The days of buying a Kia and being laughed at by other motorists are long gone. These days Kia is an extremely well-respected brand and the Ceed has long been one of the best cars to come from South Korea. Itís so good that itís actually managed to convince Europeans out of their Fords, Vauxhalls and Volkswagens. After years of almost being as good as the competition can this car finally be considered best of the breed?
The new Ceed is wider, longer, more spacious and also lower to the ground than the old car. Itís simply an all-round better made car. Better still, Kia have decided to ditch the rather silly apostrophe in its name. When you take a look around the Ceed you canít but help notice the new styling. Itís actually a pretty good looking car. It looks particularly good from the front end and can look a touch aggressive too depending on what trim level you opt for. However, as you move down the side things tone down to the point of being a little bit dull especially by the time you get to the rear end. It just hasnít got the crisp lines of the SEAT Leon but although it does look a lot less busy than the Ford Focus. In many way this car reminds us of a VW Golf in that it looks both restrained and refined at the same time.
When you step inside the Ceed it continues to remind us of the VW Golf and for two very good reasons. Firstly, the design is all very straight forward and logically laid out. You get your touchscreen where youíd expect it in nice easy reach but thereís also a row of physical controls. It really does put the Honda Civic and Renault Megane to shame. The other reason why the inside of this car reminds us of a Golf is simply down to the build quality. Apart for the rather awful fake stitched soft touch plastic sitting across the dash everything else has a really nice feel to it. Thereís an abundance of nice quality plastics and leather in here and the knobs and buttons have all got a tight quality to them. Everything in here just feels well put together and gives you that feeling that it will all last. Thereís no doubt that the South Koreans have been taking a close look at the Germans as the whole things just looks, feels and works really nicely. Visibility out of the front is pretty good but not quite as good out of the back thanks to the slitty rear window. However, higher up the model range you go you do get parking cameras and all sorts of park assist systems which should all help to alleviate this problem.
Itís not just upfront that impresses, itís also gives a decent impression in the rear too. The great build quality is extended right through to the back which doesnít always happen in these types of cars. Thereís also quite a lot of space back here and youíll find plenty of knee room while the head room is not too bad either. You can fit three people along the back seats helped in part to the almost flat floor. One thing we really like that will impress family buyers is that thereís adequate IsoFix points and itís all just really well thought out. Although you do get plenty of space at the back if youíre looking for even more space then youíre probably going to have to take a look at the Skoda Octavia or a Honda Civic. Out of its nearest rivals, so weíre talking about the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Vauxhall Astra, the Ceed is probably the best for overall rear seat space.
Itís good news around at the boot too because the Ceed has a larger boot than the Ford Focus or VW Golf. If you lift up the boot floor thereís a space saver spare wheel which is very good. However, youíll noticed that there is quite a drop down into the boot floor. This can be remedied as the boot floor is a moveable one so you can slot it into its higher position. Once youíve done that then itís much easier to load your items. It also means that when you fold down the rear seats it makes it easier to slide your suitcases far forward. If you require more boot space then something like a Skoda Octavia or Honda Civic may be better for you.
As time of typing the Ceed range kicks off with the 2 model. A cheaper 1 model is expected and goes up through the Blue Edition, the 3, various GT Line models, a lukewarm GT and finally the flagship First edition. The First Edition, which is the car weíre reviewing for this article, has electric leather seats, heated rear seats and a sunroof which you could argue are a little unnecessary. Therefore, weíd recommend the 3 model as you get a wider engine range, 17-inch alloys and LED headlights. If you canít afford the 3 then the 2 model is well equipped too with a whole range of safety kit that some other car manufacturers charge you for. For example, you get lane keep assist, autonomous city braking, cruise control and high-beam assist.
If you donít want diesel power then there are a few other alternatives. Thereís a 1.0 litre turbo petrol engine, a 1.4 turbo petrol engine and finally a 1.6 litre turbo petrol. The 1.0 litre 3-cylnder engine is pretty urgent. However, it hasnít got the best performance out of the line-up. If youíre looking for a bit more zing then youíre going to have to opt for the 1.4 litre engine. Weíre certainly not talking about sparkling performance here but itís pretty decent. You can be going along at 50 miles per hour (mph) stamp on the throttle and youíll find yourself getting to 60 mph in good enough time. Itís also a quite quiet and refine engine too. With the 1.4 engine you can opt for a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. The car weíre testing has the 7-speed dual-clutch and we have to say that itís not all that crisp and the changes arenít as fast as you get with VW DSG. However, at low speeds the Ceedís gearbox feels a little bit less hesitant than it does in the VW. One thing that we did find a little bit odd is that there are no paddles behind the steering wheel so you canít take manual control from the steering wheel. The 6-speed manual is quite a good gearbox and thereís a nice change action to it. In fact itís so good that we would suggest the manual over the automatic.
Handling-wise, we have to say that the Kia Ceed is pretty darn good. Ok, itís not as sharp or as crisp as a Ford Focus or a SEAT Leon and itís not quite as good as a VW Golf either. However, weíd say the Ceed is a lot better than the Vauxhall Astra and Hyundai i30. You get a really good driving position in the Ceed as you feel nice and low. Due to the fact thereís plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel it means that this is a very comfortable car to drive. The steering is accurate enough and although it doesnít give you the last word in driver involvement itís to be expected in this day of power assisted steering. The Ford Focus has a slightly crisper feeling whereas the Ceed gives you a slight rubberyness to the way the car turns at low speeds. Saying this, once you are up to higher speeds then you get a nice weighting to it and genuinely feels absolutely fine. With regards to the ride youíre really going to have to opt for the 2 model if you want a really nice, comfortable and quiet drive. This is because the First Edition model and with the 3 you get larger 17-inch wheels. Ok, the wheels donít thump into potholes but you can really feel the difference in size and the larger alloys also kick up more road noise.
Overall, the Kia Ceed is pretty impressive. Itís both well-built and spacious and quietly gets on with the job you needs it to. Ok, a few rival cars are a bit better to drive but thereís no doubting that this Kia is great value for money. Factor in the 7-year warranty and this car really is a class act. If this is a car that might suit your needs then head on down to the DesperateSeller.co.uk website where we have plenty of used Kia Ceed cars for sale at your fingertips!