Kia Cee'd review (2007-2011)
The Cee’d is the car that helped Kia shake-off its bargain basement image and establish the firm as a rival to mainstream manufacturers.
For: Practicality, composed driving dynamics, generous warranty
Against: Firm ride, clunky gearshift, anonymous styling
The Cee’d is the car that helped Kia shake-off its bargain basement image and establish the firm as a rival to mainstream manufacturers. Designed, engineered and built in Europe, it's aimed directly at the likes of the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. It's comfortable to ride in, stylish and robustly built - and what's more, increases the breadth of its appeal with a seven-year warranty.
Our choice: C’eed 2 1.6 CRDi EcoDynamics
A recent facelift sharpened the looks of the neat and well-proportioned Cee’d, but in five-door hatchback guise it still lacks the eye-catching appeal of rivals such as the Mazda 3 and Vauxhall Astra. The SW estate version adds extra visual flair thanks to its distinctive rear side windows and steeply raked tailgate. Style conscious buyers will be tempted by the rakish three-door Pro_cee’d. However, it's worth remembering that the sleek, driver oriented model doesn’t get the refreshed looks of other versions until later in 2011.
As with the exterior, the C’eed’s cabin is solid but unspectacular. The dashboard is logically laid out, while the quality of the plastics is on a par with most in the class – although it trails the upmarket Volkswagen Golf. Fit and finish is excellent, while most of the switchgear operates with slick precision. There will be no complaints about the amount of standard kit, as all models get air-conditioning, electric windows and a trip computer. Range-topping ‘3’ versions add dual-zone climate control and a classy piano black finish for the centre console.
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DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Because the Kia Cee'd has been developed exclusively for European roads, it’s no surprise to find that it benefits from composed driving dynamics. However, while the Kia feels agile through demanding corners, its firm ride makes it a tiring inner city companion. The 1.6-litre CRDi diesels are the pick of the engine line-up, delivering decent refinement and strong mid-range urge. Sadly, the standard five and six-speed manual gearboxes suffer from an occasionally clunky shift action.
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MPG AND RUNNING COSTS
Buyers on a budget should take a close look at the fuel efficient Cee’d EcoDynamics. Its 89bhp 1.6-litre diesel engine gets a number of fuel saving tweaks, including the firm’s Intelligent Stop and Go system (ISG). As a result the Kia should return a supermini-rivalling 67.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are only 110g/km. All versions of the C’eed undercut traditional mainstream rivals on price, while its predicted residuals are stronger than either the Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra. Finally, a seven-stars year warranty adds piece of mind, particularly for private buyers.
In five-door hatchback guise the Cee’d is a versatile and practical family runaround. The cabin has enough room for five adults to sit in reasonable comfort, plus there’s plenty of storage for items such as mobile phones and iPods. Swing open the tailgate and you’ll discover a 340-litre load bay, which is only 10-litres less than the VW Golf. Buyers needing more space can pick the roomy SW estate that can accommodate a generous 1,664-litres of luggage with the rear bench folded flat.
SAFETY AND RELIABILITY
The facelifted Kia hasn’t been subjected to a EuroNCAP test, but its predecessor scored a five-star rating. Even entry-level models get six airbags, anti-whiplash head restraints and ESP as standard. A respectable seventeenth place finish in our 2010 Driver Power survey meant the Cee’d beat class favourites such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus.