admittedly, you don’t get the gloss black inserts and LCD speedo of the more expensive versions, but you won’t feel like you’re driving the cheapest model in the line-up, either.
Our test car came fitted with optional 16-inch alloys and it proved to be more comfortable than other versions of the Cee’d we’ve driven with larger wheels. Over bumpy roads, it becomes clear that the suspension errs on the side of sportiness, but the ride quality is up there with the family car class leaders.
The handling is impressive as well, with plenty of grip and not too much body roll. But the biggest drawback is the steering, with the weighting feeling too inconsistent. Kia’s FlexSteer system – which gives a choice of three steering modes – is best left in its heaviest Sport setting.