Kia has revealed a raft of upgrades to the Cee’d hatchback, Pro Cee’d coupe and Cee’d Sportwagon. These enhancements give the Korean contender an even better footing from which to unseat the unassailable Ford Focus.
Two big additions to the Kia’s arsenal come in the form of a new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an in-house designed seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. Read on to discover if this new tech is enough to give the Cee’d the family hatchback crown.
On the road
One of the Ford’s unique selling points is its exquisite driving experience and, while pretty good in its own right, the Cee’d can’t quite match the Focus’ range of on-road talents. Nevertheless, it’s a relaxing car to drive that’s easy to spend a lot of time in.
Kia has worked to improve both the steering feel and comfort levels for the latest Cee’d and big gains have certainly been made. Minor adjustments to the steering that were needed in the old Cee’d are banished from the new car making motorway journeys less tiring on your arms. Big bumps like potholes and speed humps are absorbed competently but rough road surfaces can send some vibrations through the seat.
Both five-door Cee’d and three-door Pro Cee’d suffer from small rear windows making seeing out the back trickier than a Volkswagen Golf. Equally, the raked windscreen seems to start a long way ahead of the driver meaning looking round tight junctions isn’t as easy as some rivals. You can specify your Cee’d in ‘3’ trim which adds a reversing camera among other gadgets so we’d definitely recommend this option.
In the cabin
Inside, the Kia feels very high quality. Soft-touch plastics cover most of the dashboard and the dials are easy to read. The dash’s design is neater than the Ford Focus’, which is festooned with too many buttons, but it’s still not quite as clear and cohesive as that used on the VW Golf.
Taller drivers might wish the Cee’d hatchback’s driver’s seat went a little lower – the sportier Pro Cee’d has a lower seat height making you feel like you’re sat ‘in’ the car rather than ‘on’ it. If you plan on regularly taking rear seat passengers, we’d avoid the Pro Cee’d – it has just enough room for passengers for short journeys but the high window line, tight leg and elbow room mean you wouldn’t want to be stuck back there for too long.
Better than the Focus?
It’ll be a tough call if you’re deciding between the Cee’d and rivals such as the Focus and the Golf. The Ford may handle a little better and the Golf might be slightly comfier but the Kia is so close in both respects that it forms a nice middle-ground between the two. The Kia’s cabin and petrol engine put it ahead of the Focus so it might be the right choice for a buyer who rates refinement higher than entertainment.
Of course, if you’re looking for your family car to also be entertaining to throw down a twisty back road, there are few finer choices than the Ford Focus. It has a feeling of lightness and agility the Kia would struggle to match and that makes it the better choice for more enthusiastic drivers.
The range goes on sale 1 October and costs from £14,905 rising to £23,605 for the 201hp Cee’d GT.