New Kia Ceed first drive

The Ceed has over many years sown success for the Kia brand in Britain.

The new Ceed range launched at the end of 2021 is the third generation five-door hatchback to be built in Slovakia, the first was in 2007. As before it gives nothing away to rivals and beats most with its equipment, value and long warranty.

But that’s almost doing it an injustice because it actually drives extremely well too with front strut and rear multi-link suspension putting it in a sporting class while doubling as a load lugging family hold-all as well.

The Ceed is the third best seller in the Kia range and comes in a selection of seven versions based on two petrol and one hybrid diesel engines, three transmissions and several trim grades and is the latest line-up to roll out of the Slovakian factory.

We tested the best-selling entry-level Grade 2, GDi 1.0-litre triple-pot turbo direct injection petrol engine with its standard 6-speed manual gearbox but you can order a more powerful petrol or hybrid diesel in the hatchback style. There is also a Sports Wagon estate design available.

Kia engineers have very carefully developed the little engine to make it smooth and responsive as well as economical with modest emissions at the tailpipe and it comes with an automatic stop/ start function to stretch the miles per gallon.

It all worked very well on test and although we tried our best we could not manage to get it above 50mpg, but were extremely close to doing so.

Having a smooth easy changing six-speed gearbox with really well chosen ratios and visible reminders to change up is key to the Ceed’s economy. We found it was possibly too long-legged for our hilly test route and needed frequent down-changes to pull along and maintain progress, but it was utterly composed on two 50-mile motorway runs.

No one pretends the Ceed 1.0 GDi is a performance family car but its handling is surprisingly good and suggests it could easily take a lot more power while providing a very comfortable ride.

Those in front will find good seat adjustment and legroom but it’s less roomy for three in the back although all passengers found the seats comfortable. Oddments room throughout was good even if the compartments were not huge, while the boot space was adequate but not generous unless the seats were folded, and it was easy to load and exit.

For the driver, everything came to hand and foot as it should and everything was logically laid out on the wheelspokes, low down on the fascia or more prominently on the central console to control heating and ventilation.

The markings on the lights and wash/wipers stalks were hidden from view however. The central 8-inch display for infotainment was very clear and well marked as were the driver’s speedometer and tachometer instruments with supporting dials for fuel and engine temperature.

We liked the big front and rear windows, deep side windows and the wash/wipe but thought the intelligent headlights were slow responding and not particularly bright or wide unless you were on main beam, when it was much better.

There are a host of driving aids to elevate safety and integrate with a user’s smartphone but no standard fit navigation is provided for the Grade 2 level.

Noise levels were surprisingly low for such a small engine when it was pushed hard through the gears and it really was very composed at the legal limit on motorways. Wind and other mechanical noises were modest and it was only the occasional suspension bump-thump which could be heard.

It might be a fairly ordinary family car on paper, but its refinement put it above many competitors and it would embarrass larger challengers costing significantly more money, particularly when you consider its very good seven years warranty.


Kia Ceed 1.0T-GDi manual 5-door hatchback

Price:  £20,355

Mechanical: 118bhp 3-cyl, 999cc turbo-petrol, 6-speed manual

Max Speed: 118 mph

0-62mph: 11. 2sec

Combined MPG: 49.9 on test

Insurance Group: Eight

CO2 emissions: 119g/km

Tax ratings:  BiK 30%, VED First Year £180 then Standard rate of £155

Warranty: 7-years/ 100,000 miles

Size: L4.31m, W2.06m, H1.45m

Boot space: 395 – 1291 litres

Kerb weight: 1338 kg

For: Smooth powertrain, economical, very comfortable with supporting seats, very low noise level, excellent controls and instruments, long warranty

Against: Limited rear legroom and average boot capacity, modest power output, narrow dipped beams. Robin Roberts Miles Better News Agency

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