Kia Ceed - Engines, performance and drive
The Ceed delivers a decent drive, although sportier GT Line models offer a firmer set-up
The changes Kia has made to improve the Ceed’s driving dynamics have paid off. Where the previous model was comfortable enough but wasn’t as much fun to drive as a Ford Focus, the latest car has a much-improved ride and handling balance.
It’s generally compliant and soaks up lumps and bumps well, although larger imperfections will still upset the Kia, whereas a VW Golf remains composed. Body lean is well-controlled in the bends, the steering is pretty direct, and there’s lots of grip.
We found the GT-Line model a little bit compromised compared with the other versions in the Ceed range, with an overly firm ride that is perhaps a little at odds with the ethos of a true family hatch. The sportier set-up means there is less body roll, but minor bumps in the road bring an unsettled feel.
The Ceed can't rival the class benchmark, the Focus, for the way it drives, but it still rewards being driven hard in a way that the previous version doesn’t.
It’s a shame that the Ceed's gearboxes are one of its biggest weaknesses. The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission isn’t as swift to change as the DSG in the VW Golf, and it's rather laggy when pulling away from a standstill. However, it shifts smoothly when used gently, and its software tuning is better than that of the same gearbox fitted to the Hyundai i30.
We’d stick with a manual Ceed instead, if only because it's cheaper. It's still not great though; the engine revs tend to hang for a long time after the clutch is depressed, making it very difficult to drive smoothly. We found the latest Ceed was at its best at a motorway cruise, where you can let the revs remain low, and the ride settles down somewhat. That said, some of the Kia’s competitors, like the Toyota Corolla, are better at isolating road noise from the cabin, making them better long-distance cruisers.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The 1.5-litre T-GDi ISG petrol engine that powers all Ceeds allows this family hatchback to do 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds with the manual gearbox, while opting for the DCT auto increases the time to 8.6 seconds – both versions have a 130mph top speed.
That’s a competitive time when compared with the equivalent Focus and Golf, but the Honda Civic is much quicker, with a 0-62mph time of 7.9 seconds.
In this review
- 1Kia Ceed reviewThe Kia Ceed is one of the firm’s best-selling cars, and the latest model is a hatchback front-runner
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Ceed delivers a decent drive, although sportier GT Line models offer a firmer set-up
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsLatest Ceed's mild-hybrid engines help reduce fuel consumption and emissions, with overall running costs pretty reasonable
- 4Interior, design and technologySharp looks and good levels of kit help the Ceed remain competitive against close rivals
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceClever packaging means decent space for adults to travel in comfort, while luggage space is excellent
- 6Reliability and SafetyStacks of safety kit and a generous warranty should make life with a Kia Ceed as straightforward as possible