Forecast to be a jewel in Kia’s European sales crown, the third-generation Kia Ceed has a lot resting on its more sculpted shoulders reports Richard Gooding
Since the first generation Cee’d debuted in 2006, over 1.3 million examples of Kia’s C-segment hatchback have been built. A hugely significant car for the South Korean brand, the new third generation Ceed (no apostrophe this time) will play an even greater part in Kia’s European plans. Fittingly, the car has been developed in Frankfurt, and is made at the company’s factory in Žilina, Slovakia. Key rivals include the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and the Volkswagen Golf.
How does it drive?
The third-generation Ceed combines a mature style with flashes of boldness and Kia’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille and more linear styling lends its new C-segment hatchback a premium look. Continued inside, an interior inspired by the Stinger sports saloon is logical and attractive, the high quality materials pleasing to look at and touch.
Based on Kia’s new ‘K2’ platform, the latest Ceed is 20mm wider and 23mm lower than the outgoing model. More efficiently packaged than before, there’s more room inside and a 395-litre boot with the seats up. The all-new Ceed has been tested exhaustively in Europe, but more importantly, on UK roads, too.
Kia’s new hatchback feels engaging to drive, with decent steering feedback and grip. There’s sharp turn-in, too, and body roll is well-contained. The ride is firm but comfortable, while strong refinement is another weapon in the all-new Ceed’s arsenal. With 206lb ft (280Nm) of torque, the 114bhp 1.6-litre CRDi engine is punchy in the mid-ranges, too, while the six-speed manual gearbox shifts nicely.
How economical is it?
Kia quotes an official WLTP combined cycle economy figure of 74.3mpg for the Ceed 1.6 CRDi and over 507 miles we achieved an impressive ‘real-world’ average of 60.8mpg. Kia’s ‘Intelligent Stop and Go’ (ISG) stop-start system reduces fuel consumption and emissions when stationary, and the ‘Smartstream’ ‘U3’ 1.6 CRDi engine employs Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology.
An ‘Eco’ pack also includes an active air flap which opens and closes depending on engine cooling requirements, enhancing aerodynamic efficiency and an underbody cover and lower suspension aid air flow beneath the car. The Ceed will also be available with Kia’s 48V mild-hybrid powertrain technology to reduce emissions still further and hybrid and plug-in models are also under consideration.
What does it cost?
The Ceed 2 1.6 CRDi ISG costs £19,545. Equipment includes cruise control, front fog lamps, projection headlights, a reversing camera, and a seven-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system.
The Ceed 3 starts at £20,705, adding auto wipers, dual-zone air conditioning, and a forward collision avoidance system. The Blue Edition costs from £21,095 and features rear parking sensors and satellite navigation. GT-Line begins at £21,535 and adds the option of a 134bhp version of the 1.6 CRDi engine (with higher 114g/km emissions), while the petrol-only GT and First Edition are priced from £25,535 and £25,750 respectively. The GT-Line S tops range at £27,185.
How much does it cost to tax?
With CO2 emissions of 99g/km, the Ceed 2 1.6 CRDi ISG costs £145 in Vehicle Excise Duty in its first year of ownership, attracting a rate of £140 thereafter.
Why does my fleet need one?
Kia’s third best-selling model in the UK, the Ceed accounts for 10 per cent of the company’s sales. An essential part of the Kia Motors UK fleet portfolio, there’s no denying the new car’s importance. A very impressive car, Kia’s marketing tagline is ‘The Power To Surprise’ and the new Ceed genuinely does. In lower-powered diesel form, there are sub-100g/km emissions (with lower CO2 models promised), while the new Ceed’s premium feel and extensive kit list should also pique fleet managers’ interest.