Kia Ceed – Review
by Liam Bird
If I told you I’d spent the last week driving a car made by a marque that’s regularly seen on the Top Gear test track, what would you think I’d been in? Ferrari perhaps? If I then said that it seated five (albeit at a push), had a full leather interior, dual zone climate control and electronically adjustable seats would I still have you stumped?
Would you think Mercedes, Porsche, or BMW maybe? And what if I said the steering wheel was heated; there was a panoramic sunroof, cruise control, and a dual clutch 6 speed gearbox as well. Surely it must be a Jaguar, or possibly a Lexus, right? Wrong. Finally, if I told you it was built in Europe, it had the biggest boot in its class, and it was designed by the same man who penned the original TT, what then?
Surely, based on that kind of evidence, I must have been cruising around in and Audi; one of the larger more luxuriously appointed ones. Yes? No! You’re still wrong. The truth is I’ve spent the last week in Kia’s new ceed. And a quite a pleasant week it’s been too.
The new cee’d is longer and lower than the car it replaces – the one you usually see the likes of everyone from Stephen Fry to the Stig thrashing around the Dunsfold aerodrome in on a Sunday night – and it’s far more stylish too. Gone are the slightly boxy looks of the old car, replaced instead by a far more modern looking wedgier, cab-forward design, complete with Kia’s ‘Tiger Nose’ and wide rear haunches. Looks-wise its a little Fiesta–ish, with hints of Megane, Astra and Auris thrown in too. Generic then, some might say, but handsome nonetheless.
Inside things are also attractive. On the top spec 4 Tech (as tested), a leather-rimmed, multi-function steering wheel frames a very clear three dial dash that proves that stylist Petter Schreyer hasn’t forgotten everything he learned at Audi. Everything is within easy reach, or can be adjusted so it can be, and the sat-nav and Bluetooth are so easy to set up there’s no need to consult the bible sized hand-book that fills the ceed’s air-conditioned glovebox.
“Reputation for reliability”
A few of the plastics lower down might hint at Kia’s value for money reputation, but the list of standard equipment more than makes up for a few hard surfaces here and there. You can even adjust the weight of the steering to make the ceed easy to park, although the multitude of parking sensors, plus the reversing camera mean even in the tightest of spaces your ceed’s paintwork should remain unscathed.
On the road there’s a nice mix of balance and comfort. The multi-link rear suspension, something usually only seen for this class of car on the Golf or Focus, soaks up road imperfections well – there’s plenty of grip and also a surprising amount of agility around corners. The 1.6 litre petrol engine can sound a little frantic at times though, especially when overtaking, and keener drivers will probably be left wanting when it comes to steering feedback. For most of Kia’s customer base, most of the time however, that probably won’t be an issue. They’ll be more attracted to Kia’s seven-year warranty, its reputation for reliability and its low insurance rating. For some the reasonably priced car could well turn out to be the star after all.
Kia ceed 1.6 GDi DCT Auto
Engine: 1591cc 4Cyl 16V petrol
Transmission: 6 speed DCT auto
Power: 133bhp @6300pm
Torque: 121 lbft @4850rpm
Max Speed: 121mph
MPG: 46.3 combined