The new Kia Ceed does most things very competently but we’d recommend everyone to try the all-electric Kia e-Niro before buying a petrol or diesel Ceed.
Kia, along with Hyundai, has demonstrated remarkable progress over recent years, and the ‘all-new’ Ceed (no longer cee’d) is one of the brand’s latest offerings. Should it tempt you away from the more obvious choices in this class?
The exterior design of the Ceed is pleasant enough but still somewhat anonymous compared to, for example, the latest Ford Focus.
Along with all Kias that we’ve tested over recent years, the interior is a perfect demonstration of how to make all controls extremely user-friendly, with clear typefaces on large buttons.
Our test car had a 4-cylinder, 1.4-litre petrol engine with a 6-speed manual transmission.
No matter what experience of cars they may have, anyone from around the world should be able to get into the Ceed and find it easy to operate. This includes technology such as the satnav. It also offers lots of seat and steering wheel adjustability to allow a good driving position.
Once under way, there’s just about sufficient performance for most tasks, but if you’re in a hurry to overtake then you might need to be patient. There’s also some turbo lag, which can be evident in most gears. The gearbox, although generally smooth, can also be occasionally obstructive, especially when trying to rush changes.
There are also no drive modes – this isn’t really a problem, but a choice of drive modes seems to be sneaking into most cars these days.
Handling, ride and steering are all perfectly acceptable for this class, however if you are in a rush, then consider disengaging the traction control in order to maintain decent progress, otherwise the system can cut the power quite abruptly as soon as it senses wheelspin.
The Ceed is mostly fairly refined, but there can be quite a lot of road noise on motorways.
There’s a lane departure warning system, a feature that we don’t like in any car because we’re always awake when driving rather than asleep; thankfully you can switch it off.
One thing we do like is the ability to easily zoom in and out of the satnav to see the route – and the likely delays – ahead, which can be done by turning a dial below the touchscreen.
If you want to Bluetooth your phone to the car whilst en route you’ll find that you can’t do this, as the car has to be completely stationary.
The official combined fuel economy for the Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition is 48.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of 132 g/km. This is a result from the new, more realistic WLTP test, then this figure has been converted back to ‘NEDC equivalent’, so there’s more of a level playing field when comparing different cars. Hopefully that’s clear then…
In our real-world testing, we achieved 56mpg at 60mph and 65mpg at 50mph. Overall, after a week of mixed driving, we averaged 45.9mpg – which is very close to the official 48.7mpg combined figure.
The Ceed gave a projected driving range on a full tank of 405 miles.
The Kia Ceed 1.4 T-GDi First Edition costs £25,750. In total there are 11 Ceed variants, with three engines (1.0 and 1.4-litre petrols, and a 1.6-litre diesel), two transmissions (manual or DCT), and four trim lines, starting with ‘2’, then ‘Blue Edition’, ‘3’, and the top of the range First Edition as tested. All versions have Kia’s ‘Intelligent Stop and Go’ (ISG) stop-start system. All Kias also have a 7 year/100,000 mile warranty.
The Kia Ceed is a competent car all-round. It’s easy to live with, it doesn’t have any major faults, and it’s relatively affordable. It’s a 7/10 car. That could be the end of the matter, but there’s an elephant in the room. That elephant is the all-electric Kia e-Niro. While the Ceed does most things competently, the Kia e-Niro is quiet and refined, it has smooth, linear acceleration, no turbo lag, no clutch to operate or gears to change, and it offers more space than the Ceed. The running costs are likely to be around one-fifth of those of the Ceed, and of course the e-Niro has zero tailpipe emissions. And almost a 300 mile range. Overall, the electric e-Niro is just a nicer car to drive.
If you regularly cover high mileages, then purely because of the UK’s public charging infrastructure, which isn’t yet perfect, there might be an argument to go for something that isn’t electric. But a 1.4-litre petrol Ceed probably isn’t the ideal solution for high mileage drivers.
So the Ceed is a more complete all-round package than some rivals, but we just think that the all-electric e-Niro is probably a much better solution for many drivers.