Kia Cee’d: Car Review
There’s more polish and it’s still great value
What’s it like?
The Kia Cee’d is sharper looking, more economical and better made than the car it replaces. In fact, this small hatchback is good enough to make the likes of Ford and Volkswagen sit up and pay close attention.
Would it help me stay safe?
All models come with Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management. Six airbags are standard.
Who should buy it and how much does it cost?
If you value good looks and good value the new Cee’d could be for you. Our favourite model, the 126bhp 1.6 CRDi costs from £16,295.
Our review: Good Motoring, Autumn 2012
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
The Cee’d drives well, although it’s no match for the class leaders. Compared with the fluid and precise steering of a Volkswagen Golf, the Cee’d wheel’s self-centring action is too strong.
Some models have ‘Flex Steer’ which offers Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. These vary the level of assistance to make parking easier or to give more weight at speed. To be honest, after 10 minutes’ experimenting, we left it set to Normal, which seemed like the right compromise most of the time.
It may not involve the driver as well as a Golf, but the new Cee’d has plenty of grip and corners tidily, and the ride stays the comfortable side of firm.
We had the chance to drive two of the four available engines, and it’s not hard to pick a favourite. The 126bhp 1.6 CRDi diesel puts out 192lb/ft of torque, and is much livelier than the 1.6 petrol. Despite having 133bhp, the petrol is gutless unless revved hard. Push the revs and the engine sounds strained.
That’s a shame because in other respects the cabin is serene and quiet at motorway speeds, with little wind or road noise.
We tried the petrol with a manual gearbox and the new DCT double-clutch gearbox. The DCT’s gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel look like something out of a racing car and seem incongruous in a car this slow. Gearshifts are smooth but not as crisp as the best conventional autos. Unless you really must let the ’box do the work for you, we’d recommend the manual.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Inside, there’s been a definite step forward in quality and design flair compared with the previous Kia Cee’d. It looks and feels a more upmarket car, although there’s still some hard, shiny plastic lower on the dash and doors. Chrome-ringed dials and switches help give the cabin a lift.
There’s more space inside than before. Those in the front have more head and legroom, while there’s more shoulder room all-round. The extra space isn’t necessarily easy to appreciate in the back: the upward sweep of the window line and thick rear pillars may appear a pleasing flourish of the designer’s pen, but they make the rear seats feel somewhat claustrophobic.
Boot space is a healthy 380 litres. That’s 30 litres more than you’ll find in a VW Golf, and 64 litres more than in a Ford Focus. Fold the rear seats down and there are 1318 litres to fill.
All cars come with Electronic Stability Control and Vehicle Stability Management, which should help keep the Kia under control in an emergency. Front, side and curtain airbags are also fitted across the board.
One of the more unusual safety features is Emergency Stop Signalling, which automatically flashes the high-level brake light if heavy braking is detected.
Euro NCAP has yet to publish a safety rating for the new Kia Cee’d, but it’s much the same car as the Hyundai i30 under the skin and this has been awarded five stars. We’d be surprised if the Kia’s result proved very different.
Kia is usually generous is specifying its cars, and we can’t see too many owners complaining about the list of standard kit on the Cee’d.
Even the basic ‘1’ has air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and Aux ports, front fog lights and electric front windows. The ‘2’ has 16-inch alloy wheels, reversing sensors, cruise control and a speed limiter, all-round electric windows and a leather-trimmed steering wheel.
Pay a little more for the ‘3’ to get satellite navigation with a seven-inch touchscreen, a reversing camera, climate control, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and electrical lumbar support adjustment for the driver and front-seat passenger.
If you’re feeling flush the ‘4’ adds leather upholstery, larger alloy wheels, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel plus other luxury goodies.
Prices start from £14,395. That buys the most basic 1.4-litre petrol. Diesel prices start from £15,695 for the 1.4 CRDi. The more powerful 1.6 CRDi is priced from £16,295, while the 1.6 petrol is priced from £17,195.
The 1.4 petrol should return 47.1mpg, while the 1.6 petrol should achieve 52.3mpg.
Anyone who gets near the 126bhp diesel’s official combined economy figure of 74.3mpg (on 16-inch wheels) will be well pleased. In fact, it’s more economical than the smaller diesel, which returns 68.9mpg.
Don’t forget all Kias come with a seven-year warranty.
If you keep your cars for a long time, that could be enough to choose the Cee’d over its close relative, the Hyundai i30. But it’s a close run thing.
The Kia Cee’d is stylish, roomy and very well equipped.
AT A GLANCE:
Price: this model costs £16,295
Performance: 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds
Insurance: Group 12
Tax: Band A (£0)
Verdict : 4/5
Figures for the 1.6 CRDi