KIa GAVE the cee’d, its rival to the Ford Focus, a facelift last year, improving its appearance, ironing out the ride quality and making the cabin look better.
The South Korean company has poached Audi TT designer Peter Schreyer and he’s given the cee’d a new “tiger nose” front which gives it a much sharper road presence.
The cee’d is available with 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines, and two diesel engines with the same displacement.
I spent a week with the more powerful of the petrols.
The 1.6 litre unit isn’t as good as the excellent diesel engines in the range, but it pulls well enough 60mph comes up in under 10 seconds. Although it sounds ugly when strained, it stays quiet if you don’t push it hard.
I drove my cee’d from Dundee to Manchester during the most appallingly wet weather and it proved an impressive cruiser. Wind, road and engine noise are all at admirably low levels and only a slightly stiff back after five hours in the driver’s seat marred an otherwise fine journey.
The trip computer registered around 45mpg on the journey not far off the 52.3mpg official figure, and very decent considering the atrocious weather. Around town, economy is boosted by a stop/start system.
Although my car came in second-from-bottom ‘2’ spec costing £17,195 the standard equipment list was still thorough.
Highlights include 16” alloy wheels, daytime running LEDs, tinted glass, air con, cruise control, two 12V power sockets, USB port, reversing sensors, cooling glovebox and hill-start system.
The cee’d 3 and cee’d 4 models have a colour reversing camera. Top spec cee’d 4 Tech versions add parallel park assist system which automatically steers the car into kerbside spaces.
The cabin is as upmarket as anything this side of a Golf when it comes to quality, Kia have come an awful long way in the last few years. A particularly useful standard feature is the Flex Steer system, which lets you choose three different steering settings.
You can make the steering feather light for parking, leave it in normal for cruising, or put it in Sport mode if you’re pressing on a little.
It’s not as engaging a driver’s car as the agile Ford Fiesta. There’s plenty of grip and body roll isn’t a problem, but it’s not a dynamic car.
Inside, the cee’d is one of the roomiest cars in its class. There’s plenty of space for four fully grown adults to travel in comfort, and even five people is only a little bit of a pinch.
The 380 litre boot trumps that of rivals including the Golf and Focus and its low sill makes loading easy.
Its seven year/100,000-mile warranty remains by far the market leader and gives unparalled peace of mind.
Good looking, refined, high quality and value for money, the cee’d is probably the best car Kia make.
It has a rightful place alongside the Golf, Focus and Hyundai i30 at the top table of family hatchbacks.