The Ceed has sown success for Kia in Britain.
Launched at the end of 2021, this third generation five-door hatchback to be built in Slovakia gives nothing away to rivals and beats most with its equipment and value.
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 which doubles as a load lugging family hold all as well.
The third best seller in the Kia range comes in a selection of seven versions based on two petrol and one hybrid diesel, three transmissions and trim grades and is the latest to roll out of the Slovakian factory since 2007.
We tested the best-selling entry-level Grade 2 1.0 litre triple-pot engine with standard 6sp manual gearbox but you can order a more powerful petrol or hybrid diesel in the hatchback style. There is also a Sports Wagon design.
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 managed 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 it’s handling is surprisingly good and suggests it could easily take a lot more power while providing a very comfortable ride.
Those infront have good seat adjustment and legroom but it’s slightly shorter for three in the back, although all found the seats comfortable. Oddments room throughout was good even if the compartments were not huge, while the bootspace 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 navigation built in at Grade 2.
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
- Price: £20,355
- Mechanical: 118bhp 3-cyl 999cc turbo-petrol, 6sp manual
- Max Speed: 118 mph
- 0-62mph: 11. 2sec
- Combined MPG: 49.9
- Insurance Group: Eight
- C02 emissions: 119g/km
- Bik rating: 30%, £180FY, £155SR
- Warranty: 7yrs/ 100,000 miles
- Size: L4.31m, W2.06m, H1.45m
- Bootspace: 395 – 1291 litres
- Kerbweight: 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.