Road test: Kia Cee’d

Posted on February 19th, 2016 by James Luckhurst

The Cee’d has slick manners and a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Road test: Kia Cee'd

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What is it?

The Kia Cee’d is a likeable, well-designed, sensible car with a silly name. Kia’s mid-range model has been updated to sharpen its appeal, but still keeps that annoying apostrophe.

How safe is it?

It comes well equipped with safety kit, and is rated a five-star car in Euro NCAP testing. Options include blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and speed limit notification.

Who should buy one?
A family driver or business motorist seeking a smart-looking hatchback with reasonable space, good economy, crisp driving manners and an unusually long warranty, all at a fair price.

Road test by Sue Baker published 20 February 2016



Road test: Kia Cee'd

This is a slick, likeable car to drive with tidy dynamics and robust performance. It has stepped up a grade in this latest model, and now comes nearer to the benchmark behaviour of the two most highly rated cars in this size category for the way they drive, namely the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. The Cee’d can’t quite match the pert precision and sporty edge of either, but it now comes pretty close and is a noticeable improvement on the pre-facelift car.

It handles very tidily, with decent body control and a taut feel into the bends. It doesn’t have the sporty edge of a Focus, though. The Cee’d has a ride quality that is generally pretty fair with a calm poise on averagely smooth roads, although it can be unsettled by a pock-marked road surface and there is some thump over the kind of potholes that you encounter on so many British back roads. That is more pronounced on higher-spec models like our test car, which come with standard 17-inch wheels. Ride quality is actually better lower down the range, on cars with 16-inch rims. Steering feel is pretty reasonable, giving you quite informative feedback about precisely where the wheels are pointing. The downside is a slightly deadened feel on hard cornering.

The 1.6 litre CRDi diesel is expected to be a particularly popular engine choice, with 134bhp on tap to give robust performance and acceptable flexibility via the sensibly spaced ratios of the six-speed manual gearbox. Gear change action is fair, it could be a bit slicker when you are in press-on mood and making liberal use of the gears on a twisty country roads. This engine has a good blend of pace and economy, with a combined figure of over 70mpg in the version we drove, and up to 78.5mpg for the greenest version.

Road test: Kia Cee'd

The Cee’d comes in both three and five door versions, and also as an estate car. With its recent revamp, it has been upgraded in cabin quality, with chic materials and a busily well-organised dashboard layout.
For its size, four and a half metres long and two metres wide, the Cee’d has pretty reasonable interior space thanks to a longer-than-typical wheelbase, and doesn’t feel unduly squashed with a full load of passengers. There is enough elbow, knee and headroom all round for six-footer adults to travel comfortably over a distance. With three people in the back, though, the one who sits in the centre will find things a bit snug.

Boot space is about average in comparison with its peers. The Cee’d has a 380-litre boot, which matches the luggage space of the Volkswagen Golf and Seat Leon. Folding the rear seats stretches the carrying capacity to a generous, for its size, 1,318 litres. That’s larger than most of its closest rivals.

Road test: Kia Cee'd

The Cee’d performed well in Euro NCAP tests, and has a full five-star rating with an 89 per cent score for adult occupant protection and 88 per cent for child safety. With the recent extensive model update, it has been given additional safety kit, and can now be specified with traffic sign recognition to advise about the relevant speed limit, and blind spot warning to guard against straying into the path of an overtaking vehicle.

Road test: Kia Cee'd

Connectivity has been given priority in the new Cee’d, and versions with TomTom satnav and Kia’s new Connected services have traffic messaging, weather information and other features via a seven-inch touchscreen which is also linked to a colour reversing camera. The system usefully includes seven years of no-cost map updates. A perpendicular parking function has been added to the parallel parking assist system. Higher-spec models come with LED daytime running lights.


Road test: Kia Cee'd

The Cee’d has a big ace in its pack: the unusually long warranty that gives you cover for an extra four years and 40,000 more miles that the industry norm. Even so, it is hardly budget-cost, with a price range from £14,905 to £24,000. Prices have increased by £100 to £150 compared with the previous model. Most diesel models return over 70mpg on the combined cycle and insurance groupings are competitive.


The Cee’d has slick manners and a seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Price: £20,795
Performance: 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds
Economy: 72.4mpg combined
Insurance: Group 14
Tax: Band B (£0 first year)

Figures for the Kia Cee’d GT Line 1.6 CRDi 136 diesel manual