Out on the road, the Kia Ceed is secure and easy to drive but if you’re a keen driver there are a few other options that are better such as the Vauxhall Astra
The new 1.0-litre petrol is definitely the highlight of the range and an engine that was needed for the Ceed to compete on a level playing field with its rivals from Volkswagen and Ford. You get two versions to choose from with either 98 or 118hp. Both return fuel economy of 57.6mpg – making them cheaper to run than the larger, but more basic, 1.4-litre petrol. The addition of a turbocharger means they also feel quicker in everyday driving, but neither is what you would call fast and the more-powerful model takes 11.1 seconds to get from 0-62mph.
More power if you want it comes by upgrading to one of the two 1.6-litre petrols. The basic model produces 133hp, gets from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and can return fuel economy of 52.3mpg.
By far the most powerful engine in the range is the 201hp 1.6-litre turbo fitted to the GT model. The GT gets from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and has a top speed of 143mph, but drive at a more relaxed pace and fuel economy of 38.2mpg should be achievable. Impressive enough, but a Golf GTI is both quicker and cheaper to run. It also comes with big 18-inch alloy wheels and lowered suspension for extra cornering grip and less body roll.
The Ceed drives pretty well but there isn't anything in the driving experience that would make you chose it over an alternative
For the cheapest running costs the diesel are a sure bet. The basic 89hp 1.4-litre model can return 68.9mpg. With 177Ib ft of torque, you can expect it to cope well when the car is fully loaded.
The 1.6-litre diesel packs 134hp, which is enough to get the car from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds and torque of 221Ib ft means it will be an even quicker overtaker than the basic diesel. Fuel economy for it sits at 67.3mpg. It is the only model that can be equipped with Kia’s new dual clutch, seven-speed automatic gearbox. It’s very smooth and shifts intelligently, but its slower changes mean using the manual paddles isn’t as rewarding as in a DSG Volkswagen.
For the facelift model, Kia has adjusted the suspension and as a result, the car is more comfortable at a cruise and better equipped for dealing with poor road surfaces. That’s not the case if you go for sporty GT Line trim, which comes with stiffer suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels that combine to make the car bouncier over bumps.
Tweaked steering and a new torque-vectoring system sadly don’t catapult the Ceed to the top of the class for driving thrills. The car still suffers from too much body roll in corners and that, although there’s plenty of grip, the steering’s too vague to give you a decent idea how much the front wheels have at any one time. That problem remains no matter which of the three (Normal, Comfort or Sport) settings you choose.
The three-cylinder engine also brings improvements in comfort. It is one of the most refined out there – quiet at a cruise and free from the vibrations that normally afflict engines of this type.