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Week at the wheel: Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.

Week at the wheel: Kia cee'd
Kia has the last laugh with its cee'd hatchback.

 



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| Week at the Wheel | Kia cee'd |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

As a family hatchback on a budget the Kia cee'd is mightily impressive, especially when you consider just how far this company has come in such a short time. With its seven-year warranty, value for money specification and easy going nature there's plenty to recommend it - but we'd have the punchier diesel option.

Key Facts

Model tested: Kia cee'd 2
Pricing: £17,195 (£17,640 as tested)
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Ford Focus, Hyundai i30, Renault Mégane
CO2 emissions: 124g/km
Combined economy: 52.3mpg
Top speed: 118mph
0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
Power: 135hp at 6,300rpm
Torque: 164Nm at 4,850rpm

Inside & Out: 4 4 4 4 4

When the first Kia cee'd arrived it paved the way for a new design direction for the Korean firm, and while this second generation car isn't as ground-breaking, it still catches the eye. The overall silhouette may be a little generic, but there's plenty of neat details like the LED lights, 'tiger' grille and a nose that seems to fall away in-line with the roof.

It's a different story with the interior, which represents yet another leap forward for Kia. Quality is the best we've seen from the firm, with solid switchgear and a neat driver-centric design for the dashboard. The only thing that lets down the otherwise wholly modern layout is the dash-top clock that looks more eighties hi-fi than 2012 family hatchback. Still, space isn't at a premium and the 380-litre boot is bigger than many rivals'.

Ride & Handling: 3 3 3 3 3

If you're buying a Kia cee'd for its handling prowess you'll likely be disappointed; it's all a little vague and middle-of-the-road with the Kia. Those chasing fun behind the wheel should look towards the Renault Mégane or Ford Focus for their superior feedback. That's not to say the cee'd is incompetent - anything but.

On the road it feels perfectly capable, with decent body control and suspension that on the whole soaks up the UK road system's imperfections - though there is the odd occasion that it feels a little firm underfoot. The cee'd even has a 'Flexsteer' system, allowing the driver to swap between Comfort, Normal and Sport steering modes; the level of assistance and weighting altered with each. It's best left in Normal though, as the other modes are either too light or too heavy.

Regardless of which you have selected, there's not a lot of feedback, which sums up this car's handling perfectly. Everything feels slightly disconnected, and you just have to trust that the mechanicals underneath you are doing what they should be at any point.

Engine & Transmission: 3 3 3 3 3

We were impressed with the 1.6-litre diesel engine when we first drove the car, but what about the 1.6-litre petrol unit? On paper it looks to perform well, with the benchmark 0-62mph sprint finished in less than ten seconds, its 135hp offering strong performance.

But in reality, its comparatively weak 164Nm torque figure soon makes itself known. This is especially apparent in the midrange, as that peak doesn't arrive until 4,850rpm - you really do have to work the 1.6-litre petrol engine hard to make any meaningful progress.

Do so and the noise levels rise, on what is an otherwise refined and relaxed engine - as does the fuel consumption. Certainly we can see why the £1,100 more 1.6-litre diesel impressed us. Still, relax and revel in the light controls and easy-going nature of the cee'd 1.6 GDi and it can make sense.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 5 5 5 5 5

This is the standout section for the Kia cee'd. Even if it were equipped with only the most basic of equipment it would score highly - mainly for its seven-year 100,000-mile warranty; one of the best available from any manufacturer. But in '2' specification the cee'd also comes very well equipped, with alloy wheels, stop-start, LED daytime running lights, a leather steering wheel, air conditioning, cruise control and parking sensors all fitted as standard.

Add to that a combined economy figure of 52.3mpg and low CO2 emissions of 124g/km and it's clear the cee'd is going to be cheap to run as well. The firm's reputation for reliability and quality is good enough that residuals look stronger than they ever have done as well.


Graeme Lambert - 21 Sep 2012









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2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 

2012 Kia cee'd. Image by Kia.
 






 

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