Home / Auto / Kia Ceed 2018 review – Better to drive, better to look at and better equipped

Kia Ceed 2018 review – Better to drive, better to look at and better equipped


Kia Ceed 2018 review

Kia Ceed 2018 review (Image: KIA)

Perfectly positioned in the popular mid-sized family hatchback market, the Ceed has been on sale since 2006, with this forthcoming version being its third generation model.

Some 1.3 million sales on, the Ceed has underpinned the Korean firm’s fortunes, being one of the brand’s best-selling models in Europe alongside the Sportage crossover and Picanto supermini.

Crucially, this is a Kia that is not only designed and developed in Europe but also engineered and built here too – facts not lost on customers, according to Kia.

And while some other large car companies push towards world cars, whether or not they suit certain local tastes, Kia is doing the exact opposite and enjoying substantial success with a car developed just for Europe.

Will this latest Ceed continue that success? It certainly looks the part, that’s for sure.

It’s a clean shape that might be viewed as conservative from some angles but wears the handsome Kia front grille and headlights with LEDs and the neat rear end reminiscent of the BMW 1-Series.

Wider and lower than its predecessor it will come in three different bodystyles, starting with a traditional five-door hatchback and SW estate, then a stylish Shooting Brake load-lugger early next year.

Rather mouth-wateringly there will also be a more driver-focused GT hot hatch version at the same time. For now, though, there’s the choice of two turbo-petrols and two turbo-diesels.

The former pair are a 120bhp 1.0-litre or a 140bhp 1.4-litre which is expected to be the best seller, with a 0 to 60mph time of 8.9 seconds and 130mph top speed.

Its two diesel models are both 1.6s, with 115bhp or 136bhp, the less-powerful model covering the 0 to 60mph sprint in 10.9 seconds on to a 119mph top speed and returning a 74.3mpg average fuel economy, with 99g/km emissions.

As well as that hot hatch GT model powered by a 1.6-litre turbo engine there will also be a mild hybrid (unusually linked to a turbo-diesel engine) joining the range in 2019. Surprisingly a fully-electric model isn’t planned.

Also surprising is just how good this new Ceed is on the road. In truth there was nothing wrong with the old car but it was hardly the last word in driving dynamics.

Since the arrival of the Stinger, however, Kia has said it wants to produce more enjoyable cars to drive and it has listened to the critics during the development of this one.

Kia Ceed 2018 review

Kia Ceed 2018 review (Image: KIA)

The result is new suspension and steering, engineers testing it on British roads and even new Michelin tyres as standard.

All of those changes are easy to spot, with a much more refined feel on the road, good sound-proofing and crucially noticeably better handling as well.

The Ceed might not quite be on a par with the likes of the Focus or VW Golf but is still an impressive package when you start to press on. The steering could do with a little more feel about what the car is doing beneath you but it’s direct and turns into corners well.

Its suspension keeps the car composed at all times over the roughest of roads, even on those mid-corner bumps which can throw less-well-sorted cars off line.

Better yet, that good level of information being fed back is such that you can have real fun with the car, building driver confidence.

The 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine in particular is an absolute peach. Not that the rest are perfect mind you.

The 1.6-litre turbo-diesel engine has plenty of grunt but can be a little noisy at higher revs, while the lesser 1.0-litre petrol feels a little asthmatic at times and needs the driver to be attentive with gear changes.

There are no steering wheel paddles to change gear on the seven-speed twinclutch semi-automatic, while the gear change on the manual can be a little notchy if rushed.

Kia Ceed 2018 review

Kia Ceed 2018 review (Image: KIA)

The interior is well made and laid-out but the quality of some of the plastics could be better.

We’re not big fans of the cabin’s gloss black trim, as it shows up marks easily, but there is an alternative brushed-chrome finish.

That said, it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position with a height and reach adjustable steering wheel and height adjustment for the driver’s seat.

There’s a good level of equipment, with a heated windscreen, heated and cooled seats, electric tailgate on the SW estate and wireless charging for your mobile phone all available.

Space-wise there’s good head and legroom in both the front and rear seats, with enough space for one six-foot tall adult to sit behind another comfortably (not something you could say of every car in this class). The SW also boasts an impressive 625-litre boot with the rear seats still up.

Overall, two things really strike you about this new Ceed and its forebears. For all there has previously been to recommend the car, such as Kia’s seven-year warranty (first introduced on this model in 2007), two historic reasons for purchasing it are the ones that really stand out.

Firstly, more than 40 per cent of past buyers stated its sleek design was a primary reason to buy the Ceed and there’s no doubt that will be the case here too.

And crucially historically the car has enjoyed the biggest conquest sales rate of any other family hatchback in this class. That means owners have actively ditched a rival manufacturer to buy the Ceed instead.

The Ceed has always sold well, underpinning Kia’s European success and eight years of consecutive record sales.

Better to drive, better to look at and better equipped, this latest third-generation model is only likely to continue that.

Kia Ceed 2018 review

Kia Ceed 2018 review (Image: KIA)

LOGBOOK LOWDOWN

Model: Kia Ceed

Prices: from £18,295

Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 1.0, 1.4-litre; Turbo-diesel – 1.6, 1.6-litre 136bhp

Power: 0 to 60mph in 8.9 seconds, 130mph top speed (1.4T)

Average fuel economy: 74.3mpg (1.6TD)

CO2 emissions range: 99-142g/km

Rivals: Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra

Rating: 9/10



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